Glycemic Index

By | November 30, 2010

Glycemic Index



The glycemic index (GI) is a measuring tool by which carbohydrates are ranked based on their effects on blood sugar. Utilizing a 100-point system, foods are ranked in accordance to the amount of glucose they release into the bloodstream within two hours of consumption. The theory behind the Glycemic Index is to help individuals minimize insulin-related concerns by identifying and avoiding foods that have the greatest effect on blood sugar. For individuals who do not have diabetes, consuming foods ranked higher on the GI can be beneficial. There are situations when a rapid increase in blood sugar (and the corresponding increase in insulin) helps move glucose into muscle cells, where it aids tissue repair. Also, certain foods higher on the GI can help provide quick energy during athletic events. However, it is generally more desirable to choose foods ranked lower on the GI because insulin levels should be kept relatively constant. If blood sugar increases to rapidly, the pancreas secretes too much insulin into the bloodstream. Insulin is needed to keep blood sugar levels from rising too high, but secreting too much insulin over time can increase body fat, adversely affecting body composition. In contrast, the consumption of low-glycemic index foods results in lower, sustained blood glucose and insulin levels, which is ideal for a healthy lifestyle.

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