Hey this is Tim Feeser with Freaky50 Fitness encouraging you to get healthy to stay wealthy.
Today I’d like to review with you what the Glycemic Index (GI) is and why it was developed, and we should be using it to manage our carb intake.
First the GI is a ranking of carbohydrate-based foods that provides a guide as to how the carbohydrate based food will affect your blood sugar levels upon digestion. Dr. Thomas Wolever and Dr. David Jenkins developed the GI at the University of Toronto in 1981.
The intent of the development of the GI was to help those with Diabetes better understand how carbohydrates affect their blood sugar levels so they could identify low rated carbohydrate foods to eat that have moderate effects on blood sugar levels.
The GI can be a useful tool for all to use in managing their diets, as most people enjoy eating carbohydrate based foods, but recognize they can make us fat if we are not careful. Hence, the proliferation of low to no carbohydrate-based diets that people have tried, but are difficult to stay on, and even dangerous to your health.
So why not learn what the GI is, and use this research to better manage the carbohydrates you eat versus giving them up completely. This is what I did.
In my meal charts, I show the GI for ingredients that contain carbs, where there is a GI score. I’ll note that not all carbohydrate based foods have been tested, as the testing process involves human subjects having to eat the food being tested, then have their blood drawn for testing at a few different time intervals to measure their blood sugars levels. It is quite an involved process.
Their have been a fairly representative range of carbohydrate-based foods that have been tested, for which you can find various lists with the GI ranks published online. Foods from grains to fruits to processed snack foods have been tested to create a fairly representative list for reference. Here is a list of a few common foods and their GI rank.
From a review of this list, you may be surprised about how some of these items affect you, and your current perception of how healthy some of them are. I actually have a video where I go through the ranks of all the fruits and a strategy of when I eat my favorite fruits. Here is the link:
For example, when I first started out on my weight loss quest, I used pretzels as my healthy snack. I mean after all, they are advertised as the “healthy snack” alternative from potato chips, and they are “fat free”! But look at the GI rank. They are highly rated, and now I understand why it is so hard to stop at one of those small snack bags you select out of your company vending machine. I found myself wanting to keep eating more and more as my blood sugar spiked!
Think about all those Sunday afternoons watching football with beer and pretzels! Ops!!
I later learned that nuts are rated very low, actually 14, so even though most of the nuts have higher fat content, it is mostly the healthy fats we want, and I made my own homemade nut based trial mix as my afternoon snack, which I believe helped keep me on track to my ultimate weight loss success.
If we can start to pay attention to how we consume carbohydrates, we can better manage our weight, and avoid the excess weight gain, that leads to many high cost and deadly chronic diseases like diabetes, obesity, cancer and heart disease.
Eating a lower GI diet by default will lead to you getting more fiber since many of the low to medium ranged carbohydrates tend to be those higher in fiber, and a high fiber diet helps keep cholesterol in check.
I thank you for reading this blog and encourage you to check out and subscribe to my YouTube channel peak50 Fitness for ongoing fitness and nutrition tips.
I also have videos and blogs on the Glycemic Load, which is how the GI score is used with the carb serving size to measure the true impact of eating the carb serving will have on your blood sugar.