The food we eat can have an impact on our blood sugar level. For this reason, we need to plan our diet based on the impact of food on our blood sugar level. This is called glycemic index diet which refers to a specific diet plan serving as guide for meal planning. Unlike other plans, the chart of gylcemic index does not specify portion sizes or the optimal number of calories, carbohydrates, or fats for weight loss or maintenance. It is not a diet plan but one of many tools for guiding food choices.
Purpose of the Index
The glycemic index is designed to help individuals eat carbohydrate rich foods without causing a large increase in blood sugar level. It can be used as a method for weight loss and prevention of chronic diseases associated with obesity such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. There are several reasons why you should choose to follow the chart of glycemic index:
- For weight loss or maintenance
- For planning in eating a healthy diet
- For maintenance of blood sugar level
Studies reveal that diets based on the glycemic index can help achieve these goals. However, these gals can also be achieved by eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and having a regular exercise. It is best to consult your doctor or health care provider before starting any weight-loss diet especially if you have a health condition such as diabetes.
The glycemic index
The glycemic index was the result of studies conducted at the Sydney University Glycemic Index Research Services in Sydney, Australia. It was first introduced as a strategy for guiding the diet of people with diabetes. To better understand GI diets, you need to have a basic overview of carbohydrates, blood sugar, and GI values.
Carbohydrates and Food
Carbohydrates or carbs are a type of nutrient in foods. There are three basic food types namely sugars, starches, and fiber. Carbohydrates breaks down sugars and starches to glucose, the main source of energy for cells in the body. Fiber passes through the body undigested. Foods rich in carbs can affect how quickly your body digests them and how quick glucose finds its way into the bloodstream.
Understanding GI values
GI values are based on how much a food item can raise blood glucose levels compared on the amount of pure glucose can raise blood glucose. They are generally divided into three categories:
- Low GI: 1 to 55
- Medium GI: 56 to 69
- High GI: 70 and higher
These values can help an individual make better food choices.