Perhaps you have never heard of the glycemic index. However, this is a very important indicator, especially if you have diabetes. In fact, it allows you to control the level of sugar you ingest through the consumption of food.
If you want to learn more about this index, know what it is and how it works, don’t miss the following article.
What is the glycemic index?
This is a parameter that serves to classify carbohydrates based on how they affect the level of glucose in the body. Shortened it is often called IG (from the English Glycemic index). This index has a scale that goes from 0 to 100, this being the maximum danger threshold.
The glycemic index of a food is determined by three factors:
- Cooking mode. The more cooked a portion of food is, the higher its glycemic index. The lowest is found in the crude product and the highest in the roasted or shredded one after cooking.
- Form of food. If you eat whole or fragmented grains, their glycemic index changes drastically. The former is more difficult to digest, so their release of glucose is slower than when they are fragmented (as in the case of oat flakes).
- Amount of fiber. Depending on the amount of fiber present in the food, glucose will be absorbed in an inversely proportional manner. The more fiber there is, the slower the blood sugar level will be.
Assuming a quantity of food containing 50 g of carbohydrates, we will have a different index rise, depending on whether the glucose increases more or less rapidly:
- Up to 40: the glycemic index is considered very low.
- 41 to 55: is considered low.
- From 56 to 69: it is considered moderate.
- From 70 upwards: it is considered high.
What is the glycemic index for?
Knowing the glycemic index of a food is important for proper nutrition. There are times when a rapid release of glucose is preferable and at other times, on the contrary, it is better to be longer. In general, it can be said that the glycemic index is particularly useful for two groups of people: athletes and diabetics.
Glycemic index and athletes
In addition to food, athletes should also pay particular attention to the glycemic index. Certainly, they need to keep their bodies well prepared both during training and during each competition. For this reason, it is advisable that they eat properly after training, so as to provide the body with what it needs for proper recovery.
- Before training. It is advisable to take foods with a low or medium glycemic index. In this way, the release of glucose will be slower and more prolonged over time.
- During the race. If it is a competition in which you have to make a great physical effort for a long period of time, the carbohydrates consumed before may not be enough. Bring with you energy bars or special food supplements for the competition. In this way, you will have an extra boost, in the moment of greatest need.
- After physical exertion. Many athletes underestimate this moment. On the contrary, we must finish the work started, taking care of adequate recovery. Nourish your body with high glycemic index hydrates and you can recover all the nutrients lost during the exercise.
Glycemic index and diabetes
Diabetic people should pay particular attention to the glycemic index of foods. If you suffer from this chronic disease, you will have the problem of an unreliable pancreas. Either it does not secrete insulin or it does so inadequately. This is why it is necessary to make up for this lack with injections or pills.
Diabetes sufferers should discard from their diet those products that contain a high glycemic index (eg dried dates, white bread, cornflakes, honey, sugar, rice, and boiled potatoes). Within minutes of taking it, a sudden increase in glucose will occur which can have serious consequences on a person’s health. This does not mean that you will have to give up these foods forever. It will be enough to consume them in moderation: a few quantities and with a very low frequency.