This information has changed MY LIFE. When I left the doctor’s office 2 years ago they said low carb and no sugar was the only answer for the rest of my life. Now I know better. Keeping my blood sugar steady, and exercising to burn any excess was the answer and understanding the GIndex is KEY to keeping the blood sugar steady all day and understanding which foods would take me through the day so I naturally just eat less. AWESOME.
My Take on the GLYCEMIC INDEX
Here is the laymen’s (sp?) explanation of this thing we call “the GI value”:
Basically there are a few labs in the world, mostly in Australia, that have taken thousands of people and had them eat every conceivable food they could and monitored their body’s ability to break it down and use it. They see how fast the stomach can pull it apart and how the digestive tract utilizes the carbs, sugar, fat, etc. SOOOO- each food is then given a glycemic value- the median is around 61. The longer it takes for the food to digest, the more steady the stream of energy from that food and these are the foods with LOW GI values.
THUS: Foods that have a value over 70 are considered HIGH GI, and foods with lower than 55 GI are considered LOW GI, in the middle are the MEDIUM GI foods. So the importance of all this is that foods that are LOWER GI last longer in the tummy and offer a longer amount of energy. Here are three examples of GI value:
White Rice vs. Brown Rice
If you look at the nutritional labels on a package of white rice vs. brown rice you will notice that the only difference is that Brown Rice has higher fat and fiber than the white rice. HOWEVER, there is a difference in GI values. White rices can range from 60-80 GI, and Brown rices range from 38-55 GI. So the brown rice that has that awesome bran still on the outside of it (white rice has this stripped off) lasts longer in the tummy than white rice, so you will feel fuller and eat less than you will the white rice. Gettin’ it?
Apple vs. Pineapple (FRESH)
Nutritionally, these two delicious fruits offer fiber, vitamin c and on and on. BUT their GI values are tremendously different. An apple hovers around 35-40 GI and the pineapple hovers around 75! So that apple will last 3 times as long energy wise than the pineapple which will easily break down and enter your bloodstream almost instantly offering an energy boost, but beware it won’t last long and you’ll be hungry within 30 minutes!
White Potato vs. Sweet Potato or YAM
White potatoes do offer vit c and fiber, and sweet potatoes offer HUGE amounts of vit a and fiber also- however- yep here it comes—- White potatoes have a GI value of 85-100! So not only will you feel like you can eat MORE of those darn french fries/baked potatoes, but you will feel hungry within the hour of your meal! Sweet potatoes and yams on the other hand offer a great starchy side dish with a GI value of 50-70. Yes, they are still on the higher end, but WAY lower than the regular white ones.
100% Whole-grain wheat/brown rice pastas vs. Regular semolina and “egg” noodles
Regular noodles have a GI value of about 50-60. Whole-grain pastas range around 50-60. Yes. Pastas are not that different in GI values. The only reason I put this comparison in here is to let you know that pasta is one of the lowest GI starchy foods there is! Recognize pasta as a food many athletes choose to consume the night before an event? This is why! Because they will be using that pasta’s energy all night long and won’t be depleted by morning and their metabolism stays constant before their event. But we don’t have to be athletes to enjoy a steady blood sugar. A note- I would choose whole-grain over regular for the higher fiber. But if you substitute pastas for potatoes/rice as fillers in your meals, you would be taking a step in the right direction for having a steady flow of energy for your body.
So bottom line here: The more LOW GI foods you eat, the less you will eat, and the less calories you will consume. Notice I didn’t claim that LOW GI foods are necessarily low calorie as well. There are many high GI foods, such as pineapple that have very high GI but are low calorie and visa versa.