Diet Advice – Glycemic Index

July 8, 2007 by  
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By Jack Richards

The glycemic index describes the different rankings of carbohydrates according to their effect on blood glucose levels. The lower the glycemic index of a food the less likely it will interact with or drastically change blood glucose levels and insulin responses.

Understanding blood glucose levels and insulin was once only a concern for diabetic patients. However, insulin and the way our body uses it is also directly related to how much body fat we have. As previously stated, if we have an excess of glucose floating around in our blood, the body needs to get rid of it before it become toxic. It does this by secreting a hormone called insulin which acts to shuttle nutrients in our blood into our muscles, internal organs and fat. In fact the definition of a diabetic is someone who has a dangerous amount of glucose in their blood. Too much glucose in the blood can become toxic, which causes the symptoms of diabetes. Too little blood glucose causes hypoglycemia. The body, when working properly, always tries to maintain homeostasis to keep things working properly. In this case the body uses insulin to keep our blood glucose levels even.

When you eat foods that have a high glycemic index, they quickly raise both blood glucose levels and insulin. Whatever the body can’t immediately utilize at the time will be stored as fat. Foods that have a high glycemic index are foods that taste sweet, like candy, cookies, chocolate. Foods that have a low glycemic index are complex carbohydrates, legumes, nuts, fresh fruits, and vegetables.

When referring to the glycemic index, we are referring almost exclusively to carbohydrate sources. Proteins like meat and fats do not interact with our blood glucose level or insulin directly. They do, however, have the effect of slowing the digestion of carbohydrates, which is why it’s always a good idea to have each meal balanced with 50% carbs, 40% protein, and 10% good fats. The one exception is when you eat a high glycemic food with fats. High glycemic foods actually help to shuttle the fat into fat cells more quickly by forcing insulin to react with blood glucose, and the digested lipids in the blood are then quickly shuttled directly into fat. This is why foods like French fries, donuts, hamburgers are so bad for you because they are essentially shuttled directly into fat without any beneficial use of those calories.

Good sources of low glycemic index foods are the following:

Fresh fruits – apples, bananas, pears, cherries, strawberries, etc.

Nuts – walnuts, almonds, cashews

Legumes – peanuts, peas, beans, chickpeas

My name is Jack Richards, I’m a self taught fitness guru. Growing up I was a fat kid, and I HATED IT! I’ve spent the past 10 years of my life learning, working out, dieting, and doing everything I could to find the complete answer to fat loss. Today I stand at 5’11 165lbs with only 5% body fat. I’ve found the answer to weight-loss that so many people are struggling to find. You too can learn my secrets at

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.

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