What is the Glycemic Index?

The Glycemic Index or GI Index is a scale from 0 to 100. It ranks carbohydrates based on how they make your blood sugar rise versus glucose. Some foods have a high value and other have a low value. The value depends on a number of factors. The basic test goes like this. A group of people are given 25-50 grams of carbohydrates. Their blood is tested over the next 3 hours to track blood sugar and insulin levels.

Blood sugar is glucose - a simple sugar. It is what your body uses for fuel and comes from the breakdown of carbohydrates. If you ate pure sugar, it would go right into your blood stream without having to be broken down or "digested".

Other carbohydrates need to be digested - in the mouth, the stomach or small intestine BEFORE they enter the blood stream.

There is a simple way to track which foods cause fast or slow rises in your blood sugar. Drippers have a low glycemic index between 0 and 55, while flooders have an index of over 70. Glucose is the reference and has a glycemic index of 100.

The higher the glycemic index, the faster your blood sugar will rise. This means that the flooders are easily digested and push glucose into the blood stream faster than drippers.

We need glucose to survive. However, IF the glucose cannot get into the cells to provide fuel, then it builds up in the blood stream. When blood glucose (sugar) levels get too high, it can cause damage to eyes, kidneys, blood vessels, heart and nerves. People with diabetes have high blood sugar.

Scientists have discovered that proper blood sugar levels are better. Too high - not good. Too low - not good.

Sugar and insulin in your body are like fuel and air in your car. When they are out of balance, the engine fails. Air and fuel in balance - engine hums along.

Too much air - too lean - engine fails. You're hungry - you eat -blood sugar spikes.

Too much fuel - too rich - engine fails. You're full - insulin released - blood sugar crashes.

Drippers cause blood sugar levels to rise slowly and it gives your body time to release the proper amount of insulin. For diabetes, managing blood sugar levels gives you body a chance to respond to a recently eaten meal.

Flooders are not that kind. They overwhelm your sytem and lead to spikes and crashes in your blood sugar.

Your risk of getting diseases like diabetes and heart disease are linked directly to the glycemic index of your typical food intake. If your diet is filled with flooders, then your risk is higher.

Here are some general guidelines:

Dripper - 100% Whole grain bread; Flooder - white flour bagel

Dripper - All-Bran; Flooder - Cheerios

Dripper - Sweet Potatoes; Flooder - Baked Potatoes

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