What is the Glycemic Index, and Why Does it Matter?

glycemic-index-what-is-itMany people choose to follow paleo, diabetic, gluten-free, low carb and sugar free diets because of the Glycemic Index. At the core of the Glycemic Index is an understanding of the way that certain foods have effects on blood sugar levels. Understanding the Glycemic Index, and eating balanced meals that are not dominated by carbs, can help support you in achieving long-term weight maintenance.

 

WHAT IS THE GLYCEMIC INDEX?glycemic_index-pic

The human body requires glucose for energy, so that the system as a whole can keep on going; your body’s cells need fuel. The Glycemic Index refers to the speed at which the body breaks down starches and sugars to make them readily available as glucose for the body’s needs.

Optimally, the body’s level of glucose remains constant. When the glucose level drops, you might feel lethargic or hungry. When the glucose level is too high, your pancreas receives the signal to produce additional insulin in order to bring the blood sugar to a more stable level. During this process of glucose regulation, sugar in the body is converted into stored fat.

potatoWhen you eat foods that have a high Glycemic Index, you will likely experience a burst of energy as the blood glucose is high, followed by lethargy, increased fat storage, and a feeling of hunger.

As a consequence, many people choose to stick with foods that allow for the glucose levels to remain relatively stable (know as Low GI foods). Low GI foods are low sugar and low carb foods, for the most part.  In fact, eating low carb meals is more critical than eating low sugar meals, as carbohydrates (particularly white bread, pasta, and potatoes) have a high glycemic index, and can trigger the over production of glucose.

GLYCEMIC LOADING

spaghetti_man430x300It’s not only what you eat, but how much of it you eat. A small piece of chocolate, for example, should not trigger a high glucose reaction in your system. A large plate of carbs, such as potatoes or pasta, without anything else to balance out the meal, very well could.

Substitute cauliflower for potatoes in recipes and use low carb pasta in place of regular pasta.

HEALTHY EATING FOR STABLE GLUCOSE LEVELS

Unknown555If you are going to eat carbs, make sure that you limit their consumption and that you eat them in combination with other foods. A balanced diet, with proteins, vegetables, and plenty of water will help to ensure stable glucose levels. Paleo diets, high fiber low carb foods, high protein and fat foods, and diabetic foods can all support health blood glucose levels.

Click Here for Low Carb Foods Shown to Keep Glucose Levels Stable!

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