What you need to know about the Glycemic Index

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There are so many diets and fads that claim to be the deepest darkest secret and/or shortcut to get you the body you’re seeking. The reality is some work, some don’t but many are simply different roads that lead to the same destination.

The Glycemic Index is another popular tool at our disposal. Ultimately it will usually push you towards less processed food options. I still cannot emphasize enough how vital logging your food daily is to obtaining and maintaining whatever goal it is you’re shooting for. You will not reach your goals or approach your full potential if you decide to go the lazy route and not log your food, simple fact!

The Glycemic Index basically measures how the food you eat will alter your blood glucose (blood sugar) levels. The lower the GI value of a food means the slower the food will digest, metabolize, and alter your blood sugar levels. The higher the GI value then the opposite will occur.

On Wikipedia…”In one study, male rats were split into high- and low-GI groups over 18 weeks while mean body weight was maintained. Rats fed the high-GI diet were 71% fatter and had 8% less lean body mass than the low-GI group.” defines the glycemic index as follows:
“The glycemic index, or GI, measures how a carbohydrate-containing food raises blood glucose. Foods are ranked based on how they compare to a reference food– either glucose or white bread. A food with a high GI raises blood glucose more than a food with a medium or low GI.

Meal planning with the GI involves choosing foods that have a low or medium GI. If eating a food with a high GI, you can combine it with low GI foods to help balance the meal. Examples of carbohydrate-containing foods with a low GI include dried beans and legumes (like kidney beans and lentils), all non-starchy vegetables and some starchy vegetables, most fruit, and many whole grain breads and cereals (like barley, whole wheat bread, rye bread, and all-bran cereal). Meats and fats don’t have a GI because they do not contain carbohydrate.”

Low GI foods are the way to go. You avoid explosive spikes and drops in your blood sugar levels. Another benefit to eating low GI foods is that by being slowly digested it provides the benefit of feeling full longer which can prevent overindulging on your favorite foods. You can search for a database of GI values. Pretty quickly you’ll be able to identify low gi and high gi foods without always having to run and check them out.

Unstable blood sugar levels have led to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and strokes…I don’t think anyone wants to be dealing with those five issues. So start adding some low GI foods to your diet and reap the benefits.

The following links are extra resources and helped me write this blog

Learn more about health, fitness and nutrition at Taylor Carpenter Personal Training.


About the Author:

Taylor Carpenter is a nationally Certified Personal Trainer, Corrective Exercise Specialist, and Fitness Nutrition Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Taylor was featured as a fitness expert in the first publication of NASM's "The Fitness Edge".
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