What you need to know the glycemic index of food?

If many are familiar with the energy value measured in calories, then such a thing as a “glycemic index” is known only to a few. What does it mean? Who and why should know him?

What is it?

To understand the essence of the concept, it is necessary to understand the purpose of carbohydrates. They are used by the body to produce the energy necessary for the work of all important organs and systems. But carbohydrates can be different. So, simple almost immediately absorbed through the walls of the digestive tract into the bloodstream and provoke an increase in the level of glucose in it.

As a result, often the body simply does not have time to recycle energy, and it goes "in reserve", that is, the formation of fatty deposits. But complex carbohydrates are absorbed gradually, which allows the body to receive energy in portions and use it properly.

So what is the glycemic index of foods? This is an indicator that determines the rate of digestion of carbohydrates and the degree of increase in blood glucose.If it is high, then there is a sharp increase in the amount of glucose. If the index is low, then its level changes slowly or remains almost unchanged.

Such a concept was discovered in 1981 by David Jenkins, who was developing a diet for diabetics. He noted that certain carbohydrate-containing products are digested differently, and during the tests he was able to estimate the speed of their processing. The glycemic index of glucose, which is equal to 100 units, was taken as the absolute standard.

Who needs to know the glycemic index and what does it affect?

So what does the glycemic index affect? First of all, on the level of glucose in the blood. Entering the body with food, carbohydrates begin to digest in the digestive tract, and some even in the mouth.

They are absorbed through the mucous membranes into the blood, due to which it is saturated with glucose. Usually, the peak of glucose level is reached in about half an hour after a meal. And if its amount grows too fast, then it can be dangerous.

The pancreas, which produces the hormone insulin, which is responsible for controlling the amount of sugar, can simply not cope. And if this body is not functioning properly, the threat will become very significant.And that is why it is extremely important to know the glycemic index in diabetes.

The use of products with a high index can lead to a sharp jump in the level of glucose, which threatens the most severe consequences.

What happens after the increase in glucose? As already noted above, the pancreas begins to actively produce insulin, which ensures a gradual decrease in the amount of sugar in the blood.

And it is this important organ that must determine where exactly the incoming glucose will go. It can go both to ensure normal energy metabolism, that is, to the production of energy and to replenish its reserves, and in adipose tissue.

And it will depend on the amount of glucose and the quality of carbohydrates. So, if the level is high, then the pancreas simply does not have time to adequately respond, and some will go “into reserve” anyway. The same thing will happen and if carbohydrates are simple and digested almost immediately. And all this means that knowledge of the glycemic index is important for weight loss.

What does it depend on?

The glycemic index is affected by several factors:

  • Type of carbohydrates.All of them are conventionally subdivided into simple ones that are acquired almost immediately, and complex ones that are processed gradually. But such a classification is very conditional. In fact, they produce monosaccharides, disaccharides, oligosaccharides, polysaccharides, and fibrous carbohydrates. Monosaccharides are, in fact, one monomer that almost immediately penetrates the bloodstream, without being broken down and processed. This group includes the well-known glucose, fructose (sugar, which is present in almost all sweet fruits), galactose (this is a component of milk sugar, lactose) and some others. Disaccharides are composed of two monosaccharides. These include lactose, maltose, lactulose, sucrose, isomaltose. Oligosaccharides are composed of a maximum of 20 monomers. This group includes galacto-oligosaccharides, fructo-oligosaccharides, and mannan-oligosaccharides. Polysaccharides can consist of tens, hundreds and even thousands of monosaccharides. These are chitin, starch, cellulose, dextrin, mannan, amyloid, and so on. Fibrous carbohydrates are also released, which are not digested at all, but have a positive effect on the body.
  • The method of preparation, namely heat treatment.It is clear that the glycemic index increases significantly during frying. And, for example, popcorn has a higher rate than boiled corn.
  • The content in the product fiber. This substance not only ensures the normalization of the processes of digestion, but also contributes to the control of blood sugar levels and even its reduction.
  • The degree of industrial processing also has a certain impact. Thus, the glycemic index of refined rice is as much as 20 units higher than crude.

Glycemic index of certain products

The low glycemic index means that after consuming the product, the glucose level remains almost unchanged, and all carbohydrates in the body go into energy production.

That such food is recommended to use with a diet, as well as diabetes. Low is considered an index equal to 10-40 units. This group includes, for example, greens, most vegetables, sour berries and fruits, whole grains and dairy products (especially low-fat).

The average glycemic index is from 40 to 70 units. The group of such products includes dried fruits, sweet fruits, some legumes, cereals (corn, rice), potatoes, beets, and so on.

High glycemic index (over 70 units) is very dangerous for diabetics and harmful for losing weight. But sometimes it comes in handy, for example, after intense training or physical exertion, when it is necessary to fill up the reserves of energy spent in a short time.

This group includes the following products: any sweets and confectionery, lemonades, most spirits, white bread, chips, chips, canned fruit and many fried foods.

You can find out the exact values ​​from special tables, which indicate the indicators of the most common products and dishes.

If you want to control the level of glucose in the blood or follow the figure, then by all means find out the glycemic index of the foods you use.

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