Do You Know What The Glycemic Index Is?

The glycemic index is used to measure the increase in blood sugar when eating: in this article we will explain what this meter is and what it is for.
Do you know what the glycemic index is?

You may have never heard of the glycemic index. However, this is a very important indicator, especially if you have diabetes. In fact, it allows you to control the level of sugar you ingest through the consumption of food.

If you want to learn more about this index, know what it is and how it works, do not miss the following article.

What is the glycemic index?

It is a parameter that serves to classify carbohydrates based on how they affect the level of glucose in the body. Abbreviated it is often called IG (from the English Glycemic index). This index has a scale that goes from 0 to 100, this being the threshold of maximum danger.

The glycemic index of a food is determined by three factors:

  • Cooking methods. The more cooked a food is, the higher its glycemic index. The lowest is found in the raw product and the highest in the roasted or shredded product after cooking.
  • Food shape. If you eat whole or fragmented grains, their glycemic index changes dramatically. The former are more difficult to digest, so their glucose release is slower than when they are fragmented (as in the case of rolled oats).
  • Amount of fiber. Depending on the amount of fiber present in the food, glucose will be absorbed in an inversely proportional manner. The higher the amount of fiber, the slower the blood sugar rise.

Assuming a quantity of food containing 50 g of carbohydrates, we will have a different increase in the index, depending on whether the glucose rises more or less rapidly:

  • Up to 40 : the glycemic index is considered very low.
  • 41 to 55: it is considered low.
  • 56 to 69: is considered moderate.
  • 70 and above : it is considered tall.

What is the glycemic index used for?

Knowing the glycemic index of food is important for proper nutrition. There are times when a quick release of glucose is preferable and at other times, on the contrary, it is better for it to be longer. In general, it can be said that the glycemic index is particularly useful for two groups of people: athletes and diabetics.

Glycemic index and athletes

In addition to food, athletes should also pay special attention to the glycemic index. Of course, they need to keep their bodies well prepared both in training and during any competition. For this reason it is advisable for them to eat right after training, in order to provide the body with what it needs for proper recovery.

Girl runs on boardwalk at the beach
  • Before training. It is recommended to eat foods with a low or medium glycemic index. In this way, the release of glucose will be slower and longer over time.
  • During the race. If it is a competition where you have to put in a lot of physical exertion over a long period of time, the carbohydrates consumed before may not be enough. Bring some energy bars or special food supplements for the competition. In this way you will have an extra boost, when you need it most.
  • After physical exertion. Many athletes underestimate this moment. On the contrary, it is necessary to finish the work started, taking care of an adequate recovery. Feed your body with high glycemic index hydrates and you will be able to recover all the nutrients lost during exercise.

Glycemic index and diabetes

People with diabetes should pay particular attention to the glycemic index of foods. If you suffer from this chronic disease, you will have the problem of an unreliable pancreas. Either it doesn’t secrete insulin or it does it insufficiently. That is why it is necessary to make up for this lack with injections or pills.

People with diabetes should avoid products that contain a high glycemic index (e.g. dried dates, white bread, cornflakes, honey, sugar, rice, and boiled potatoes) from their diet. Within minutes of taking it, a sudden rise in glucose will occur which can have serious consequences on the person’s health.

This does not mean that you will have to give up these foods forever. It will be enough to consume them in moderation: few quantities and with a very low frequency.

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