Chemical Structure of Glucose

Don’t let the science jargon intimidate you- the concept is easy to understand for the purposes of choosing the right foods to eat.

What is it?

Glycemic Index is a carbohydrate ranking system based on a scale of 0-100.  Foods are assigned GI numbers that quantify the degree to which these carbs influence the body’s blood glucose levels.  When the GI number is large it means that your body metabolizes the sugar rapidly and as a result, the glucose content in the bloodstream jumps.  A GI score of 100 equates pure glucose.

High Glycemic-Index Foods (> 70)

Habitual consumption of high glycemic-index foods such as white flour based and highly processed products, is more stressful on the pancreas because it over-stimulates insulin secretion.  Increased production can lead to precipitous drops in blood glucose levels within a few hours after metabolizing. You want to avoid this because of the associated deleterious health effects. A high glycemic-index diet has been linked weight gain and increased risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. In colloquial terms, sugar highs and lows are stressful to your body physically and emotionally.  A recent research study conducted by Loyola University correlated glycemic variability with anxiety, negative mood and a “lower quality of life.”

Low Glycemic-Index Foods (<55)

Lower glycemic-index foods are metabolized more gradually. A low GI diet makes for more sustained blood glucose levels and lessens insulin demands on the pancreas. Eating this way helps you maintain a healthy weight. You feel fuller for a longer duration and won’t experience the hunger urges resultant of sugar lows that you do after eating more rapidly digested high-glycemic index foods.

Using Common Sense

Low glycemic index does not always mean healthier. For instance, pound cake has a lower glycemic index than some legumes, but obliviously lacks any nutritional value.  However, simple changes to your diet like preparing your pasta al dente or eating your bananas before they ripen too much can significantly cut the glycemic index count according to  Rachel Johnson, professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont.

Smart Low Glycemic-Index Food Choices

Agave Nectar









Whole grain

Greek Yogurt

Please visit this link to start searching the glycemic index of your favorite foods.