Tag Archives: blood sugar

Facts about the Glycemic Index

One important factor when trying to lose weight is to choose
foods that keep your insulin levels fairly constant.
This is especially true in regards to carbohydrates.
When we eat foods that contain carbohydrates, the carbohydrates
are digested in the stomach and intestines and are absorbed
into the bloodstream, generally in the form of glucose.

When the carbohydrates we eat cause the blood sugar to quickly
rise to high levels,excess insulin can cause to much sugar
to be absorbed by the cells.This results in a condition of
low blood sugar. The subsequent stress on the body stimulates
the adrena glands to secrete hormones into the blood.
Metabolism rises, glucose is manufactured from stores in
the liver and the entire body may be activated in what is
called “fight-or-flight response.”

The Glycemic Index (GI) is a classification of ranking of carbohydrates,
based on their potential for raising blood glucose levels.
Carbohydrates that are broken down slowly and cause only a moderate
increase in blood sugar, have a low Glycemic Index.
Some carbohydrates fall in between.

Specifically, the Glycemic Index measures how much a 50-gram portion
of carbohydrates raises your blood sugar levels compared with a control.
The control is either white bread or pure glucose.
Glucose is absorbed into the bloodstream faster than any other
carbohydrate and is thus given the value of 100.
Other carbohydrates are given a number relative to glucose.
Foods with low GI indices are released into the bloodstream at a slower
rate than high GI foods.

All carbohydrates cause some temporary rise in your blood glucose level.
This is called the glycemic response. A number of factors influence
this response: the amount of food eaten, the digestion and absorption
rate of food, including the physical structure, ripeness, particle seize,
the degree of processing and preparation, the commercial brand, the
nature of the starch, acidity and the characteristics of the diabetic
patient. These factors naturally effect each food’s glycemic index
position or rank.

The slower your body processes the food, the slower the insulin is
released and the healthier the overall effect is on your body.
In addition, differences exist in the glycemic indexes due to the choice
of reference food, the timing of blood sampling or the computational
method used to calculate the glycemic index.

When you desire to lose weight, you choose the foods that raise your
blood sugar level slowly. You’ll discover that many of those foods are
high in fiber and will keep you feeling fuller for a longer period of time.
And if you have been on a diet, you will be thankful for this.
The longer you feel satisfied, the less temptation you will have to eat
something in between your meals that will spike your blood sugar.

As fructose is a slow moving sugar, almost all fruits, except bananas
and dried fruits, have a low GI. Also, all vegetables that contain
lots of fiber, except carrot and corn. Whole grains, starches and pasta
have a higher GI. On top of the list are white bread, refined grains
and some potatoes.

The Glycemic Load (GL) is a relatively new way to assess the impact of
carbohydrate consumption that takes the glycemic index into account,
but gives a fuller picture than does glycemic index alone.
A GI value tells you only how rapidly a particular carbohydrate
turns into sugar. It doesn’t tell you how much of that carbohydrate
is in a serving of a particular food. You need to know both things
to understand a food’s effect on blood sugar.
That is where glycemic load comes in. The carbohydrate in watermelon
for example, has a high GI, but there isn’t a lot of it, so watermelon
glycemic load is relatively low. A GL of 20 or more is high, a GL of
11 to 19 is medium, and a GL of 10 or less is low.

Following the latest research it appears that women experience cravings
about 10 times during the day. The most common times for these cravings
to appear are at 10 am and 4 pm. Interesting enough, these cravings
correspond almost exactly to your low blood sugar levels as well as
your low levels of serotonin. This is a chemical that drives women to
start eating. And because the drive is so strong, it’s quite difficult
to overcome.

Research performed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s
Clinical Research Center uncovered this truth when it found a
relationship between carbohydrates in the brain and weight loss.
Dr. J. Wurtman, lead researcher of the study, demonstrated, that
eating carbohydrates high on the GI raised the levels of serotonin
in the brain.

The results also showed that women suffering from premenstrual syndrome
eat to many carbohydrates and as a result gain weight.
Others overeat when they are depressed, stressed or angry in an effort
to balance these serotonin levels.

The objectives of diet management in diabetic patients are to reduce
hyperglycemia, prevent hyperglycemic episodes, and reduce the risk of
complications. For people with diabetes, the GI is a useful tool in
planning to achieve and maintain glycemic control.
High GI foods are absorbed quickly into the bloodstream, causing an
escalation in blood glucose levels and increasing the possibility
of hyperglycemia. The body compensates for the rise in blood sugar
levels with an accompanying increase in insulin, which within a few
hours can cause hypoglycemia. As a result, awareness of the
glycemic indices of food assists in preventing large variances in
blood glucose levels.

A low GI pre-event meal may be beneficial for athletes who respond
negatively to carbohydrate-rich foods prior to exercise or who
can’t consume carbohydrates during competition. Athletes are advised
to consume carbohydrates of moderate to high GI during prolonged
exercise to maximize performance, approximately 1 gram per minute of
exercise. Following exercise, moderate to high GI foods enhance
glycogen storage.

The fat content of food is one of the components that affect the GI.
Like fiber, fat acts like a brake on the absorption process.
Apart from this fact, fat just make food to taste better.
Fats also play an important role of signaling your body to stop eating.
This is vital to any weight-management program. The fat that you eat
causes the body to release a hormone called cholecystokinin.
This hormone is stored in the stomach until notified by the presence of
fat and is responsible for informing the brain that you’re satisfied.
It really is a marvellous thing and it means you don’t have to
deprive yourself.

Another factor that influence the absorption rate of glucose is
the protein content of the food. Protein seems to have the greatest
effect when it comes down to satisfying those hunger pangs,especially
for a long period of time and makes you feel fuller.
Protein also helps you to stay alert. However, we have to be aware of
the good and the bad protein. Always make sure you choose the lean
protein in either beef, fish, chicken or plant-based protein.

Protein itself rates zero on the GI scale, this means you don’t have
to be sparingly by adding it to your diet, only watch the calorie content.
It slows down the rise in insulin that happens when you eat any form of
carbohydrate. This means, if you add some protein to a food that ranks
high on the GI scale, you will counteract the spiking effect in insulin
rise. Another benefit of protein is, that it keeps you feeling full
longer after you eat it.It is therefore a good idea to add some protein
to your breakfast. And if you take a snack, make sure it contains some
form of protein.

If you like fish, you are doing yourself a favor. Fish not only
slows down the spiking in your insulin level, it also contains a rich
source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Eat fish at least twice a week.

The Glycemic Index is an excellent tool. It provide you with a
weight-management system that puts you in control of the foods you eat
,
how much you eat, the way you eat and when you like to eat.
When you have a good variety of foods from which to choose, it makes
it easier to stay with the system.

Try eating according to the Glycemic Index, you will be pleasantly
surprised how easy it is to keep your weight under control and
you’ll also find that your energy level will rise as a bonus!

You can find the Revised International Table of Glycemic Index (GI) and Glycemic
Load (GL) Values—2008 By David Mendosa by visiting:www.mendosa.com/gilists.htm