A scale defines the Glycemic index of a common food item on a scale of 0 to 100. Some food items can boost blood sugar in our body to a very high level compared to pure glucose. For example, wheat bread can increase blood sugar by 75% compared to glucose. Low-GI foods will not cause blood sugar to spike compared to high-GI foods. Still, some fruits and food items are considered good when consumed in moderation. GI testing and GI values are significant when the food items contain enough digestible carbohydrates. ISO considers GI values necessary when food contains 10 g or more glycemic carbohydrates in each serving.
Another way to look at the glycemic index is that some food items will be digested quickly by our body, and sugar gets added to the blood, raising its sugar level. Foods with a high GI are metabolized quickly and cause a rapid rise in blood sugar, whereas foods with a low GI are digested more slowly and cause a more gradual rise in blood sugar.
The glycemic index is measured in three ranges:
- A low GI of 55 or less: Food items included in this category are fruits and vegetables, beans, grains, nuts, and low-fat dairy products.
- The moderate GI ranges from 56 to 69. Food items included in this category are corn, couscous, rice, and white and sweet potatoes.
- The high GI of 70 or higher Food items included in this category are white bread, rice, most crackers, and packaged cereals.
A rise in blood sugar will also depend on how much carbohydrate one eats per serving, which is defined as a glycemic load. Some nutritionists believe that Glycemic Load (GI) is more critical than the glycemic index. However, the American Diabetes Association indicates that the total amount of carbohydrate intake is essential, not its glycemic index or load.
As a thumb rule, processed food has a higher GI, and low-glycemic-index food items are likely to be more beneficial for people with diabetes. However, more importantly, staying healthy and maintaining a healthy weight are critical to sustaining the required blood sugar.
For reference purposes, the glycemic index of some everyday food items is given below:
- 100: Glucose
- 80-100: Cornflakes, boiled or mashed potatoes, rice milk, rice crackers, instant oat porridge
- 70-75: Common White or Whole Wheat Bread, most rice
- 50–70: Sweet corn, spaghetti, grain bread, couscous, boiled sweet potato, vegetable soup
- Low GI foods are found in the following food items: Chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, soy beans, soy milk, a raw apple, and a raw orange.
The concept of the Glycemic Index is particularly important for diabetics and those seeking to control their blood sugar levels. A diet consisting of a variety of foods with high, medium, and low GI can help create a more balanced effect on blood sugar levels throughout the day.
Balanced Glycemic Index
When someone uses the term “Balanced Glycemic Index,” they may be referring to a diet that consists of a variety of foods with varying glycemic indices in order to provide a more gradual and stable rise in blood sugar levels. This could be advantageous for individuals attempting to manage their blood sugar levels, particularly diabetics and those wishing to prevent significant fluctuations in energy levels throughout the day.
The objective of a balanced glycemic index diet is to ingest a variety of foods with high, medium, and low GI values, so that the overall effect on blood sugar is more stable. This may involve consuming an assortment of whole cereals, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
It is crucial to remember that the GI is only one factor to consider when making dietary decisions. The Glycemic Load (GL) is an additional important concept that considers the quantity of carbohydrates consumed in a single serving of a specific food. Additionally, individual responses to food can vary, so it is advisable to seek personalized dietary advice from a healthcare professional or nutritionist.
It is essential to keep in mind that dietary recommendations are constantly changing, and new terms and concepts may have emerged since my last update. If “Balanced Glycemic Index” has become a more established term or concept in recent years, the most up-to-date and accurate information should be obtained from the most recent research and the advice of qualified healthcare professionals and nutritionists.
To learn more on what is the role of Glycemic Index in controlling diabetes, read our Article.
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