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What You Need to Know About the Glycemic Index

July 14th, 2016

Learn what the Glycemic Index is and how it can guide healthy eating choices.

Do you need help controlling your blood sugar? Are you working to maintain a healthy weight? Or perhaps you just want to make healthier food choices. The Glycemic Index is an excellent tool for achieving any or all of these objectives.

What is the Glycemic Index?

The Glycemic Index is a ranking system that shows how specific carbohydrate-containing foods affect your blood sugar.

When you eat carbs, your body breaks the sugars and starches down into glucose, a.k.a. blood sugar. At normal levels, glucose provides energy and fuel for all the cells in your body. But when glucose levels are too high, your risk increases for developing conditions like diabetes, obesity, stroke and heart disease.

Because various carbohydrates are broken down differently in the body, simply counting carbs won’t help you control your blood sugar. Hence the Glycemic Index.

On the Glycemic Index, foods are assigned different GI values depending upon how their impact on blood sugar compares to that of pure glucose:

  • Low GI: 1 to 55
  • Medium GI: 56 to 69
  • High GI: 70 and up

For example, raw carrots have a GI of 35, which means eating a serving of carrots will only raise your blood sugar 35% as much as the same quantity of pure glucose.

How to Use the Glycemic Index to Guide Your Food Choices

Using the Glycemic Index to make healthier food choices and improve blood sugar control is easy. Just remember that the higher the GI value, the more quickly your body will convert the food into glucose, and the greater the risk of blood sugar spikes. Choose low or medium GI value foods whenever possible.

Try these tips to ease your way into healthier habits:

  • Include at least one low-glycemic food in every meal.
  • Eat smaller portions of high-glycemic foods.
  • Replace high-glycemic foods with low or moderate ones.

One particularly easy swap is replacing foods made with white refined flour with whole-grain equivalents. For example, a regular English muffin has a GI of 77, but a whole wheat English muffin has a GI of just 45.

Remember that the way a food is prepared can affect its GI value. Grinding grains into flour, overcooking legumes, and other processes that damage cell structure in foods will raise their GI value by making more of the sugars and starches accessible to digestion.

Need Help with Nutrition?

While important, glycemic value isn’t the only factor to consider when eating a healthy diet. Also be sure to get the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients your body needs to stay fit and healthy. Ask us about our high-quality Renew Youth™ Nutritional Supplements, as well as prescription injectable nutrients. Please contact us at 800-859-7511 to learn more.

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