Jorgen's Lifes Lessons

Glycemic Index Important?
March 18, 2010, 3:00 pm
Filed under: Food/Diet, Healthy Living | Tags: ,

Why is the Glycemic Index Important?

Your body performs best when your blood sugar is kept relatively constant. If your blood sugar drops too low, you become lethargic and/or experience increased hunger. And if it goes too high, your brain signals your pancreas to secrete more insulin. Insulin brings your blood sugar back down, but primarily by converting the excess sugar to stored fat. Also, the greater the rate of increase in your blood sugar, the more chance that your body will release an excess amount of insulin, and drive your blood sugar back down too low. Drinking water by the way is also a very important part of this process.

Therefore, when you eat foods that cause a large and rapid glycemic response, you may feel an initial elevation in energy and mood as your blood sugar rises, but this is followed by a cycle of increased fat storage, lethargy, and more hunger! See also first picture for a more visual explanation.

Although increased fat storage may sound bad enough, individuals with diabetes (diabetes mellitus, types 1 and 2) have an even worse problem. Their bodies inability to secrete or process insulin causes their blood sugar to rise too high, leading to a host of additional medical problems.

The theory behind the Glycemic Index is simply to minimize insulin-related problems by identifying and avoiding foods that have the greatest effect on your blood sugar.

Should All High-GI Foods be Avoided?
For non-diabetics, there are times when a rapid increase in blood sugar (and the corresponding increase in insulin) may be desirable. For example, after strenuous physical activity, insulin also helps move glucose into muscle cells, where it aids tissue repair. Because of this, some coaches and physical trainers recommend high-GI foods (such as sports drinks) immediately after exercise to speed recovery. I am personally not one of these coaches. To my opinion it is more important to make sure you eat enough Low GI food before you go for a workout. Sport drinks are a zipp of sugar and fructose and are one of the reason there are more and more diabetes patients in the world. So be carefull with these. Rather have an apple or take a banana about 1 hour before workout. You will burn it during your workout!

Also, it’s not Glycemic Index alone that leads to the increase in blood sugar. Equally important is the amount of the food that you consume. The concept of Glycemic Index combined with total intake is referred to as “Glycemic Load”, and is addressed in the next article (tomorrow).

To make it a bit more clear which products have a high, low or medium index, I will provide you with some examples.

Have an OUTSTANDING and Healthy day.


PS If people are intrested in getting some advice about loosing weight by eating the right foods sent me a mail