Monthly Archives: January 2011

Why Should You Care About the Glycemic Index?

By Jan Upton, a certified weight management advisor and owner of, your complete guide to managing your weight with nutrition, exercise, coaching and low glycemic eating!    If you change your habits you will change your life.

According to the low glycemic experts at the Universities of Sydney, Australia and Harvard the benefits of low glycemic eating are:

  • Prolonged physical endurance.
  • Helps people to lose and control weight.
  • Increases the body’s sensitivity to insulin.
  • Improved diabetes control.
  • Reduced risk of heart disease.
  • Reduce blood cholesterol levels.
  • Reduces hunger and keeps you fuller longer.

You need to know how the glycemic index works and how to use it to plan your meals if you want to optimize your health and endurance.  Recognizing that different foods can cause a higher insulin response is important for anyone wanting to stay in shape.

Simply put, the glycemic index tells us how the body metabolizes food by noting if the hormone insulin is elevated by a particular food.  It is a measure of how quickly glucose enters the bloodstream.  This clinical rating system is called the glycemic index.  Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas to regulate blood sugar.  When the body isn’t making enough insulin to do this or when the body is insensitive to the insulin that is generated, diabetes results.  In the average person, consistent ingestion of foods having a high glycemic index causes an increase in fat storage and fat tissue and increases the risk of Type II diabetes.  Foods and drinks that have a high rating on the glycemic index trigger an undesirable insulin response.

Awareness of the glycemic index has grown steadily since 1979 when the first study confirmed that a hyperinsulin response was associated with obesity. Since then a large number of studies have shown the many health benefits of eating low glycemic foods.

The glycemic index tells us the type or quality of the carbohydrate in a particular food and what the food does metabolically once it is digested in the body. During glycemic clinical trials scientists measure how much the food raises blood sugar and affects insulin. They determine if a food stimulates the enzyme responsible for storing fat, Lipase (LPL.) A low glycemic food is digested slowly and thus raises the blood sugar gradually helping you to maintain increased energy longer.

What does the glycemic index tell us about high glycemic foods?  A high glycemic food metabolizes quickly and stimulates insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar by rapidly bringing it down.  It reduces energy and causes that “let down” feeling and triggers hunger.  We have all had the experience of eating something very sweet by itself and then an hour or so later feeling a big slump in energy and we are hungry again!  Not good.   When the hyperinsulin response is stimulated it is a signal to the body to store fat!  LPL, the fat enzyme is released when high glycemic foods are eaten.  High glycemic foods make us fat

Low glycemic eating is the most efficient and natural way to lose fat and build your strength and endurance.  Everything you need to know about how to eat low glycemically,  including low glycemic recipes and printable low and high glycemic food lists,   you can find on my website