Monday, January 23, 2012

I've Heard Of The Glycemic Index... But What Is It? by Andrew Mason

Scientists have found that we process different foods in different ways. As we discovered more about these anomalies, the glycemic index was developed to help us identify and regulate the carbohydrates that we eat, appropriately. We can now see how each of these carbs is processed and we can determine what can happen if we eat the wrong types of food. We can also see what happens when we prepare our foods a certain way and serve them in oversized portions.

The index runs between zero and 100 and foods that are found at the bottom of this range are classified as better for us. These foods can be processed and digested more slowly. The foods at the top of the range put way too much stress and strain on our systems, most notably the pancreas. This organ will have to produce high levels insulin in order to break down the result of a higher volume of carbohydrates. This activity can lead to the development of diabetes and can make it very difficult for us to control our weight.

To develop the concept further, a glycemic response was calculated which helps to show us how each carbohydrate can affect our blood glucose level. We need to avoid insulin level spikes caused by those simple carbohydrates and focus on complex carbs. As the body finds it more of a process to break down these foods and distribute the goodness, our organs are not overly stressed.

The glycemic index is composed of three categories and classifies carbs according to whether they are high, moderate or low. Foods at the very top end of the scale, with an index of 100, are equivalent to pure glucose. Highly indexed foods will make us feel less satisfied, bring on those hunger pangs more quickly and make us rush for a sugary snack to satisfy ourselves.

We can break a typical diet down into fats, carbohydrates and proteins. Each is important, but they must always be balanced. The glycemic index deals with carbohydrate rankings, but we also have to be sure that we keep the right amount of fat and protein in the diet, as well. We should know that fat and protein can help to counterbalance some of the worst effects of those high GI carbohydrates. We should also focus on getting as much fiber as possible within our daily diets, as this by itself can help to slow down a body's processing time.

If you are one of the unfortunate individuals to have diabetes, you must avoid altogether the foods found at the higher-end of the glycemic index, but for the rest of us we might not have to relegate them completely to the past. We are certainly advised to focus on foods at the bottom of the scale however, and this is where we find vegetables and fruits galore. If you do eat foods at the top of the list, always consume them with beneficial proteins.

You will certainly be more successful with your weight control efforts if you focus on the findings of the glycemic index. Did you know that a typical person could experience cravings as often as 10 times per day?