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Glycemic Index (GI) and Glycemic Load (GL) Overview

The glycemic index (GI) is a rating system for foods containing carbohydrates. It shows how quickly each food affects blood sugar (glucose) levels. The speed by which foods raise blood sugar levels is projected from 0 to100. The smaller the number, the less impact the food has on your blood sugar. 55 or less = Low (good); 56 - 69 = Medium; 70 or higher = High (bad). Food and drink provide energy and fuel to the body through carbohydrates. Foods high in refined carbs and sugar are digested more quickly and often have a high GI, while foods high in protein, fat, or fiber typically have a low GI. Foods that contain no carbs are not assigned a GI and include meat, fish, poultry, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices, and oils. When low-glycemic food is consumed, blood sugar spikes after about 60 minutes and at a much lower spike than with high-glycemic food, this slower drop releases lower levels of insulin and helps to control food cravings, suppresses hunger and improves general mood.

A low glycemic diet presents substantial health benefits. Several factors influence the glycemic index of a food, including its nutrient composition, cooking method, ripeness, and the amount of processing it has undergone. Many studies confirm improvements in blood sugar balance. A low GI diet may reduce blood sugar levels and improve blood sugar management in people with type 2 diabetes. Research also indicates that a low

GI diet promotes weight loss and lowers cholesterol levels of both total and LDL (bad) cholesterol.


GLYCEMIC LOAD (GL) EXPLANATION

Glycemic load is a measure that considers the number of carbohydrates in a portion of food and how quickly it raises blood glucose levels. Glycemic load is based on the glycemic index (GI). It is calculated by multiplying the grams of available carbohydrates in the food by the food's glycemic index and then dividing by 100. One unit of glycemic load approximates the effect of eating one gram of glucose. A food with a higher GL is expected

to raise the glucose and insulin response per serving size to a greater extent than a food with a lower GL. A glycemic load value of 10 or less is considered low, 11–19 is considered medium, and 20 or more is considered high. The GL is categorized as follows.

High: a GL of >20 points. Medium: a GL of 11 to 19 points. Low: a GL of <10 points.

The higher the food's GL, the greater the expected elevation in blood glucose after consumption. A diet with a low GL benefits health and well-being.


LOW GLYCEMIC DIET HEALTH BENEFITS

The Glycemic Index (GI) ranks food carbs to their effect on blood glucose levels. Carbs with a low GI value (55 or less) absorb and metabolise slower, causing a more gradual rise in blood glucose; this can bring considerable health benefits.


WEIGHT LOSS

Many studies have shown that people who eat a low-GI diet are twice as likely to lose five percent of their body weight and keep it off compared to people who eat a general high-carb, low-fat diet.

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BETTER BLOOD SUGAR AND INSULIN CONTROL

Higher-glycemic foods raise blood sugar levels faster and require more insulin.


DISEASE PREVENTION

Studies on the effects of the glycemic index on disease prevention indicate a low-glycemic diet can reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, gallbladder disease, and breast cancer.


INCREASED ENERGY

Low-glycemic index foods can improve energy levels and increase daily alertness and focus. Low Glycemic foods are digested slowly, releasing a measured and gradual energy to the body while delaying food cravings.


HAPPIER MOOD:

The chemical serotonin determines an individual's attitude and mood. Serotonin levels in the bloodstream and the brain are determined by the foods eaten, especially the foods that contain carbohydrates. High serotonin levels boost one's mood, decrease food cravings, and promote restful sleep.


VARIATIONS IN GI VALUES

GI values can vary considerably for different reasons. Riper fruit contains more sugars and will raise GI levels. Cooking methods also play a role. Longer cooking times or overcooking impacts the cellular structure of food and promotes faster digestion and raising GI levels. Food processing also breaks down food's natural form, removing protective fiber layers. Soils, growing methods and storage can have an impact. In addition, GI levels vary from individual to individual according to their specific metabolism. Because of these numerous factors, GI numbers should be taken as indicative rather than absolute.





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