Throughout the day our blood sugar rises and falls depending on what we are doing, our activity level and primarily, on the meals we eat throughout the day. Have you ever noticed when you eat a handful of sugary cereal, you are hungry soon after? This example provides a good look into the glycemic index.
Several years ago, Dr. David Jenkins from Toronto, Canada, came out with a study testing blood sugar levels after participants ate certain foods. He found that after participants ate these foods, their blood sugar levels rose differently depending on the food. For example, those who ate beans had less of a blood sugar spike than those who ate biscuits. From his study, the glycemic index was more defined. The glycemic index is a scale from 0-100, and ranks food that contains carbohydrates (so no fats or proteins). Carbohydrates are sugars, starches, and dietary fibers that are found in milk, grains, vegetables, and fruits. They are very important to healthy life, and are crucial for energy and proper body function! The glycemic index also classifies each food into three categories: low, moderate, and high.
- Foods with a glycemic index from 0-55 are considered “low”
- Between 56-69 is considered “moderate”
- More than 70 is considered “high”
But what do the numbers and rankings mean?
After eating certain foods, like a handful of sugary cereal, blood sugar will rise rapidly. The glycemic index then ranks how fast blood sugar rises. So, foods with a high index cause a rapid increase in blood glucose, while food with a low index cause a slow increase in blood glucose. It’s basically a measure of how fast food is converted to sugar, and then how fast it enters the bloodstream.
Let’s compare the cereal to an apple, shall we? Which do you think will cause your blood sugar to rise the most? If you guessed the cereal, you are correct! But why? Different carbohydrates have different impacts on blood sugar levels. The glycemic index is a measure of exactly how blood sugar will respond to different carbohydrates. Using the scale (0-100), the cereal might have a glycemic index of about 80, where the apple has a glycemic index around 40.
How should the glycemic index be used?
There are few things worse than being “hangry” (hungry+angry) during the day. A way to prevent becoming “hangry” is by choosing foods with a low glycemic index. Foods with a low glycemic index often contain protein and dietary fiber, which help you feel fuller for longer, and well as prevent the rapid increase in blood sugar, and the crash. Just like if you ate a large bowl of cereal for breakfast and by noon you are lethargic, tired, and… hangry.
Here is a handy list to differentiate between the high and low glycemic index foods:
Again, using this chart, consider the following information:
Low Glycemic Index is below 55
Medium Glycemic Index is 55-69
High Glycemic Index is above 70
Snacking might seem challenging when trying to keep glycemic index in mind. There are many products available that boast a low glycemic index, as well as offering many other nutrients to keep your body field throughout the day.
Click on the photos below to check out all of these products that
Savorfull has to offer that are low glycemic!
With many food options available to us to snack on throughout the day, it is important to consider the glycemic index, and how each food may be impacting our blood sugar levels. Choosing low glycemic foods can be beneficial for everyone and can prevent you from becoming “hangry”!