What is the Glycemic index?

When we eat carbohydrates, whether simple (white sugar) or complex (starchy), the amount of sugar we have in the blood is impacted. Diabetics are very familiar with the glycemic index which measures the impact of foods on blood sugar levels: a variation naturally causes hypo and hyperglycemias, which are to be avoided by diabetics, and whose signs can also sometimes be detected in healthy people.

What impact do food products have on the glycemic index?

The glycemic index of a food not only depends on the composition and type of carbohydrates, but also its quantity and type of protein, fat and fibre. Simple carbohydrates increase the glycemic index, while complex carbohydrates and these other components in the food diminish it.

Thus, a product rich in simple carbohydrates will be quickly assimilated and will increase the amount of sugar in your blood (hyperglycaemia), which will then decrease quickly (hypoglycaemia) as your your body tries to regulate the amount of sugar by diffusing too much insulin. Hyperglycaemia is a rise in energy, while the hypoglycaemia, that follows, is expressed by a feeling of fatigue and hunger. Your body requires food to rebalance your blood sugar. The reference food is sucrose with a GI (glycemic index) of 100.

Does the method in which a food is manufactured have an impact?

Yes, a highly processed product will have a higher glycemic index.

What are the risks of eating GI foods which are too high?

In everyday life, you will feel much more tired by raising and lowering your blood sugar levels constantly. In the long run, your liver may get tired of producing too much insulin which can lead to type II diabetes, hypertension or becoming overweight.

So what should we do?

It is advisable not to abuse products with a high glycemic index. These products will cause your blood sugar levels to rise, which will then cause tiredness and then make you hungry just a few hours after their ingestion. Not to mention that in the long run, the impact is also highly significant, as we have just seen.

To avoid snacking every hour, choose products that don’t containing too much sugar and instead, prioritise foods rich in proteins, fats and fibres, and if possible, not over-processed. In the morning, avoid sugary cereals that will make you hungry an hour later. For a classic breakfast, opt for wholemeal bread with butter and jam, for example.

In a balanced diet, the glycemic index is generally stable. If you think you have an inadequate diet, we can help you rebalance it, and we also have adapted programs for people who are already diabetic, as well as  programs for those who are just looking to stay healthy!

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