Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Glycemic Index GI)

Do you  use information from the Glycemic Index (GI) to help you select the foods you eat on a regular basis. The GI rates foods to show how much they raise blood sugar levels. The higher the blood sugar rise, the higher the position of the food on the Glycemic Index. Pure glucose, which I think of as pure refined sugar, has a GI of 100. No surprise, candy, sugar, cake, cookies, donuts and so on have a high GI, while many vegetables, fruits, and whole-grains have a lower GI. Different foods have differing effects on blood sugar levels and the effects can vary considerably. Some foods even have a range of GI numbers, depending on several factors. For example, sometimes how long a food is cooked can influence the GI. Pasta cooked ‘al dente’ has a lower GI than when it is cooked longer to softness. The riper the banana the higher the GI, because glucose content increases with ripeness. Sweet potatoes are lower on the GI than white potatoes. However, the way in which both types of potatoes are prepared can impact their position. I do not carry a GI with me when I grocery shop because I have a general sense of the position on the GI of common foods. For example, a plain baked version of either will have a much lower GI than those that are deep fried or slathered in butter or sour cream. The serving size can make a differences, as well. I've learned to pay attention to serving size. That's sometimes referred to as Glycemic Load (GL).  More on that tomorrow. 

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