Additional Diabetes Information:
The glycemic index (GI)
The glycemic index (GI) is used to evaluate or measure the effects of food on blood sugar levels. When you eat foods rich in carbohydrates is an increase and a subsequent decrease in the level of blood sugar (glucose), which is known as the glycemic response. Then classified the glycemic response of the body to the intake of various foods that contain carbohydrates can be compared with the response produced with respect to the effect of a standard food such as white bread or glucose. The This measure resulting from this comparison is called the glycemic index.
The score on a scale of 1 to 100 indicating increased levels of blood sugar after eating a serving of food containing 50 grams of carbohydrates. A serving of 50g of pure glucose is the standard currently used as a basis for comparisons. Foods that break down quickly during digestion, for example, rice, have the highest glycemic indexes. Cause a rise in blood sugar levels higher and faster than low GI foods. The latter, among which are the beans, break down more slowly, releasing glucose gradually into the bloodstream.
There are many factors that influence the degree and duration of the glycemic response. The reaction depends, for example, the type of sugar in food (if sucrose, table sugar, lactose, fructose, glucose or other sugar) and the nature and form of starch (some are more digestible than others). Other aspects that determine the response is the way of cooking, processing methods employed and quantity of other nutrients such as fats and proteins, which contains the food. Moreover, not all people have the same metabolism, the time of day you eat carbohydrates can also vary the glycemic response.
Surprises around the IG
The discovery of the glycemic index led to a series of surprises. Originally it was believed that foods with complex carbohydrates such as bread, rice and potatoes, are digested slowly, causing a gradual rise in blood sugar levels. However, it is now known that many starchy foods are digested and absorbed very quickly. These are foods with a high GI. By contrast, moderate amounts of many sweet foods (rich in sucrose), such as confectionery, do not produce large increases in the level of sugar in the blood, as had always been believed. In fact, foods that contain sucrose elicit a moderate to low glycemic, lower than producing food like rice.
Implications for health
The finding of the glycemic response may have implications with regard to various disorders such as diabetes, excess weight and obesity, and heart disease, since the results of some studies suggest that low GI foods help to control the feeling hunger, appetite and blood sugar levels in the blood.
One of the most important implications of the GI factor is related to diabetes. Increased consumption of low GI foods instead of high, leads to slower digestion of starches and sugars, and a more gradual absorption of sugar in the bloodstream. This is known to help regulate blood sugar levels, although there is no long term studies on the general health benefits. At other times it was forbidden to diabetics sugar consumption because it was thought that this increased blood sugar very quickly. Currently recommended moderate consumption because the sugar in a food has minimal impact on blood sugar levels or insulin concentration.
Generally, we recommend that people with insulin-dependent diabetes lose weight, and low GI foods may be useful as they provide a feeling of satiety. A diet composed mainly of foods rich in carbohydrates and low GI is usually also contain little fat, which helps control weight.
Apparently, a diet based primarily on low GI foods may also reduce the risk of other conditions such as heart disease and hypertension, although results are not conclusive in this regard. Insulin, a hormone needed to metabolize carbohydrates, has a considerable effect on the incidence of many diseases. It is believed that high insulin levels are one of the many factors that cause the development of heart disease and hypertension. A diet rich in low GI foods help to lower high insulin levels.
The GI factor also plays an important role in terms of performance in sport. For athletes, the consumption of high GI foods and moderately high immediately after exercise helps to replenish energy reserves faster than low GI foods. A study on the subject suggests that foods with low GI can prolong physical endurance, however, these results have been corroborated by other research.
Diet as a whole
The findings from studies on the IG indicate that a low fat diet consisting mainly of carbohydrate-rich foods, especially for foods with low or medium GI may be beneficial to health. However, the GI factor should not be used in isolation. Other considerations to be taken into account when choosing a healthy diet are the total amount of carbohydrate, the amount and type of fat, the amount and quality of protein, dietary fibers present and the contents of vitamins, mineral salts and a food.