1-Jun 2009, by
Thanks to the low-carb craze and the rise in adult-onset diabetes, “glycemic index” is swiftly becoming a household phrase. The glycemic index of a food is the measurement of the effects of the carbohydrates in the food on blood glucose levels. But do you really know what it means?
Supposedly, foods that score high on the glycemic index should be avoided because they promote higher insulin levels. Increased insulin in the bloodstream, of course, makes your body stop burning fat as a fuel and store excess food-energy (calories) as fat. Common theory supposes that a low glycemic index makes a food good for you, and a high glycemic index makes a food unhealthy.
This causes many people to avoid eating fruits & many of the sweeter/starchier vegetables.
This is a mistake.
While it is true that increased insulin levels essentially make you fat and increase your risk of developing diabetes, the thing that promotes higher insulin levels is a high glycemic load, not a high glycemic index.
The glycemic load is calculated by multiplying the glycemic index of a food by the amount of carbs in a 10 gram portion of the food.
So, for example, take the following refined foods as an example:
- Shredded Wheat Cereal – Glycemic Index: 69 Glycemic Load: 57.0
- Bagel – Glycemic Index: 72 Glycemic Load: 38.4
- Cornflakes – Glycemic Index: 84 Glycemic Load: 72.7
Now, compare that to the following relatively high glycemic index vegetables and fruits:
- Beets, boiled – Glycemic Index: 64 Glycemic Load: 6.3
- Bananas – Glycemic Index: 53 Glycemic Load: 12.1
- Sweet Potatoes – Glycemic Index: 54 Glycemic Load: 13.1
- Carrots – Glycemic Index: 71 Glycemic Load: 7.2
As you can see, the glycemic load in these fruits and vegetables is considerably lower than the glycemic load of refined grains, even refined whole grains.
Truly, it’s not hard to see that the processed cereal grains are the real culprit when it comes to weight gain and blood sugar disorders.
Eat your fruits and vegetables! All of them! Any kind you like! And do it without guilt.
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