Thursday, March 15, 2007

Glycemic Index Food

Glycemic Index of food is one of its most important traits.

*** What is Glycemic Index
The glycemic index is a conventional measure of how quick a food can raise our blood sugar. Foods are given a rating from 0 to 100 on the glycemic index with glucose in the highest position.
The more the simple sugar - such as glucose, sucrose or starch - a food contains, the higher is its glycemic index rating, and vice verse, where food containing complex carbohydrate increases blood sugar slowly, and thus it has a low glycemic index rating.
If we are to assist weight loss or control diabetes we should be concerned about glycemic index of food we eat.

*** How does our bodies respond to different Glycemic Index ratings :
There are individual variations in response to different types of food with different glycemic index ratings. Factors controlling the body response to glycemic index may be divided into two sets:
* Factors related to the body includes:1- Age 2- Activity level 3-Time of the day when eating 4-Insulin activity 5- Body metabolism

* Factors related to food include :
1- Amount of fibers, fats and proteins in a food.
2- Ratio of carbohydrates to fats and proteins in a food.
3- How refined is a food,i.e. a food contains less fibers.
4- How processed is a food (are fats leaked out or added to a food, since fats slow down gastric motility).

The response of the body to glycemic index is determined by the carbohydrate form and content in a food on the one hand, and how quickly the intestines deliver glucose to the blood on the other hand.The intestines are the fixed element for 1 person and the changeable one is the food entering it.

The food either contains simple or complex carbohydrates. By simple we mean that carbohydrates are simply digested, and complex carbohydrates are indigestible.
If we look at the chemical structure of both starch (simple) and cellulose (complex), we find that the building unit is one and the same molecule (glucose), yet the way these building units are linked to each other determines its stereo shape, and consequently their reaction to enzymes. Animals including humans can only digest simple carbohydrates (starch), while complex carbohydrates (cellulose) can only be digested by bacteria, which digests cellulose for the ruminant animals, and then the animal digests bacteria.

Besides the low content of the complex, they have another property that affects glycemic index of a food, that is their ability to absorb a good deal of water which makes them move in an apathetic lagging pattern, and this in turn makes them:
1- Deliver their trapped digestible content slowly.
2- Consume calories along their way inside the digestive canal (that is what happens with negative calorie foods)

Food that contains starch, like pasta , white bread, and Potatoes will rate high on the glycemic index. More ratings for foods that contain simpler sugars such as soft drinks, sweets, candies,chocolate bars..etc
Foods that contain complex carbohydrates like whole grains, Rye bread, breakfast cereals (which are based on wheat bran, barley, and Oats),fruits, Lentils, Soybeans, baked beans...etc. have low glycemic index ratings.

The complex carbohydrates with low glycemic index may not necessarily be present in food as is in nature, rather it can be admixed with other types of food as made by some food manufacturers, and this incurs a new property to the food known as glycemic load , yet this is another story.

How to utilize Glycemic index :
1- If you appreciate what is in this article (hopefully you dig it), then you will find that glycemic index may be a helpful planning tool, specially when you watch your body response to types of food with different glycemic index ratings.
2- Low glycemic index food will release glucose over a longer period of time, and you will feel less inclined to eat, because energy is slowly released into the blood stream, a good tool for those planning to lose weight.
3- High glycemic index food is good for raising low blood sugar after intense exercising, whereas low glycemic food is good for maintaining blood sugar levels for longer periods of exercise.
4- A diabetic person can use glycemic index in conjunction with other meal programs to assist in managing diabetes.


Stop cravings with GI Diet at

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