The glycemic index is a measure of how fast a person’s blood sugar rises after eating a particular food. This means that different foods have different effects on the body, which can be advantageous or detrimental to the body. Diabetics, in particular, should research foods and their glycemic indexes in order to have better control over their diabetes. Having knowledge on foods and their effects on your blood sugar can also prevent the onset of diabetes, not just keep diabetes under control.
Foods with carbohydrates that have a high glycemic index break down fast and easily in the digestive system and release glucose throughout the bloodstream in a rapid fashion. So what is the advantage of eating foods with a high GI? Immediate energy. Since these foods breakdown fast in the body and glucose is released to the bloodstream, your muscles are able to use this energy first before tapping into stored energy. This is useful before a workout to withstand higher intensities, and also useful immediately after a workout to bring your sugar levels up when they are depleted. Some examples of high glycemic foods are: white bread, potatoes, corn flakes, sugar, pretzels, bagels, and white rice.
Low glycemic foods take longer to break down in the body, therefore causing glucose to be released in a slower, steadier pace. Low GI foods are great for long lasting energy since they take longer to break down. These foods make sure to keep blood glucose levels at a consistent reading, making it safer for diabetics to consume. Beans, most sweet fruits, most vegetables, almonds, peanuts, and small seeds are some examples of low glycemic foods. These foods should be eaten throughout the day in proper portions.
High glycemic foods should be consumed when immediate energy is needed. Otherwise, stick with low glycemic foods. Recent studies have even shown that high GI diets are linked to obesity. People following a diet consisting of Low GI foods are at a significantly lower risk for developing type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, and age-related macular degeneration.
- Nick Cupp, CPT
Nick Cupp is a Certified Personal Trainer at iN8 Fitness (weight loss programs, personal training, rehabilitation) in Lake Mary, FL. He attended the University of Central Florida where he majored in Sports and Exercise Science. He is certified as a trainer through AFAA. Call our Lake Mary office today at 407-302-5161 to see how we can help you meet your weight loss and wellness goals!