Glycemic Index: Is it a Myth?

Everyone seems to be looking for that burst of energy that lasts all day long. We get tired of suffering from chronic fatigue.

Today’s modern medical pastors preach that carbohydrates in most forms are bad due to its glycemic influence in our blood stream though not all carbohydrate foods are created equal, in fact they behave quite differently in our bodies.

Everybody has an opinion on the Glycemic Index as a method for glycemic control—it’s either the greatest thing discovered since the wheel or a trivial addition to carb counting.

What is being Practiced and Preached:

Carbohydrates have a glycemic value a.k.a The Glycemic Index (GI) ; this value determines how quickly the sugar in the carbohydrate is released into your blood stream, giving you a quick rush of energy, excess sugar that isn’t used gets converted into fat and stored in your fat cells.

Carbohydrates that breakdown quickly and are readily absorbed into the blood stream causing a rise in insulin have a higher GI rating. Likewise, carbohydrates that breakdown slowly into the blood stream have a lower GI and cause a slow release of insulin. Foods that have a high glucose level and rapid digested starches have a high GI value, such as, white bread and rice cakes. Foods that have a low glucose level and have slowly digested starch have a low GI value, such as, pulses and beans. Carbohydrates that are also high in fat and protein have a low GI because stomach emptying slows down the release.

Lets figure why much of the GI  indexing doesn’t help !!!

Over the years its found that just using GI as an indicator didn’t take into account the amount of carbohydrate in the food. What should have mattered is the GL(the glycemic load).The GL is the amount of available carbohydrate in a food multiplied by the GI of the food/100.

GL = GI/100 x Net Carbs
(Net Carbs are equal to the Total Carbohydrates minus Dietary Fiber)

So a food that has a high GI but has low amount of sugar ends up having a low GL and therefore is a food you can trust. For example watermelon has a high GI but a low amount of carbohydrate therefore what was once a food that wasn’t ok to eat now is.  There are other factors that influence the release of sugar from food:

•The nature of the monosaccharide (sugar) components
•The nature of the starch
•The cooking and food preparation
•The amount of fat and protein with it

The nature of the starch affects the GI as fiber forms gelatinous gels and delays stomach emptying, lowering the GI. Therefore the more fiber the lower the GI, juicing an apple as compared to a whole apple, the whole apple has more fiber. The more you cook a grain the more the cell wall breaks down and improves the speed of digestion, leaving a rapid release of sugar, where as grains that aren’t cooked and the cell wall is intact have a low GI. If the food is cooled starches are formed and lowers the GI. When eaten with protein and fats it affects the rate of gastric (stomach) emptying therefore lowering the GI.

Although its frequent appearance in newspapers and magazines means that the glycemic index (along with companion tools such as the insulin index) will remain popular, I feel it also adds a layer of complication to something that is relatively simple ;

My advice:
  • Eat more of fruits and vegetables; organic farmed the better.
  • Don’t overcook or reheat your food
  • Add protein and fats to reduce the GI
  • Keep some fiber in your fruit juice (freshly juiced)
  • Always add a little healthy fat to what you eat
  • To reduce your sugar cravings get chromium( Sweet Potato, Seafood’s, beets, green pepper, banana, fresh chili)

Most fruits and vegetables, for example, have a low glycemic load. So, when you eat fewer foods with a high glycemic load (e.g. cookies, cakes, or sweets) and more foods with a low glycemic load (e.g. fruits and vegetables), you end up eating fewer calories contributing towards healthy weight loss.

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