Sunday, March 16, 2008

Glycemic Index - Azara Feroz Sayed

Watching Glycemic Index(GI) in my food has helped me tremendously in managing my health. I have PCOD (sensitive to insulin) and inspite of that I don't have any complains. This is by just watching the GI in my food. I plan to exercise in the summer :)

With the increase in the heart conditions, diabetes, hormone imbalance for women(vicious cycle of weight gain and hormone imbalance) watching the GI in our food would be a good help. Offcourse, exercise remains the best form for perfect control, watching GI in our food, is the easiest way to reduce some of the risks associated with increased blood glucose levels.

Glycemic Index is a scale that ranks carbohydrates by how much they raise blood glucose levels compared to a reference food (Glucose considered as 100 GI).

Low (0 – 55), Moderate (56 – 69), High (70 or more).

While measuring GI subjects are given food portions with same amount of carbohydrates and the Area Under the Curve (AUC) is measured.

Lentils have GI of 30. The blood sugar levels rise lesser and drop slowly for Lentils. Notice the sharp shoot and drop down for Glucose. Low GI foods (GI 55 or less) lead to slower rise in blood glucose levels.
Spaghetti has GI of 41 - referred to as trickler as it does increases the digestion process

White Bread has GI of 70 - referred as Gusher as it accelerated the digestion process and hence shoots Blood Glucose Levels

Low GI Diet slows down digestion and maintains Glucose Level for long hours (3hrs). The Glucose level falls down in case of High GI diet in an hour and goes to negative, making us crave for more carbohydrates. High GI diet accelerates digestion

Benefits of Low GI Diet include
* Lower Blood Gluscose levels
* Higher HDL (good) cholesterol which removes the plaque in arteries
* Slows down digestion and the increased feeling of fullness after meals helps to reduce weight
* Sustained energy for longer duration due to the slow down in digestion
* Lower triglyceride (blood fat) levels
* Low GI Carbohydrates allow for larger portions, while regulating the Glucose Level while High GI Carbohydrates require smaller portions to regulate the Glucose Level.

Factors Influencing GI Ranking
* Starch Type - Food items containing Amylose (a type of starch) have lower GI. This starch absorbs less water. The molecules form tight clumps and has Slower rate of digestion. e.g. Kidney beans (28), Uncle Ben’s converted LG rice (50). Food items containing Amylopectin ( atype of starch) have higher GI. This starch absorbs more water. The molecules are more open and has a faster rate of digestion e.g. Russet potato (85), Glutinous rice (98)
* Physical Entrapment - Bran, the outer skin of the grain, acts as a physical barrier that slows down enzymatic activity on the internal starch layer. Bran based food products have low GI e.g. All Bran (38), Pumpernickel bread (50) compared to Bagel (72), Corn Flakes (92).
* Viscosity of Fiber - The Viscous, soluble fibers in food transform the intestinal contents into gel-like matter that slows down enzymatic activity on starch. Food items like Apple (40), Rolled oats (51) due to the fibre viscosity have low GI compared to Whole wheat bread (73), Cheerios (74)
* Sugar Content - Sugar is converted to an overall less GI so Frosted (sugar) Flakes (55) and Raisin (sugar) Bran (61) have lesser GI than Golden Grahams (71) and Rice Krispies (82)
sugar converted to -> sucrose(GI60) converted to -> glucose(GI100) + fructose(GI90)
starch converted to -> maltose(GI105) converted to -> glucose(GI100) + glucose(GI100)
* Fat & Protein Content - Fat and protein slow down gastric emptying, and thus, slows down digestion of starch so Peanut M&M’s (33), Potato chips (54), Special K (69) have lesser GI than Jelly beans (78), Baked potato (85), Corn Flakes (92)
* Acid Content - Acid slows down gastric emptying, and thus, slows down the digestion of starch. Yoghurt helps to reduce Gastric Content. Sourdough wheat bread (54) has lower GI than Wonder white bread (73)
* Food Processing - Highly processed foods require less digestive processing and hence these foods have higher GI e.g. Quick, 1-minute oats (66) compared to Old fashioned, rolled oats (51)
* Cooking - Cooking swells starch molecules and softens foods, which speeds up the rate of digestion. Al dente (boiled 10 to 15 minutes) spaghetti (44) has lower GI compared to Over-cooked (boiled 20 minutes) spaghetti (64)

A Low GI diet change would include
* High-fiber breakfast cereals (oats, bran, barley).
* Adding berries, nuts, flaxseed and cinnamon to High GI cereals to normalize the GI
* Choosing dense, whole grain and sourdough breads & crackers instead of white bread
* Adding various Beans, Lentils etc (heart-healthy proteins) to meal of high GI breads and crackers to reduce the meals GI Level
* Including Youghurt in your meal to reduce the GI Level
* Include 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables every day to reduce the overall meal GI Level
* Substitute nuts for snacks instead of Pretzels etc as snacks. Watch the serving size though!!
* Replace white potatoes with yams or sweet potatoes.
* Try canned new potatoes, or just eat smaller portion of high GI potatoes.

We need not focus exclusively on achieving a low Glycemic Load diet with all low GI food choices as this may result to high fat, low carbohydrate, low fiber and
calorically dense diet. We need to aim for a well-balanced diet that includes low glycemic index carbohydrates and to use glycemic load as a guide for controlling portions.

Low GI Food - Watch out for * in the list
GI < 15 - Artichoke, Asparagus, Avocado, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Celery, Cucumber, Eggplant, Green beans, Lettuce all varieties, Low-fat yogurt artificially sweetened, *Peanuts, Peppers, all varieties, Snow peas, Spinach, Young summer squash, Zucchini, Tomatoes

GI < 30 - Cherries(22), Peas dried(22), Plum(24), Grapefruit(25), Pearled barley (25), Peach (28), Canned peaches natural juice (30), Dried apricots (31)

GI < 40 - Soy milk (30), Frozen Baby lima beans (32), Fat-free milk (32), Fettuccine (32), *M&M's Chocolate Peanut Candies (32), Low-fat yogurt sugar sweetened (33), Apple (36), Pear (36), Whole wheat spaghetti (37), Tomato soup (38), Cooked Carrots (39)

GI <= 50 - *Mars Snickers Bar (40), Apple juice (41), Spaghetti (41), All-Bran Cereal(42), Canned chickpeas (42), Custard (43), Grapes (43), Orange (43), Canned lentil soup (44), Canned pinto beans (45), Macaroni (45), Pineapple juice (46), Banana bread (47), Long-grain rice (47), Parboiled rice (47), Bulgur (48), Canned baked beans (48), Grapefruit juice (48), Green peas (48), Oat bran bread (48), *Chocolate bar, 1.5 oz (49), Old-fashioned oatmeal (49), Cheese tortellini (50), *Low-fat ice cream (50)

High GI Food - These could be eaten with a Low GI item to balance the meal Glucose Load. These could be good source of instant energy
Golden Grahams (71), Bagel (72), Corn chips (72), Watermelon (72), Honey (73), Kaiser roll (73), Mashed potatoes (73), Bread stuffing mix (74), Cheerios (74), Instand Cream of Wheat (74), Graham crackers (74), Puffed wheat (74), Doughnuts (75), French fries (76), Frozen waffles (76), Total cereal (76), Vanilla wafers (77),
Grape-Nuts Flakes (80), Jelly beans (80), Pretzels (81), Rice cakes (82), Rice Krispies (82), Corn Chex (83), Instant Mashed potatoes (83), Cornflakes (84), Baked potato (85), Rice Chex (89), Instant Rice (91), French bread (95), Parsnips (97), Dates (103)


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