Glycemic Index

What Is Glycemic Index?

The glycemic index (GI) was developed to assist people to keep track of their carbohydrate intake in order to help regulate blood sugar levels. The glycemic index is determined by several factors. These include how fast a carbohydrate breaks down in the system, its chemical makeup, and its absorption rate by the body. These factors are taken into consideration when calculating the glycemic index rating of foods. This is so you can learn what foods will raise your blood sugar levels the fastest and what foods will keep your blood sugar levels constant.

Your diet can have a big impact on your overall health, not just your chances of developing diabetes. The glycemic index also measures your carbohydrate consumption compared to the total amount of carbohydrates you eat each day. The glycemic index determines how fast a carbohydrate breaks down in the system, and thus gives an overall rating to foods. The higher the rating, the faster the carbohydrate breaks down in the system.

Foods that have a high glycemic index and take longer to break down in the system are likely to raise your blood sugar levels more rapidly than less refined carbohydrates do. For this reason, foods that are processed (white bread, pastries, etc.) should be avoided if you want to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.


A good way to keep track of your carbohydrate intake is to use a form of the glycemic index. You can find it easily online or at any health food store. You fill out a simple form about your personal lifestyle information, age, weight, and other factors to calculate the recommended daily allowance of carbohydrates. If you are someone who is watching your weight, you can also enter your exercise goals and whether you prefer low-fat or high-fiber foods.

Factors Affecting


The types of carbohydrates included in your diet depend on several factors. Age, for example, will influence the glycemic index for most foods. When you are young, your body burns up mostly glucose from high-glycemic carbohydrates like bread and potatoes, so these are probably the foods you should cut back on. As you age, your body burns down mainly glucose from lower-glycemic carbohydrates like whole-grain bread and cereals. In addition, your diet may affect the glycemic index for whole grains, which contain both starches and fiber. If you eat plenty of fiber but your carbohydrates are mainly from bread and potatoes, your diet may be unhealthy because it contributes to fat storage.

Meal Frequency

There is another factor that influences the glycemic index and that is meal frequency. A slow-moving, unprocessed meal that is light on carbohydrates may have a lower blood sugar level than a similarly sized serving of pasta, or a similar carbohydrate with a higher glycemic index. Some studies show that eating five small meals a day helps keep blood sugar levels constant throughout the day. Eating larger meals less often may result in a rise in blood sugar levels over the course of the day. So, if you’re in a roller-coaster mood and need a pick me up, try a small healthy snack instead of a large, complex meal.

What do all those foods in that list – potatoes, bread, and cereals – have in common? They are all good sources of potassium, which helps regulate blood sugar levels. Potatoes have a lot of potassium, and they contain a relatively low glycemic index. Cereals are also good sources of potassium, as are potatoes and fruits. If you combine all these foods in a healthy diet, you should have a stable blood sugar level but a low to moderate glycemic index. But this doesn’t mean you should eat anything at random, as you may be confusing your diet with your everyday routine.

Body Weight or Body Fat

The glycemic index doesn’t mention body weight or body fat, so don’t think that a big, burpy potato will cause you to gain weight. However, some people do appear to be heavier or fatter than others when they are following a GI diet, especially if they are severely restricting their carbohydrate intake. If your goal is to lose weight, you probably want to cut your fat consumption. This is where a good reference food is needed. The best foods for keeping your blood glucose levels constant are vegetables and fruits.

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