What is a glycemic index? Do the foods we eat have a high or low glycemic levels and if they do should we care? The answer is absolutely. The glycemic index is essential in how your body interprets and then breakdown sugars. The glycemic index is a system of numbers used to indicate how fast a food can raise our blood sugar levels from the moment it enters the body. That said, those with low glycemic indexes raise the blood sugar levels moderately and those with a high index raise your blood sugar above ideal levels.
Understanding what the glycemic index is and why it matters is not only important for those with diabetes but also is an essential component in reaching and maintaining a healthy weight. Foods that fall under the category of low are typically your natural foods like most fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, brown rice etc.. Those touting a high glycemic index are generally your processed foods like white bread, wheat bread (that’s not whole grain, read your labels before buying), quick cook oats (not steel cut), cereal, crackers…etc.
How does this effect weight loss or maintaining your weight? Well generally those in the low index take longer to break down due to their density of unprocessed carbs,fiber, vitamins/minerals etc. Word to the wise would be to choose foods with 55 or lower glycemic indexes. Other than the obvious processed versus non-processed are there a few sneaky foods that often get classified as one or the other? YES! See below:
Healthy Food, High Glycemic Index:
Dark Rye Bread (76 glycemic index) INSTEAD CHOOSE: Pumpernickel and Whole Grain bread (30-45)
Banana or Watermelon (55-72 glycemic index) INSTEAD CHOOSE: Apples, peaches, plums, berries
Instant Oatmeal Packets (82) INSTEAD CHOOSE: Old Fashioned Rolled Oats (58)
For more foods and their classifications, check out the Shape Online article i found containing a more detailed list: http://www.shapeonline.com/healthy_eating/7995?show=all_comments
Additional Article: http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=faq&dbid=32