One of the most helpful tools in managing carbohydrates in an individual’s diet is understanding the glycemic index (GI) of a food product. In short, the glycemic index is what determines the increase or decrease of blood sugar levels after consuming a food that contains carbohydrates. For instance, a high GI food raises blood glucose, or blood sugar, more than a low GI food. According to the American Diabetes Association, low GI foods (55 or less) include, sweet potatoes, peas, and carrots; high GI foods (70 or more) include, white bread, pretzels, popcorn, and pineapple.
If you find yourself at your local grocery store and are unsure of the GI of that food product you just placed in your cart, keep this general rule in mind. Although, not always necessarily true, the more cooked or processed a food is, the more likely that product has a higher GI. There are a select few factors to keep in mind when considering the GI of a food, including:
- Ripeness and storage time
- Cooking method
As we are now aware of what the GI of a food outlines, it is important to remember that the GI of a food does not state the amount of carbohydrate(s) in that food. In other words, portion sizes are still of equal importance in managing blood glucose, as well as weight maintenance/loss. Too much surprise, several nutrient dense foods have a much higher GI than those foods with little nutrition. For instance, oatmeal has a greater GI than chocolate. If you choose to consume a high GI food, pairing it with a low GI food with help balance out the effects on an individual’s blood sugar levels. For more information about how to shred body fat by controlling your GI and insulin levels, you can always check out our blog post that breaks down exactly how.
Written by Kara Orlowski, B.S. in Health Promotion with a specialization in Health & Fitness