What is glycemic index? The glycemic index (GI) measures carbohydrates. The index is a list of how blood sugar levels rise after you eat a small portion of a carbohydrate food. Each food has a GI number from 0 to 100, 0 being a lower glycemic index food. Nutritionists used to suppose that all simple sugars digested quickly and caused a rapid increase in blood sugar, and that the opposite was true for “complex carbohydrates”. But that’s not always the case. While many sweet and sugary foods have a high GI, some starchy foods like potatoes or white bread score even higher than honey or table sugar! Originally, the index was developed as a tool to help diabetics manage blood sugar control. In theory, if it works to help control blood sugar in diabetic people, then it should work for weight control!
The goal of the low-glycemic diet is to eat unprocessed, unrefined carbohydrates in combination with healthy proteins and fats to improve satiety by keeping digestion slow. The quick release of glucose triggers a hormone response that tells your brain you’re hungry again, which is problematic for the dieters in Minnesota, who are trying to reduce their overall calorie intake. But consistently high or modulating blood sugar can contribute to insulin resistance, which in turn is associated with metabolic syndrome conditions like Type 2 diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease.
Some examples of good low glycemic foods include oatmeal, beans and vegetables, which are packed with fat, fiber and protein and cause a slow, steady digestion, leading to a longer period of satiety. Some examples of high glycemic foods that can cause a spike in blood sugar include some fruit juices, breads, starchy foods like potatoes and sweets, and baked goods. These have in common a lack of fiber, fat and protein, which help moderate the release of sugar.
Please come into our One Stop Wellness Clinic in Edina, Minnesota to get more information about our weight loss and hormone balance program facilitated by Katie McClellan, PA-C and Dr. Steven Shu.