Search This Blog

Monday, September 6, 2010

Glycemic Index, What's In It for You?

Glycemic index, here we go again for it is playing a role in a study. It looks like eating foods with a low-glycemic index will help maintain the blood glucose level to as normal as possible. This latest study even found this as important as consuming the correct amount of carbohydrates at each meal.

What is glycemic index anyway? It is the measure of how the food affects the blood glucose level. The carbs that quickly break down and let go the glucose to the bloodstream have high GI while those that break down slowly and release the glucose gradually have a low GI.

Studies have shown that blood sugar goes on a roller coaster ride whether we like it or not. This is the problem that can damage the body. It can lead to some chronic diseases. The development of atherosclerosis is particularly a problem so how do we go around this diabetic-diet dilemma?

The key is to control the blood sugar in order to slow down the complications but we have to go farther than this. While it is true that the quantity of carbohydrate is part of managing this issue, the quality of the carbohydrate is as significant as its number. This is where the glycemic index comes in.

The Human Nutrition Unit at Sydney University has a Glycemic Index team that includes Professor Jennie Brand-Miller. This team tested 1126 foods to determine the link between a food's GI and the other factors associated with the glucose level after meals.

This is what they found. The results that the so-called normal response depends on the type of carbohydrate. In order to control the blood sugar, it is wise to consider both the quantity and quality of the carb. It is not enough to say eat more whole grains for this might encourage the diabetics to eat carbohydrates with a high glycemic index.

It is better to say "less" rather than "more" or "low glycemic index" with foods that are rich in carb. So look for the GI symbol on food labels. I don't know if we have this the world over but Australia and New Zealand have this symbol. Opt for lower GI rice. Potatoes have high GI so if you love them, cut back on the amount. So next time you eat, watch out for the glycemic index.

No comments: