Why Is the Glycemic Index Important In Weight Management?

By: Thomas Henricks

The term glycemic index or GI for short is becoming a more common buzzword associated with weight loss and weight control programs. Many people are not clear about what this term realy encompasses. To make the required adjustments to our diet, we need to understand what the glycemic index is and what foods affect our GI.

The glycemic index is simply a guide or scale that compares a wide range of food products. It rates the foods (carbohydrates) relative to how much, and how quickly they raise blood glucose levels on ingestion. The base level is compared to glucose sugar.

The significance of raised blood glucose levels is observed in an increase in energy levels. The speed at which your glycemic index raises for that food product is called the glycemic response.

The glycemic response of a given food or carbohydrate is not determined completely by the carbohydrate alone. The quantity you consume and the method of preparation are also factors affecting the glycemic response. For example, cooking pasta for shorter periods will produce a lower glycemic response rate than if you employed extended cooking.

Quite simply, the the guides show that carbohydrates which raise your blood glucose level quickly have a higher GI rating than foods that raise your blood glucose level more slowly. The common conclusion is, the lower the rating, the better the quality of carbohydrate. It has been widely accepted that you should follow a daily regime that incorporates a high-carb diet with 50% of each day's calories coming from carbohydrates.

Low GI foods are typically lower in calories and fat, yet high in fibre, nutrients and antioxidants. These foods also provide the weight loss benefit of making you feel full quicker and for longer periods. It is also believed that low GI foods may help you increase levels of HDL (healthy) cholesterol in your blood.

Low GI foods also lead to several benefits. These include control of blood glucose levels, cholesterol balancing, appetite control, reduced risk of heart disease, and reduced risk of acquiring type 2 diabetes.

As you can see there would be solid reasons to take into account the GI if you are trying to lose weight. Influencing energy levels and controlling hunger elements are primary factors to be considered in any weight loss program.

The rating scale itself can be divided into 3 basic levels of comparison. Less than 55 is generally considered the lower level. A rating of 56 to 69 is considered mid range. A GI rating of 70 or higher is considered to be a high level GI.

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