Facts about the Glycemic Index

The “Glycemic Index” is a scale that was originally developed for diabetics but it has become the #1 way of gauging what foods effect your blood sugar levels and therefore a wonderful tool for people trying to lose weight. This is also called GI for short. In fact, this diet plan is still so new that the word glycemic still does not exist in many dictionaries. The Glycemic Index itself is not a diet plan but simply a scale to measure all forms of food. Once you understand and know what scale all foods are on and how this scale works once food is eaten, creating an affective and comfortable weight loss diet is child’s play.

The glycemic index measures all foods on a scale from 1 to 100, where pure glucose would measure 100 on this scale. This scale measures the length of time it takes for food to be digested in your body. The longer it takes to digest, the lower the number. The benefit of eating food with a low glycemic index is that it stays your stomach longer. When food stays in your stomach longer there are two benefits you’ll receive. One benefit is that your hunger is suppressed for a longer period of time between meals. The second benefit is that because food digests slowly, your cells don’t get a rush of energy at one time. This means that all glucose is used and none of it gets converted to fat cells.

The glycemic index diet has become popular because it means you don’t have to starve yourself on a diet and you get to eat more often throughout the day. It is recommended that you eat 5 to 6 small meals per day instead of 3 big meals.  One of the biggest discomfort with inexperienced dieters is that they use the quote “no pain no gain” when following a diet so they think that starving themselves and drinking nothing but water is a good thing. The GI diet makes sure you don’t sacrifice your daily nutrition requirements and you still cut calorie consumption.

To put the glycemic index to use for yourself you must understand what foods are good to eat and what foods are bad to eat. This graph separates foods into 3 categories.

Low GI Foods: These are foods that are on the glycemic index from 1 to 54. These foods are good to eat and benefit in helping you burn more calories than you consume. Examples of these types of foods are fruits and vegetables. When you eat the food, energy trickles into your blood stream at a slow and steady rate.

Intermediate GI Foods: These are foods which range from 55 to 70. These are usually processed foods such as pasta and dairy products. It could also be bread and white rice.

High GI Foods: High GI foods  that have a greater value then 70 do have their place when on an exercise and weight loss program. For example, once you’ve finished a 30 minute gut wrenching workout on the treadmill, your body is starving for energy. Something that provides energy to your body fast is a great benefit. However, you don’t want to eat junk food like cake or ice cream or potato chips. You want to eat something that provides fast energy as well as nutritional value such as protein bars and shakes for example. Other than this benefit, High GI foods should be avoided and they range from 71 to 100.

Eating high GI foods is one main reason for being overweight in the first place and is also the main cause for people becoming type 2 diabetics later in life.