The glycemic index (GI abbreviated) is one of the key characteristics that helps to divide carbohydrate foods into healthy and bad ones. Foods with a low glycemic index are acceptable when dieting, while foods with a high GI lead to weight gain.
In particular, regular consumption of foods with a high glycemic index negatively affects blood sugar and disrupts metabolic processes in the body. A constant feeling of hunger appears and the formation of fat deposits in problem areas is activated.
// What is the glycemic index?
The glycemic index (GI) is the rate at which carbohydrates in food are absorbed and increase blood sugar. A GI is considered low, equal to or less than 35. The total glycemic index scale consists of one hundred units. The theory was created in the 1980s for diabetics, but it is widely used in diet for weight loss and proper nutrition.
Low GI foods include vegetables, cereals, and other complex carbohydrate variations. They slowly give their energy to the body and are mainly stored in the muscles as glycogen. In contrast, high GI products are converted to free fatty acids. Their excessive consumption is associated both with a set of subcutaneous fat, and with harm to health.
Note that the glycemic index is gradually replaced by the concepts of glycemic load and insulin index. In GN, both the rate of increase in blood glucose level and the amount of carbohydrates in a portion of the product are taken into account. In turn, the insulin index notes that meat also provokes glucose production. AI also suggests that a number of products (such as yogurt) cause increased insulin production.
Benefits of Low GI Products
Scientific studies suggest that regular consumption of foods with a high glycemic index disrupts metabolism¹. Fast carbohydrates negatively affect insulin production, provoking a chronic feeling of hunger and activating fat deposition in problem areas. Regular and uncontrolled use of such products leads to the development of diabetes.
In contrast, low GI foods contain a lot of plant fiber — it not only normalizes insulin production², but also helps lower bad cholesterol³ and has a number of other health benefits.
// What are fiber foods useful for:
- Provides long saturation
- Normalize insulin production
- Lowers Bad Cholesterol
- Help intestinal mechanics
- Have the function of prebiotics
Glycemic Product Index
The glycemic index of a particular food product is a comparison of the rate of increase in blood glucose after consuming a portion of this product containing approximately 50 g of carbohydrates with 50 g of glucose purity. It is important to understand that GI does not take into account the “density” of carbohydrates in the product, nor the portion size, nor the combination with other nutrients - for example, the presence of lactose accelerates the absorption of sugar.
A high GI of the product means that when it is eaten and further digested, the blood sugar level will rise as quickly as possible. This, in turn, will lead to the production of insulin, through which the carbohydrates eaten will be processed by the body. First, they will go to the base metabolism needed (or will be stored in muscle glycogen), and in excess - in fat reserves.
// The glycemic index of products is divided into three categories:
- Low Glycemic Index - Less than 55
- The average glycemic index is 56–69
- High glycemic index - more than 70
Glycemic Index Summary Table
|High gi||Medium GI||Low gi|
|White bread||Brown bread||Sweet potato|
|Sweet pastries||Wheat flour||Undercooked pasta|
|White rice||Brown rice||Buckwheat|
|Sweet soda||Orange juice||Apple juice|
|A pineapple||Banana||Dried fruits|
// Full GI Tables:
Food glycemic index
With the same calorie content, slightly undercooked buckwheat porridge with a portion of chia seeds and olive oil dressing will have a low GI. Whereas boiled buckwheat in milk with sugar and butter is high. Also, the glycemic index is affected by the salt content, the presence of lactose in the composition and even the temperature during consumption (cold food is digested a little worse than hot).
What lowers GI:
- fiber, protein and fat
- lack of heat treatment
- increased acidity (e.g. grape vinegar)
What increases GI:
- carbohydrate content
- over cooking product
- salt addition
High Glycemic Index Products
Foods with a high glycemic index are foods that contain simple carbohydrates with an extremely high rate of absorption. They as quickly as possible give their calories to the blood in the form of glucose, literally overflowing the body with excess energy. In the event that this energy and glucose are not currently needed in the muscles, it is sent to fat stores.
Strictly speaking, it is not the products themselves with high GI that are harmful, but its excessive consumption at the wrong time is harmful. For example, immediately after physical training, fast-digesting carbohydrates will benefit the athlete's body, as their energy will provide a direct stimulus for muscle growth and recovery. Gainers with maltodextrin and isotonics work on this principle.
