What Is the Glycemic Index?

The Glycemic Index (GI) is a valuable tool for managing your food choices. By becoming aware of how particular foods act on your body, you can start making more informed decisions on what to eat, what to stay away from and how to make your own meal plans.

What’s the Glycemic Index (or GI)?

is a measure of the effects of carbohydrates in food on blood sugar levels. It estimates how much each gram of available carbohydrate (total carbohydrate minus fiber) in a food raises a person’s blood glucose level following consumption of the food, relative to consumption of glucose.

Glucose has a glycemic index of 100, by definition, and other foods have a lower glycemic index.

The Glycemic Index can be raised dramatically when eating some carbohydrates.

How the Glycemic Index Can Help You Lose Fat?

By keeping blood glucose levels low, we can better manage our insulin response to food. Being that insulin is a powerful storage hormone, we want to keep it low and under control. If insulin levels are too high, fatty acids cannot be released and metabolized by the mitochondria. Eating foods with a low GI enable a steady supply of glucose, keep insulin levels under control, and facilitate fat loss.

A 5 week study evaluating the effects of a low GI diet versus a high GI diet showed the low GI diet group had a decrease in fat mass by approximately 2 pounds and an increase in lean body mass without any change in body weight. The participants changed their body composition and also decreased leptin levels, which should help them improve leptin resistance – keeping hunger and satiety better managed for weight loss.

In another study examining the effects of a low GI diet to a standard reduced-fat diet to treat childhood obesity, the low GI diet group experienced a better body mass index (BMI) improvement and a lower body weight when compared to the reduced-fat group. This study shows that carbohydrate selection and control of blood glucose have a greater influence on weight loss reducing fat intake. This is most likely due to the increased insulin sensitivity brought on by eating non-processed carbohydrate sources.

How to Lower the Glycemic Index of a Food?

Not every carbohydrate we eat is going to have as low of a GI as we want it to. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to lower the GI of your meal.

  • Add Fat – Adding fat to your meal slows down gastric emptying (the speed at which food leaves your stomach) and therefore slows the release of glucose into the bloodstream. This is one of the benefits of combining fats and carbohydrates in the same meal. But I’m not a big fan of this one…
  • Add Fiber – Fiber also slows down gastric emptying. Because of this, it gives you a much slower release of glucose. It also has the added benefit of adding bulk to your meal – helping to control hunger. This is a great way of lowering your GI!
  • Combine with a Lower GI Food – The glycemic index is somewhat of a math equation. It adds up all the food you eat and takes an average. Eating a lower GI food with a high GI food will help lower the GI of your meal (lower the high GI food).

How to Use the Glycemic Index to Formulate a Meal Plan

Now that you know what the glycemic index is and how it influences your fat loss, you can start to put together a meal plan that is conducive to weight loss. I call it a meal plan, but you can also think of it as a way of eating, because eating a diet that is full of low-glycemic foods is quite simple to do.

The simplest rule to follow is to eat non-processed carbohydrate sources. Carbohydrates like fruits, vegetables, legumes, tubers, and some grains are typically low on the GI scale. Beans tend to be the lowest because of their high fiber content. The majority of fruits and vegetables are fairly low GI, as well as some tubers such as sweet potatoes. For a complete list of foods and their glycemic index rating, you can go to GlycemicIndex.com.

Having a source of healthy fats here and there and low GI carbohydrate sources that are high in fiber will put your body into a good metabolic environment to lose fat.

If you liked this information, find out more at: www.TheEverGreenDiet.com

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