Glycemic Index: Balancing the Sweetness in Your Life (Part I)
Which raises blood sugar more, a potato or a fudge brownie? The answer: A plain old potato actually raises your blood sugar slightly more than a rich, gooey brownie, according to the American Diabetes Association. In fact, a white potato breaks down into sugar immediately upon entering your body. Glycemic index (GI) is a value assigned to a food depending on how much it raises blood sugar. A white potato actually has a higher glycemic index than a brownie. Don’t you wish you knew that yesterday? The awareness of glycemic index in foods is not a diet, but a balanced way of eating. It has nothing to do with a food’s nutrients. I have used it for years with my diabetic clients. And recently I have been applying the same principles to weight loss. When a person consumes food with a high glycemic index, the tail of the pancreas secretes a hormone, insulin, to lower the glucose in the bloodstream. Insulin also aggressively promotes the accumulation of body fat and, even worse, a raise in insulin also tells the body not to release any stored fat, so excess carbohydrates not only make you fat, but keep you fat. A healthy range for GI is 0-55 – then using with caution those foods with a GI of 55-75. Anything over 75 will cause excessive insulin output — keeping fat stored on the body. Let’s look at some examples. A white potato has a GI of 95, white bread is 95, corn flakes 70-85, bananas are 60, and refined pasta carries a glycemic index of 65. On the low end, milk yogurt is 35, dried apricots are 35, beans and peas run 30-40, soybeans 15, green vegetables 0-15, a sweet potato is 50, and pears are 45. These numbers come from the website www.glycemicindex.com, a book called Adrenal Fatigue by James L Wilson, ND, and The New Glucose Revolution Shoppers Guide to GI Values, a book listing the GI values of all the foods you enjoy.