Pluses of high glycemic index foods:
- Quickly restore glycogen stores
- Easy to digest and assimilate.
- Sweet taste
Harmful of High GI Products
The combination of regular consumption of foods with high GI and a sedentary lifestyle is one of the key problems that cause many diseases. We are talking about both diabetes and an increase in bad cholesterol. At the same time, fructose is the most harmful type of fast carbohydrates - the body cannot use the excess of its calories otherwise than store it in fat.
|Carrots (boiled or stewed)||85|
|Mashed potatoes, boiled potatoes||85|
|Sports Isotonics (Powerade, Gatorade)||80|
|Muesli with nuts and raisins||80|
|Sweet pastries (waffles, donuts)||75|
|Rice porridge in milk||75|
|Chocolate bar (Mars, Snickers)||70|
|Sweet Carbonated Drinks (Pepsi, Coca-Cola)||70|
|Soft Wheat Noodles||70|
|Sugar (white or brown)||70|
Glycemic Index Products
Foods with an average glycemic index - starting from high-protein buckwheat, ending with granola with sugar - an example of the fact that it is impossible to divide food into healthy and bad, relying solely on such a parameter as the rate of absorption of carbohydrates. In the end, it is important both the time of consumption of this food (in the first half for or immediately before bedtime), and the total amount.
If regular and excessive consumption of carbohydrate products with an average GI adversely affects the overall level of sugar in the blood and disrupts metabolic processes in the body (including the mechanism of the production of the hormone hunger hormone leptin), then moderate consumption of such products (for example, oatmeal) can positively affect on the body.
|Orange juice (packaged)||65|
|Jams and Jams||65|
|Black yeast bread||65|
|Granola with sugar||65|
|Jacket boiled potatoes||65|
|Whole wheat bread||65|
|Pasta with cheese||65|
|Thin pizza with tomatoes and cheese||60|
|Long grain rice||60|
|Buckwheat (brown, roasted)||60|
|Grapes and grape juice||55|
Low Glycemic Index Foods
Low GI foods are primarily natural foods that contain a lot of plant fiber. In fact, products containing complex carbohydrates - most cereals (buckwheat, quinoa, bulgur), seeds, nuts, and also green vegetables have a low glycemic index. Fruits, although they have a low GI, still increase the level of insulin in the blood, which is dangerous for diabetics.
Eating foods with a low glycemic index is at the heart of most weight loss diets - from a regular carbohydrate-free diet to a professional keto-based diet for drying. The benefits of such food are explained primarily by the high fiber content, as well as the low level of industrial processing - most of the table is natural products.
|Sweet potato ( sweet potato , yams)||50|
|Green buckwheat (without preliminary roasting)||50|
|Cranberry juice (sugar free)||50|
|Brown brown rice||50|
|Apple juice (sugar free)||50|
|Fresh orange juice||45|
|Whole grain toast||45|
|Al dente cooked pasta||40|
|Carrot Juice (Sugar Free)||40|
|Wild (black) rice||35|
|Fat-Free Natural Yogurt||35|
|Fat-free cottage cheese||thirty|
|Yellow lentils, peas||thirty|
|Blueberries, lingonberries, blueberries||thirty|
|Dark chocolate (over 70% cocoa)||thirty|
|Milk (any fat content)||thirty|
|Green and Red Lentils||25|
|Peanut Butter (Sugar Free)||20|
|Hazelnuts, pine nuts, pistachios, walnuts||fifteen|
|Tofu (bean curd)||fifteen|
|Chia seeds , flaxseed||ten|
|Parsley, basil, vanillin, cinnamon, oregano||ten|
The glycemic index shows how fully the carbohydrates contained in a food are absorbed in the body and increase blood sugar. The scale consists of 100 units, where 0 is the minimum (products not containing carbohydrates), 100 is the maximum. Foods with a high glycemic index quickly give up their energy to the body, while foods low in fiber contain fiber and are absorbed slowly.
- Glycemic Index and Diabetes, source
- Glycemic Index, source
- The new glucose revolution: Is the authoritative guide to the glycemic index the right dietary solution for lifelong health ?, source
- Comparison of Low Glycaemic Index and High Glycaemic Index Potatoes in Relation to Satiety: A Single-Blinded, Randomized Crossover Study in Humans, source