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Food Trends: The Glycemic Index

Glycemic Index (GI) measures how much a fifty gram portion of carbohydrate raises a person’s blood sugar level compared to a control. In 1981 it was originally developed as a tool to help Diabetics help manage blood sugar control.  Now more people are familiar with the GI as it is cited in popular ‘fad’ diets such as the South Beach Diet. 

The GI ranges from 0-100.  An index less than 55 symbolizes a low GI food, 56-69 is a moderate GI food and any food that has a GI score greater than 70 is considered a high GI food.  The lower the GI the better as it is suggested that the rate of absorption and digestion is slower, therefore allowing an individual to feel fuller longer.  Higher GI foods tend to rapidly release into the bloodstream and are broken down quickly, leaving one feeling hungry shortly after consumption.

It is thought that low GI foods can control appetite and weight and also be useful for Pre-Diabetes and Diabetes.  Research is being conducted as we speak on whether the glycemic index is a more appropriate technique than carbohydrate counting for Pre Diabetes and Diabetes.

As a reference, low GI foods tend to be foods that are higher in fiber and nutrient dense such as your raw fruits and vegetables and whole wheat products.  Take a look at the table below to distinguish your high verse low GI foods.

Low GI Foods
High GI Foods
Lentils
Soybeans
Spaghetti
Baked beans
All Bran
Apple
Orange
Peach
Milk
Yogurt
Pumpernickel bread
Sweet Potato
Peanuts
Cornflakes
Cheerios
Watermelon
Gatorade
White Bread
White Rice
Jasmine Rice
Popcorn
Baked Potato
Ice Cream


To find out the glycemic index of foods you routinely consume utilize the GI Database at http://www.glycemicindex.com/.  You can also go to www.glycemicgourmet.com for low GI recipes.  Are you someone who eats higher GI foods?  Try to substitute with low GI foods and let me know if you feel a difference.  Good luck and be well!

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