In the "glycemic index diet," "GI diet," or the "low glycemic diet" carbohydrate foods are categorized based on how much a certain amount of each food raises your blood sugar levels.
Glycemic index of foods was basically developed to manage blood sugar in diabetic patients. However, presently glycemic index of foods is considered important by some in weight loss as well. It has become the basis of several popular diet plans, such as SouthBeach, The Zone, Sugar Busters, Glucose Revolution, and Ending the Food Fight.
The glycemic index (GI) measures the level of rise of blood sugar with a 50-gram portion of a food as compared to a control (that is, white bread or pure glucose). All carbohydrates are digested and converted in the body to glucose, which causes a temporary rise in blood glucose levels or the glycemic response. The glycemic response is modified by factors such as the quantity of food; the cooking method; degree of processing of food.
All foods based on the rise of blood sugar are assigned an index number from 1-100, and100 is the reference score for control or pure glucose. Foods with glycemic index more than 70 are rated as high, between 56-69 as moderate, and less than 55 are rated as low.
Glycemic index diets have become popular based on the belief that low-GI foods are absorbed more slowly, and hence lead to feeling full for longer. This decreases the likelihood of overeating and weight gain. When on diet you are encouraged to choose carbohydrate foods that have a low glycemic index. These foods are generally healthier, rich in vitamins, minerals and fibers and are less refined-- like whole fruits, vegetables, and beans. Foods with high glycemic index cause rapid rise of blood sugar and after eating these foods you feel hungry again sooner. Rapid rise in blood sugar is a concern for diabetic people as their bodies can not regulate blood sugar.
When you are on GI diet you should eat a nutritionally balanced and complete diet which includes a wide variety of foods (plenty of fruits and vegetables, and adequate lean protein). Suggestions on fats, protein, alcohol, weight maintenance and exercise are also given by the GI diets.
All carbohydrates with GI index ---like whole grains, whole fruits, vegetables and pulses ---- with lean protein and healthy fats can be eaten when you are on GI diets. Foods with high GI index are to be avoided like soda, sweetened beverages, foods made of white flour, heavily processed foods.
However you should not rely only on GI score of the food—like the GI score of some candy bars is 55, potato chips is 54, ---but these are definitely not healthy and diet foods. The GI score of certain healthy foods like corn, baked potatoes and fruit juices is high but these are definitely healthy and can be part of diet food.
Glycemic index diets are becoming increasing accepted as high GI foods are believed to raise blood sugar levels, insulin levels and consequently promote weight gain.
However all experts do not agree that foods with low GI score promote weight loss. There is a debate on the value of GI score of foods as the GI score is altered by many factors, ----such as cooking method, ripeness of food, processing, foods eaten along with it. Like ---a ripe banana has higher GI score than a less ripe banana, adding fats to food can lower the GI score, food cooked with fructose instead of sucrose or table sugar is absorbed more slowly. And we rarely eat carbs alone, fat and/or protein eaten along with carbs slows down the GI response time. Besides this GI response of a food has been noted to vary widely from person to per...
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