Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Healthy Eating For Life…The Glycemic Index Way

You've probably run across it before, and if you're diabetic, it's almost guaranteed that you've at least heard of it. Glycemic Index is the much talked about health aspect today! And it is essential for us to understand it rightly and apply it in our day to day lives because of it being simply a wonderful way of eating, according to me. This is what makes me take you through a short stint on “Glycemic Index of Foods” leaving you to think and revisit your eating habits.

Why should people use the Glycemic index as a basis of their Food habits? This is a big question for many - whether as a magic formula for diabetics or for people who are overweight, and looking for a cure? Heart diseases? Simply put, why?

Well, for one, the glycemic index isn't just some random diabetic diet you can find online or in a book somewhere. It's actually a scientific system to deal with your blood sugar levels. Always keep in mind that spikes in the body sugar levels can be devastating for health!

Basically the glycemic index ranks carbohydrates on a scale of 0 to 100, and it's based on how they can raise your blood sugar levels after you eat. Foods with a higher GI level are digested faster, and therefore create a spike in your blood sugar levels. However, foods with a lower ranking are digested much slower. This allows the sugars to gradually be introduced in the body, and that means no spiking of the levels.

A food with a glycemic index of less than 55 is considered a Low Glycemic food while 56 to 69 is Moderate and over 70 is considered High. Most of the vegetables, dals and legumes, nuts, oilseeds, milk and products and some fruits are relatively low on GI.

Have you ever eaten a large Chinese meal, with lot of noodles and rice, only to find yourself hungry again an hour or two later. What most of us experience regularly is the feeling of lethargy that follows an hour or so after a fast food lunch, which generally consists of High GI foods (Carbohydrate dense processed foods). The surge of glucose followed by the rapid drain leaves us starved for energy which makes us once again crave and gulp caloric and fat dense snacks and meals.

When one eats a high GI food and experience a rapid spike in blood sugar, pancreas releases the hormone insulin. Insulin does two things extremely well. First it stores glucose as fat. On top of that it also inhibits the utilization of body fat. Since insulin does all nasty things to the body, it is crucial to maintain its low levels to prevent obesity and lifestyle related conditions like Diabetes, CVD etc.

The general rule of thumb is to replace as many processed and refined-grain carbohydrates like Maida based foods, Biscuits, Pastries etc with fibre rich foods. Unhealthy eating habits and over consumption of such foods could take you on the obesity trail that would leave you regretting later. So beware! The combination of low GI food with few calories, i.e. low in sugar and fat is the magic bullet for staying slim and fit.

High-G.I. foods cause blood sugar surges, which play havoc with insulin levels and appetite. Understanding the glycemic index is a vital first step in helping you control sugar surges and achieving steady and permanent weight loss. While a single, high-GI meal might not cause significant health problems for our body, frequent consumption of high GI foods and food preparations can result in perpetually high insulin levels.

Best of all, I present some Low GI Low calorie healthy recipes .These when incorporated in the family menu would offer freedom from hunger and craving and would assist you to manage weight and health effortlessly.










Mail Your comments and queries at