Essentials Facts about the Glycemic Index

An article by the American Diabetes Association provides enlightenment about the glycemic index and how carbohydrates can raise our blood glucose levels. How much do you know about the Glycemic Index (GI)? Find out by taking this quiz:

  1. True of False: The GI measures how a carbohydrate-containing food raises blood glucose.
  2. True of False: Oatmeal has a higher GI than chocolate.
  3. True of False: Long-grain white rice has a lower GI than brown rice.
  4. True of False: The more ripe a fruit or vegetable is, the lower the GI.
  5. True of False: The GI is a better tool than carbohydrate counting.
  6. True of False: All meats and fats do not have a GI.

Here are the answers:
  1. True. Foods with carbohydrates are given a number based on how they compare to glucose or white bread. A high GI rating means it will raise blood glucose more than a food with a medium or low GI. For example, a plain white baguette has a GI of 95 when compared to glucose. A wheat tortilla has a much lower GI of 30. The average apple has a GI of 39 and most nuts have a GI of 13. The effects of consuming high GI food is made more moderate when also consuming low GI food. Visit this website post by Harvard University to find out what foods are low or high on the GI.
  2. True. Grains are generally not a great food choice for individuals with diabetes. Oatmeal is a good choice however, even though it has a higher GI than chocolate. This is because it is high in fiber, which normalizes the glycemic effect.
  3. True. It is important to take into consideration the variety of GI that exists within categories to understand what has a higher GI than other foods. For example, converted long-grain white rice has a lower GI than brown rice, but short-grain white rice has a higher GI than brown rice.
  4. False. As fruits or vegetables become ripe or are stored longer, their GI increases.
  5. False. Counting GI can be helpful for some individuals who need to take into consideration their glucose consumption However no single diet or meal plan will work universally for people with diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, “the important thing is to follow a meal plan that is tailored to personal preferences and lifestyle and helps achieve goals for blood glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides levels, blood pressure, and weight management.” Different kinds of carbohydrates have different affects on blood glucose, which is with the GI can be useful for knowing more precisely what your blood glucose levels will be and assist in achieving your goals.
  6. True. Unprocessed meats and fats do not contain carbohydrates, and therefore have no glucose. However, processed animal products such as hot dogs and lunch meats have some glucose because sugar and other carbohydrates have been added.
There are a few other facts that are key to understanding the GI. When glucose is released rapidly in food they are ranked high on the GI. The inverse results in a low rating on the GI. As carbohydrates are digested in the body, glucose is released into the bloodstream, the GI measures the amount of glucose released into the bloodstream over a 2-3 hour time period. A rapid release of glucose, or a sudden spike, into the blood stream causes a large release of insulin. This can cause glucose to be stored as fat rather then to be turned into energy for the body to use. Insulin released in large amounts also often causes a rapid drop in blood sugar, which makes us hungry. The American Diabetic Association sums it up nicely, “So you eat candy. Your blood sugar spikes. Insulin is released. Your blood sugar drops. You eat more candy. The sugar rollercoaster ride begins.” This is true for everyone, even if they if they do not have diabetes.

If you would like to maintain moderate blood sugar levels, Kay's Naturals snacks and cereals are a good option. All of our food has a low GI and is safe for individuals with diabetes. Shop online at kaysnaturals.com.


References:
Diabetic Diet, http://www.diabetes-guide.org/
Glycemic Index and Diabetes, www.diabetes.org
Glycemic index and glycemic load for 100+ foods, http://www.health.harvard.edu/

International table of glycemic index and glycemic load values, ajcn.nutrition.org

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