Why is the glycemic index important to health?

Why do people care about the glycemic index?

What is the glycemic index and why it is important

When making wise food choices, in addition to considering calories and carbohydrates, fast foods and fats, etc. There is one more item you should pay attention to: Glycemic index (GI). GI was originally designed for diabetics, but it is actually useful for all of us. GI is a measure of the amount of a food-which may increase blood sugar. When eating, our body converts the digestible carbohydrates in the food into glucose. Glucose provides energy for your cells and tells your pancreas to produce insulin, which helps your cells absorb glucose. Depending on the food, you will digest and convert its carbohydrates at different rates. The lower the GI of a particular food, the slower your digestion rate, gradually increasing your blood sugar and insulin.

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Why a high glycemic index is not good for health

The higher the GI, the faster the blood sugar rises. This is not good because eating fast-rising foods triggers the rapid release of insulin. This can cause your blood sugar to drop rapidly, which can lead to hunger, lethargy and the desire to eat again. Studies have shown that if this condition persists for several years, your blood sugar after meals will be higher and your insulin secretion will be excessive. This can lead to obesity, irreversible type 2 diabetes, heart disease and gallbladder disease.

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How is the glycemic index measured and what is its level?

The GI level of food is 0-100, the following are some foods and relative GI:

Low GI-below 55 (100% stone ground whole wheat, sweet potatoes, peas, other non-starchy vegetables and most fruits)
Medium GI – 56-99 (whole wheat and rye bread, instant oats and brown rice)
High GI – 70 or higher (white bread, corn flakes, russet potatoes, melon and pineapple)
Generally, the more cooked or processed food, or the more mature, the higher its GI.

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Gluten free diet and paleo diet and glycemic index

Paleo diet consists mainly of fruits, vegetables and meat-GI tends to be low. If eaten in as unprocessed form as possible (whole-wheat cooked barley, whole-wheat bread), foods containing gluten ( Wheat, rye and barley) have a lower GI. Gluten-free foods made from rice or potato flour have a higher GI than wheat products. If you don't eat gluten, choose whole grains, such as oatmeal and quinoa, which have a relatively low GI. However, just because a food has a low GI does not mean it is healthier. Some low-GI foods, such as ice cream and chocolate cake with frosting, are high in sugar and/or bad fat.

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What are the limitations of the glycemic index

As a healthy diet, relying only on the glycemic index, you can:

Combining food: You can start with roasted potatoes with a high GI, but add margarine on top and lower the GI. Mixing foods together will change the way you digest foods, thereby changing their glycemic index overall.
Serving size: GI is based on 50 grams. For some foods, this time is a lot. In this unit of measurement, watermelon and doughnut have the same GI. But when you sit down and eat them, they are not. A cup of watermelon contains 7 grams of carbohydrates (GI is 72), while a piece of chocolate cake with frosting is 52 (GI is 38).
Types and total carbohydrates: Glycemic index only represents a single food, not the total amount of a meal.

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What is glycemic load and why it is important

Like GI, Glycemic load (GL) affects glucose and insulin, but GL considers not only the GI of a single food, but also the common portion size of its food. The so-called diet GL refers to the total amount of GL consumed by a meal.

Low diet GL – 10 or less
Medium diet GL – 11-19
High dietary GL – 20 or higher
For example, the watermelon mentioned above has a GL of 7, while the chocolate cake with icing has a GL of 12.5. Obviously, watermelon is healthier, but these numbers are not the same for everyone-we are all unique. A recent Israeli study published in the scientific journal Cell measured the blood sugar levels of 800 people in the same week after eating. the study. It found that everyone's dietary metabolism is different. This is because their age, BMI (Body Index) and other factors have different effects on their blood sugar levels. This research shows that people need to develop a personalized diet plan.

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Conclusions on glycemic index and glycemic load diet

Compared to the GI and GL food lists, the best is actually a balanced diet, including fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, fish, a small amount of red meat and poultry, and good fats. Eat less foods containing simple carbohydrates, but don't miss foods rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber. Pay attention to your serving size. Choose foods with low GI and GL. Eat a healthy and appropriate amount, so you can't go wrong in the general direction.

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