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Carbohydrate Glycemic Index -- How It Can Help You Lose Weight

How do you make sense out of the glycemic index?

a large plate of cookies
  • Carbohydrates are just sugars. Whatever carbohydrate you eat, whether it's table sugar or honey or a potato, is made up of sugar.
  • No matter what kind of sugar -- whether it is milk sugar (lactose) or fruit sugar (fructose) or whatever -- it's still sugar. And when you get it in your blood stream it's made into blood sugar (glucose).
  • But some things break down very rapidly. Drink a Coke and the sugar just pours into your blood stream. Eat an apple and it's a slower process.

With sugar, slower is better

Because of this scientists came up with a way to figure out which foods go into your blood stream faster. The idea is that the more slowly the sugar is released into your blood stream the better.

So they tested different foods. They had volunteers eat white bread and rice and apples -- all sorts of things -- and then they measured their blood sugar.

"You know how you wake up in the morning and sometimes you look gorgeous and other times you look like you got hit by a Mack truck?

I realized that my Mack truck is food. If I have no sugar, yeast or wine, I have no under-eye bags and my skin is perfect."

Mariska Hargitay

High glycemic, low glycemic

With some foods the blood sugar went sky high -- those are the high glycemic foods.

Sometimes the blood sugar stayed low -- those are the low glycemic foods. And they added it all up and it became the glycemic index.

Avoid the sugar blues

You want to avoid high blood sugar levels -- which cause too much insulin to pour out -- which then cause your blood sugar to crash. That just makes you crave more junk food.

You can even get weak, sweaty, confused and irritable. When you get that from low sugar it is called "hypoglycemia."

Food tables and references

You can look at tables of low and high glycemic index foods. They will show you in detail what you should eat that is the best for controlling your blood sugar.

The original research on the glycemic index was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 1981, and there is a table that shows the latest research about the glycemic index on their website.

That list is not searchable, and while it has a lot of data, reading it will probably make you dizzy.

There is a searchable database of the glycemic index maintained by the University of Sydney.

"Every human being is the author of his own health or disease."


The simple version

But the principles are actually very simple:

Avoid foods that are high-glycemic foods. These are refined foods -- foods that have been changed from the way they are in nature.

So avoid white bread, white rice, sugary breakfast cereals, and of course sugary drinks and cakes and candies.

Low glycemic foods

The low glycemic foods are more natural and they are better for you. These release sugar into your blood more slowly, so your body has time to adjust to it.

These foods include whole grains, brown rice, whole wheat bread, and most fruit and vegetables.

The more it looks like it did in nature, the better it is for you. So apples are better than applesauce. And applesauce is better than apple juice.

Don't get hung up on the details

As far as the details of the glycemic index -- they are probably not worth worrying about.

For example, you will hear that you shouldn't eat carrots because they are a high-glycemic food.

Now, did you ever see anybody that had a weight problem because they ate carrots? No, you didn't.

The good food mix

So you have to use your head. Eat a good mix of lean protein, unrefined grains, plenty of vegetables and fruit. Eat reasonable amounts.

Don't eat one food to excess. Eat often enough so that you aren't starving at meal time. And you will feel satisfied, you will be healthy, and you will lose weight.

"To insure good health: eat lightly, breathe deeply, live moderately, cultivate cheerfulness, and maintain an interest in life."

William Londen

Where to start:

There is a lot of information on this site. The links below will get you off to a good start.

Most popular pages:

These are some of our most popular pages. They are also some of the most helpful if you are finally ready to lose weight.

You can always reach us:

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  • Clearwater, FL 33761
  • (727) 771-8282

  • Or to use our contact form click here.

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