Table of Contents
At its inception, the glycemic index was a tool designed to help those people diagnosed with diabetes make healthier choices regarding the foods they eat and how those foods relate to blood sugar levels. Because the glycemic index is meant to control blood sugar for diabetics, many people believe it can also be a useful tool in weight loss and dieting.
However, the glycemic index is not so cut and dry, and there are many factors that can alter the results. Many people do not understand all of the factors involved with using the glycemic index and they end up abusing the system. If you are considering using the glycemic index in a diet regimen, take steps to educate yourself on its properties and usage.
What Is The Glycemic Index?
The glycemic index is a tool that ranks foods according to how much they raise an individual’s blood sugar levels after being eaten. Each food is ranked from low to high according to how high that particular food elevates the blood sugar levels. The glycemic index more specifically targets carbohydrates as they relate to the rise of blood sugar. All carbohydrates will raise your blood sugar, however, the type of food you choose will either do this quickly or slowly over time.
How Is Glycemic Index Calculated?
The glycemic index rankings are numerical from 1 to 100. A food that scores 100 is an indication that it is made up of mainly sugar or pure glucose. Foods with a 70 or higher are considered high. Foods ranging between 56 and 69 are moderate and foods that score below 55 are considered low. Foods that are considered low on the glycemic index will take longer to raise blood sugar, whereas foods with a high index will do so more quickly, causing a spike in blood sugar levels.
How Can Glycemic Index Be Helpful?
The glycemic index can be especially helpful to diabetics because maintaining a diet that consists mainly of foods that are of a low glycemic index will help to control blood sugar spikes and help manage diabetes. Additionally, the glycemic index can be helpful to individuals who are trying to achieve weight loss. Sticking with foods that are of a low glycemic index will help the dieter to remain fuller for longer because those foods take a longer time to be absorbed by the body. Many of the foods of a low glycemic index are healthier, less processed and contain higher amounts of fiber, which promotes weight loss and helps to control blood sugar.
How Does Glycemic Index Promote Weight Loss?
Utilizing the glycemic index and choosing foods that have a low glycemic score promotes weight loss because those low scoring foods tend to be healthier and help the dieter to feel fuller for longer. However, the glycemic index should be utilized in conjunction with a healthy diet that is high in protein. A study performed in 2010 and published in the New England Journal of Medicine states that overweight adults in 8 countries were able to maintain a healthy weight with the use of the glycemic index and a high protein diet. Contrary to this study, in 2010 the Dietary Guidelines for Americans says that there is no evidence that the glycemic index leads to greater weight loss or maintenance.
Who Can Benefit From Using the Glycemic Index?
Many people can benefit from using the glycemic index provided that they are using it properly. Many diabetics use the index to prevent spikes in blood sugar. Additionally, many people find the glycemic index helpful in promoting weight loss and managing a healthy weight. The glycemic index may also be helpful in warding off certain diseases, like heart disease, diabetes and some cancers according to a report done in 2008 by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.