What is the Glycemic Index and How Does It Affect Your Diet?
If you’re anything like the average consumer, the term “glycemic index” is something close to Greek. The short definition though is how various foods and their inherent carbohydrates affect the levels of blood glucose in your system. It has a significant effect on your blood sugar and insulin release as well. You might think that every carbohydrate is about the same on this index but that would be incorrect.
Carbohydrates work like time release foods. Basically, if a good has a lower number on the glycemic index, it means that it slowly releases glucose into your bloodstream over time, rather than doing it quickly or all at once. That means your body has more time to digest the nutrients and absorb whatever it needs from the food. If you want some great examples of these foods, then consider spinach, grapefruit, broccoli and even peanuts. The list is much longer of course, but you can see these foods are already on the healthy list that many people are familiar with. Keep in mind that the longer your body takes to digest a food, the longer it feels full, which means you’re not grabbing sugar-filled snacks to fill in the gaps.
When your body has high blood sugar, it also creates high levels of insulin. That causes fat loss to get shut down and creates inflammation in the cells, hardening them. As cells harden, that causes diabetes. One more result of high blood sugar and high insulin is the roller coaster of blood sugar cycles it creates in your body, and this makes you tired, drained, and ultimately, hungry.
Ok, so what foods are higher on the glycemic index? Some examples of these are rice cakes (favorite diet food anyone?), brown and white rice, white break and candy. These are going to release everything they have into your system very quickly and your body is going to digest it at that speed. If you’re trying to make your meals last, these are not items you’d want to include, especially if you want to increase the time between meals. Your blood sugar might increase if you eat a lot of these foods, and if you combine this with a sedentary occupation—this is not a good combination at all.
When you’re trying to put together a healthy diet, you need to look at the foods you like and then check their rank on the glycemic index. You may discover that some of your “healthy” foods really aren’t that beneficial at all, and then you might find out that one of your lesser preferred foods is a huge boost. A little bit of research can go a long way, and of course, a conversation with your personal trainer is also helpful. Because you have discussed your goals with them, they can give you some personalized dietary advice and make your efforts more successful. Check out what’s in your cabinets and find out how you can make it healthier!