By Donovan Baldwin
Okay, the first couple of paragraphs might sound slightly complicated, but it gets easier after that. Bear with me.
By definition, the glycemic index (sometimes abbreviated GI) is a way of ranking carbohydrates based on the short-term or immediate effect they have on your blood glucose level. When carbohydrates break down rapidly they are given a higher glycemic index than those that break down more slowly. Those with a high GI are digested more rapidly and encourage a rapid increase in blood glucose while those with a low GI are digested more slowly and release glucose into the blood stream more gradually.
The glycemic index of a food is expressed as a number. This number can be arrived at a couple of different ways, but in all cases, some food, often glucose itself, is considered to be 100. In some cases, researchers may assign another food a value of 100 so that they can compare a particular diet to that particular food…perhaps a food that is a staple in the diet being examined.
WHAT THE GLYCEMIC INDEX MEANS FOR YOU
As we said, foods with a low GI take longer to digest and release glucose into the blood stream more slowly than foods with a high GI. Regular and sustained consumption of high GI foods has been linked to an increase in obesity and the development of metabolic disturbances. In fact, testing seems to show a link between weight loss, or at least weight management, and a diet which relies heavily on low GI foods. Studies also seem to show that there are other positive health effects as well in addition to the improvement in health that may occur as a result of healthy weight loss.
Eating a low GI diet over an extended time seems to result in a lower risk of Type II Diabetes and coronary heart disease. A low GI diet may also lower risk of atherosclerosis.
PROBLEMS WITH CHOOSING A LOW GLYCEMIC INDEX DIET
While a close approximation to the GI of a food can be given, actual GI of that food may depend on a range of factors, including how ripe it is, how long it has been stored, where it was grown, and the processing it has undergone. The GI of a food may actually fluctuate from individual to individual, and even within the same individual depending on factors such as time of day, blood glucose levels, and the person’s health to name a few. Additionally, since few foods are eaten alone, it is difficult to estimate the GI of a combined dish or meal.
Despite these drawbacks, the GI of a food or a meal can be estimated with some accuracy, and with proper knowledge of the GI of various foods, a diet can be constructed that will help an individual lose weight while maintaining health. There are charts, graphs, and even weight loss programs that have ranked and ordered foods and meals by their GI and can present these to the consumer as a finished package, product, or reference. Some well known weight loss programs which use the GI of foods to construct their eating plans and products are the South Beach Diet, the Atkins Diet, and the Nutrisystem Weight Loss Program.
FOODS WITH A LOW GLYCEMIC INDEX
As might be suspected, foods with lower GI’s include most common fruits and vegetables, drinks and juices made from fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads, eggs, most dairy products, fish, poultry and…oh happy day…chocolate. Low GI foods are generally considered to be those with a GI of 55 or lower.
GOOD CARB VS. BAD CARB OR GLYCEMIC INDEX
Generally speaking, “bad” carbs tend to be foods with a high GI, while “good” carbs are foods with a low GI. As can be seen from the list above, choosing healthy carbohydrates, or low GI foods, does not have to be a chore. It is simpler for an individual to begin substituting healthy, low GI, foods and snacks for higher GI foods such as extra slices of cake, white bread, refined rice, foods sweetened with sugar, and potato chips, than to try to subsist on many of the eating plans offered by fad diets.
Donovan Baldwin is a Dallas area writer. A graduate of the University Of West Florida (1973) with a BA in accounting, he is a member of Mensa and has held several managerial positions. He has written poetry and essays for his own use, and instructional media in many of the positions he held. After his retirement from the U. S. Army in 1995, he began writing articles on various subjects for websites he owned as well as for use by other webmasters. He has a keen interest in health, fitness, diet, and weight loss. He has a blog on these subjects at www.nodiet4me.blogspot.com. You can find more information on a weight loss program using the glycemic index at diet.free-business-hosting.com.
Article Source: EzineArticles.com/?expert=Donovan_Baldwin