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Before you started your healthy weight-loss program with GreenLite Medicine, you may have been familiar with the glycemic index (GI) but not sure how to apply it in your everyday life.  Having a good understanding of the glycemic index is just another tool to have in your healthy lifestyle toolbox.  This week, we will start by covering the basics.

What is GI?

Simply put, the glycemic index is a ranking of carbohydrates on a scale from 0 to 100.  The foods are ranked by the extent at which they raise sugar levels after eating.  Foods on the lower end of the GI should be consumed more frequently than foods that are high on the scale.

How is GI Measured?

A carbohydrate’s baseline glycemic index is measured by giving a portion of the food to a sample of individuals.  These people are considered healthy and have fasted the night before consuming the food that is being tested.  After the food is consumed, the blood sugar level of each individual is measured every 15-30 minutes for two hours.  The blood samples are used to construct a blood sugar response curve for a two-hour period.  Based on the data collected and a unique equation, the tested food is given a GI rating.

High GI Foods: These are foods that scored 70 and above on the glycemic index.  High GI foods are rapidly digested and absorbed.  These foods cause a rapid spike in blood sugar.  Foods high on the glycemic index should be rarely consumed.  A diet loaded with high GI foods may be linked to type 2 diabetes and other diseases.  A few foods high on the glycemic index include mashed potatoes, instant rice, sugary cereals, and doughnuts.  These are off limits on a healthy weight-loss program.

Intermediate GI Foods: Intermediate GI foods range between 56 and 70 on the GI.  Foods that are considered intermediate include brown rice, linguine, popcorn, beets, and instant oatmeal.  For effective weight-loss, it is best to avoid these as well.

Low GI Foods: Foods with a low GI (55 or less) gradually raise blood sugar and are slowly digested.  These foods are connected to healthfulness and may ward off diabetes and heart disease, because these foods do not cause a spike in blood sugar.  Tomatoes, peppers, grapefruit, cucumber, broccoli, peanuts, and spinach are all foods that are low on the glycemic index.

Stay tuned for part 2 for more information on the glycemic index and how it relates to your healthy weight-loss plan.

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