Glycemic Index: What Is It And Why Is It Important?

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Glycemic index
Falakpreet Kaur
Life is all about learning new things and writing is the powerful source of learning I can never get bored of!.

Watching your diet and nutrition if you are suffering from diabetes or heart diseases is absolutely necessary as the foods you eat can influence your blood sugar levels. Some foods can make your blood sugar level high in a quick period of time. 

Checking up on the type of food you eat is extremely important. Have you ever heard about the glycemic index? A glycemic index may help you if you don’t want to get your blood sugar levels up. Using a glycemic index can overall help you in eating healthy and nutritious. 

If you don’t know what is the glycemic index and how to use glycemic index for a healthy lifestyle, continue reading the article! 

Also read: Too Much Sugar Causing Troubles For You? 7 Ways To Control Blood Sugar

What is glycemic index? 

Glycemic Index is a scale that gives you an idea about the number of carbohydrates in foods from 0-100. This number indicates how quickly the food causes an individual’s blood sugar to rise. The Glycemic index is used to facilitate better blood sugar management. Every meal you eat changes your blood sugar level and the glycemic index measures the effect of the food you eat has on your blood sugar levels. 

In simple words, it is a ranking system that shows you how fast a type of food can raise your blood sugar.

Glycemic index

The glycemic index affects your health and eating food with a high glycemic index may cause a lot of health conditions like diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular diseases. People with diabetes need to use the Glycemic index to plan their meals to manage blood sugar levels. 

The smaller the number of the glycemic index is, the less impact the food has on your blood sugar level. Here is a breakdown of the glycemic index proportions: 

  • Low Glycemic Index: 55 or less 
  • Medium Glycemic Index: 56-69 
  • High Glycemic Index: 70 or more 

You can check the glycemic index on packaged foods by checking their labels. You can check the glycemic index for some common foods on the internet too!

Also read: What To Eat And What Not To If You Have Diabetes

Why is the Glycemic index important? 

Our body needs glucose according to its metabolic demands. The usual requirement is 200 gms per day. Our brain totally depends on oxygen and glucose. Maintaining the amount of blood glucose in our body is important for our health and well being. A low and high level of blood glucose can be dangerous and sometimes even fatal for our health. 

A low level of blood glucose may make you feel lethargic and hungry. This is why the glycemic index is crucial as it may help you maintain blood sugar levels by giving you an idea of how a type of food can raise your blood sugar level. This helps you in the long term as well.

This may help you in: 

  • Lowering the risk of heart diseases
  • Preventing type 2 diabetes 
  • Prevents the worsening of diabetes
  • Restricts hunger 
  • Makes you feel more energetic  

Also read: 7 Surprising Healthy Foods That Are Considered Unhealthy

Factors affecting the Glycemic Index of a food 

Glycemic index

The Glycemic index of a type of food is determined by various factors. The contents, nutrients and several other factors may be responsible for influencing the glycemic index. Here are some factors that affect the glycemic index of food: 

Type of sugar content 

Sugar isn’t always high in glycemic index. It is a common myth that all types of sugars have a high Glycemic index. It should be noted that the glycemic index of fructose may range from as low as 23 and up to 105 for maltose. So, the glycemic index of food may depend on the type of sugar it contains. 

How do refined carbs fare? 

Processed foods are not healthy for your health as they contain a high glycemic index. Processing methods in the preparation of the food like grinding, rolling can raise the glycemic index making it an unhealthy option for those who have diabetes or heart diseases. 

Also read: Say Bye To Carbs By Adding 7 Low Carb Grains To Your Diet

Nutrients 

Nutrients are very important for our health and they can influence the glycemic index but in a good way! More protein and fat in a meal can slow digestion and help reduce the glycemic response to the meal. 

Starch 

Starch is a carb and it includes two molecules- amylose and amylopectin. Foods that contain high amylose will have a much lower glycemic index than foods containing amylopectin as amylose is difficult to digest. 

Cooking method 

Usually, food that is cooked for a longer period of time will have a high glycemic response to it than food that is cooked for a shorter period. 

Ripeness 

Ripeness may influence the glycemic index as an unripe fruit has less glycemic index than a riper fruit. 

Benefits of low glycemic diet 

Glycemic index

Following a low glycemic diet can be very beneficial for you in the long term. A GI diet can help you achieve some goals like losing weight, planning healthy meals, maintaining blood sugar levels and keeping heart diseases at bay. Here are some benefits of following a low glycemic diet: 

Blood glucose control 

Studies have shown that the more carbs you eat, the higher your blood glucose level gets. The best thing to do if you want to manage blood glucose is by counting carbohydrates. Glycemic index may help you in following a low calorie, high-fibre diet. 

Also read: 7 Sweetilicious Ways To Control Sugar Craving!

Weight loss 

A low Glycemic diet may help promote weight loss by excluding foods like refined grains, starches and sugars which are responsible for weight gain. 

Cholesterol control 

Low glycemic index diets may help you lower your cholesterol as well as “bad” cholesterol. When you combine a low glycemic index diet with increased dietary fibre may help you get control of your cholesterol levels. 

Appetite control

High glycemic index foods are responsible for a rapid increase in blood glucose which causes a rapid feeling of hunger. Conversely, low glycemic index foods may help you satiate your appetite, keeping you full for hours and in turn helping you manage your weight and eat healthy for the long term. 

This was all about the glycemic index and how to use it for better and healthy eating habits. Following a low glycemic index diet might help you fulfil your body and health goals. 

Read Next: Add These 12 Superfoods To Your Diet, And Say Goodbye To Cholestrol

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