The Glycemic Index

The Glycemic Index

The glycemic index (GI) is the way we classify foods and drinks according to how quickly they raise the glucose level of the blood. The digestive system breaks down carbohydrates in foods and drinks into simple sugars, mainly glucose. This simple sugar is then carried to each cell through the bloodstream.🍭🍦🍬🍑

The pancreas secretes a hormone called insulin, which helps the glucose to migrate from the blood into the cells. Once inside a cell, the glucose is β€˜burned’ along with oxygen to produce energy.

The body converts excess glucose from food into glycogen. Glycogen acts as a storage form of glucose within the muscle tissue and the liver. Its role is to supplement blood sugar levels if they drop between meals or during physical activity.

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GI rating of various carbohydrates

low GI

less than 55– soy products, beans, fruit, milk, pasta, grainy bread, porridge and lentils

medium GI

55 to 70– orange juice, honey, basmati rice and wholemeal bread

high GI

greater than 70– potatoes, white bread and short-grain rice.

Eating too much high GI foods causes spikes in your blood glucose , this can lead to an increased risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity and colorectal cancers.

factors that can affect a food’s glycemic index :

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Grains that are milled and refined , removing the bran and the germ have a higher glycemic index than little or no processed whole grains.

Physical form: Finely ground grain is more easily digested than coarsely ground grain.

This is why eating whole grains like brown rice or oats can be healthier than eating highly processed whole grain bread.

Fibre content: High-Fibre foods do not contain as much digestible carbohydrate, this slows the rate of digestion and causes a lower rise in blood sugar.

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Ripeness: Ripe fruits and vegetables usually have a higher glycemic index than un-ripened fruit.

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Fat content and acid content: Meals with fat or acid are converted slowly into sugar

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