What is Glycemic Index?

Read our featured article on how the GI impacts our body and metabolism!

What is Glycemic Index: What's the Big Deal?

By Marc David

The Glycemic Index ranks all foods depending on how they affect our body's levels of blood glucose. The measured value represents the amount of increase in blood glucose levels 2 to 3 hours after eating a given food.

Thus, the Glycemic Index shows how quickly a certain food will turn into blood glucose on a scale of 100. Pure glucose has a value of 100.

The Glycemic Index was originally created with diabetic people in mind because insulin spikes can be deadly to them. Therefore, a chart was developed to show the insulin effects of certain foods. Diabetics always avoid large spikes in insulin when they prepare meals.

what is glycemic index,

Prior to 1981, scientists thought that avoiding table sugar was the only goal because it quickly raises glucose levels.

Recent studies have shown that certain foods today actually have a higher blood glucose level than table sugar! Thus, there are many foods that can spike blood glucose levels, not only table sugar.

Hence, it's very clear that not all foods are created equal and they all have different insulin effects on your body.

What is Glycemic Index - Things to Consider

Let me give you an example. According to the Glycemic Index, a baked potato ranks higher than table sugar at 64!

That's not all...what is glycemic index

You can see it's G.I. value to a diabetic but using the Glycemic Index as your main tool for choosing food can create problems.

First of all, the Glycemix Index does indeed rank how a single food breaks down within your body and how quickly it's converted to blood glucose after you eat it. But, this has little relevance because no one eats 1 single food, we all eat complete meals with a mixture of foods.

If one eats sensibly he or she will have meals that include:

  • lean protein
  • starchy carbohydrates
  • fibrous carbohydrates

Thus, eating food in combination with each other will, in effect, change the Glycemix Index of the entire meal!

Secondly, when we consume protein with carbs, it lowers the blood glucose effects of that food. Thus, a baked potato's score of 85 on the Glycemic Index is much lower when it's eaten with protein.

Third, there are other flaws in the Glycemic Index:

  • Not enough data. Only about 5% of the foods are listed on the Glycemic Index and there's only a small number of researchers that do G.I. testing of foods.
  • The numbers that are listed on the Glycemix Index represent an average of measured values of groups of people. Thus, the charts have too much variation and don't represent accurate values.
  • Variations are too wide. For example, baked potatoes have been tested showing a Glycemic Index value of as low as 56 and as high as 111!
  • The G.I. values vary greatly depending on food preparation methods like microwaving, grinding, frying, baking, etc. There's even a difference in the G.I. when boiling pasta for 10 minutes or 15 minutes.
  • what is glycemic index
  • Food combinations affect the Glycemic Index of a listed food. This is an apparent problem because the Glycemic Index is based on single foods, but we often consume foods in combinations. Thus, figuring out the Glycemic Index of foods after they are mixed is very hard and will be less accurate.
  • Each person's individual response to a food may be different. Each person may have a different blood glucose response.

What is Glycemic Index - Conclusions

Overall, the Glycemic Index is useful for people with special dietary needs. However, it doesn't have much value to the bodybuilder.

If you base your food choices only on the Glycemic Index, it may lead to over consumption of certain high calorie foods. With limited research and varied testing results, your reactions to a given food may be very different than what the G.I. index may suggest.

Therefore, follow performance nutrition rules and eat complete meals. This way your fitness and bodybuilding goals will be served much better.what is glycemic index


what is glycemic index, About the Author

Marc David is an innovative fitness enthusiast and the creator of the NoBull Bodybuilding System.

He shows people how to reduce body fat through proper diet, how to gain weight or create more muscle through an abundance of workout tips that help you achieve results by training LESS, not more!

Once a skinny guy, today Marc is a 200 pound bodybuilder who teaches thousands of people to gain weight, build muscle and reduce body fat with a workout and nutrition system so simple that even a complete beginner can understand it!

Marc dispels many "bodybuilding myths", tells you what most people never realize about nutrition and what the drug companies DON'T WANT YOU to know.

Visit www.nobullbodybuilding.com for more info!


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what is glycemic index

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