How to Build Muscle Fast: What is the Glycemic Index

What is the Glycemic Index

Its important A few years ago I changed my eating habits to include only low to med glycemic foods. Advocates’ of this eating plan propose this strategy will help people lose and control weight, improve diabetes control for those who are afflicted by it, reduce hunger and improve one's overall health.  This hub will educate you about the GI and how it has helped me control my weight and lower my body fat percentage.

What is the Glycemic Index?

GI is a numerical ranking system used to measure the rate of digestion and absorption of foods and their effect on your blood sugar levels. A food ranking high on the GI produces a large spike in blood sugar after it is has been eaten. On the other hand, a food with a low GI causes a slower continued rise in blood sugar without the spike. The reason why it is so important to control your blood sugar is because of its effect on our insulin levels.  Insulin is a hormone that regulates carbohydrate and fat metabolism in the body. Insulin causes cells in the liver, muscle, and fat tissue to take up blood sugar (glucose) from the blood, storing it as glycogen (energy to burn at a later time).  Insulin stops the use of fat as an energy source by stopping the release of glucagon. When insulin is absent, glucagon is produced and blood sugar (glucose) is not taken up by body cells and the body begins to use fat as an energy source.  For example, when your body stops producing insulin glucagon is then produced which means your body will go to your fat tissue for energy. Of course that is what we want to burn that fat off!!  
So now you know why if you eat foods high on the GI index such as cookies, cakes, ice cream, white bread it will spike your blood sugar levels and cause your body to produce more insulin to move the digested food that has been broken down into blood sugar out of your blood stream to your fat tissue. This energy is stored as fat and will stay there until you burn it off. If you are always spiking your blood sugar you will never burn the fat but you will be continuously be adding to the fat you already have!!! Also, I should mention that after you have spiked your blood sugar levels a couple of hours later you tend to have a crash similar to a sugar rush from highly sweetened candy or soda.  This will cause you to have hunger pains even though you just ate a couple of hours earlier. This will in turn start the whole cycle over again your body will be craving that sugar spike again!!  High GI foods digest quickly and cause this problem while low and medium GI foods do not break down as quick.  This keeps your blood sugar levels more stable without the spike in insulin.  Low and Medium GI foods are digested more slowly and keeps you full longer so you eat less!!

The concept of GI was first recognized in the early 80’s as a way to classify carbohydrate containing foods for improvement of blood sugar control for those afflicted by diabetes.  They had subjects consume 50 grams of food and monitored blood sugar response for 2 hours. This response was then compared to 50 grams of a chosen food, either glucose or white bread. The findings were used to establish a table ranking of 62 common foods based on glycemic response. GI scores are classified as either low (below 55), medium (56-69), or high (greater than 70).

In general, processed foods that contained enriched bleach flour, enriched bleached wheat flour and which contain refined sugars will have a higher GI.  So if your diet consists of cookies, ice cream, cakes, candy, breakfast cereals, white rice, any kind of bread for that matter unless it is whole grain or whole wheat tends to add pounds around your mid section!!!

Staying away from High GI foods has helped me maintain my weight at healthy levels and body fat percentage regularly below 9%.  This type of diet allows you to eat carbs unlike the Atkins and other low carb diets and allows you to live a little without restricting too much from your diet.  Besides I don’t believe in diets because they don’t last forever I believe in lifestyle changes that you can make and stay with for the long term. Fad diets are not long term and they restrict too much.
For effective weight loss, my advice is to stay away from high GI foods and eat about 125 carbs for every 100 pounds you want to weigh. I always try to consume about 20 grams of lean protein with every meal it slows down digestion of the carbs that way. That way you are keeping your blood sugar levels steady so your body will become a fat burning furnace instead of a fat storing one.
I have included a list of low GI foods
Food Type GI Food Type GI
Yogurt low-fat (sweetened) 14 Pears 38
Peanuts 15 Tomato soup, tinned 38
Artichoke 15 Haricot beans, boiled 38
Asparagus 15 Plums 39
Broccoli 15 Ravioli, meat filled 39
Cauliflower 15 Carrots, cooked 39
Celery 15 *Snickers bar 40
Cucumber 15 Apple juice 41
Eggplant 15 Wheat kernels 41
Green beans 15 Spaghetti, white 41
Lettuce, all varieties 15 Black-eyed beans 41
Low-fat yogurt, artificially sweetened 15 All-Bran 42
Peppers, all varieties 15 Peaches 42
Snow peas 15 Chickpeas, tinned 42
Spinach 15 Oranges 44
Young summer squash 15 Lentil soup, tinned 44
Tomatoes 15 Carrot juice 45
Zucchini 15 Macaroni 45
Soya beans, boiled 16 Pineapple juice 46
Cherries 22 Rice, instant 46
Peas, dried 22 Grapes 46
Milk, chocolate 24 Grapefruit juice 48
Pearl barley 25 Multi grain bread 48
Grapefruit 25 Rice, parboiled 48
Milk, whole 27 Baked beans, tinned 48
Spaghetti, protein enriched 27 Porridge, non-instant 49
Kidney beans, boiled 29 *Chocolate bar; 30g 49
Lentils green, boiled 29 Jams and marmalades 49
Soya milk 30 Whole grain 50
Apricots  (dried) 31 Barley, cracked 50
Milk, Fat-free 32 *Ice-cream (low- fat) 50
Milk ,skimmed 32 Yam 51
Fettuccine 32 Orange juice 52
*M&Ms (peanut) 32 Kidney beans, tinned 52
Chickpeas 33 Lentils green, tinned 52
Rye 34 Kiwi fruit 53
Milk, semi-skimmed 34 *Pound cake 54
Vermicelli 35 Bananas 54
Spaghetti, whole wheat 37 Sweet potato 54
Apples 38 *Crisps 54
Notes:  *high in empty calories **low-calorie and nutritious foods