How to Use the Glycemic Index

how to use glycemic index
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Do you know how to use the glycemic index? The food tool isn't as complicated as it sounds. It is simply a way for you to estimate how a certain food may impact your body.The glycemic index (GI) measures how your blood sugar reacts to eating the food. The GI does not measure a food's calorie or fat content.

How to Use the Glycemic Index

The GI ranks foods on a scale from a 1 to 100. Foods with an index of 55 or lower are considered low-GI or low glycemic.

 Foods with an index of 56 to 69 are considered medium and foods with a score of 70 or higher are considered high-GI or high glycemic foods.

If you follow a low-glycemic diet, also known as a GI diet, you choose your foods and plan your meals around the glycemic index. According to these diet plans, low-GI foods are best, medium-GI foods are acceptable and high-GI foods are to be used sparingly.

You'll find many different foods listed on the glycemic index, including vegetables, fruits, starches, sugars, and legumes. You will also see nuts and seeds, milk, and yogurt. Vegetables are usually low-GI foods.  Most sweets, including sodas and candy are in the GI and rank highly.

Refined carbohydrates such as breakfast cereals, white bread and bagels, are usually high on the glycemic index and should be avoided if you are following a GI diet. The more processed a food is, the more likely it is to have a high GI rank.

Foods consumed closer to their natural state (ie "whole foods") are often on the lower end of the Index.

Some dieters also use glycemic load, rather than glycemic index to choose the best foods for their weight loss program. Glycemic load is the glycemic index of a particular food that also takes into account carbohydrate content of the serving size that you consume.

The Best Low Glycemic Food Choices

There are many foods that rank so low on the glycemic index that they are considered free foods on a GI diet. On many of these weight loss programs, you can eat as much of them as you like and you don't need to worry about eating them at a certain meal or with another food. 

  • Alfalfa sprouts
  • Scallions
  • Turnips
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Onions
  • Okra
  • Mushrooms
  • Green beans
  • Collards
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Celery
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower

Pros and Cons of Using the Glycemic Index

Many dieters are successful on diets that use the glycemic index. For many, choosing low-glycemic foods helps them to choose foods that are naturally lower in calories and higher in nutrition. It also helps many dieters avoid eating too many empty calories. Some researchers have found that low glycemic diets provide beneficial weight loss results

But there are also some nutritionists who don't think that the glycemic index alone is a good measurement for the quality of a food. In fact, some have pointed out that manufactured products may add low quality or less healthy ingredients to a food in order to market the food as low-glycemic.

So should you try a low glycemic diet if you want to lose weight? Every dieter is different, so the decision is up to you. Many popular diets, including Atkins and The South Beach Diet use the glycemic index as a reference. Make sure that you investigate each diet's cost and requirements before you choose the weight loss plan that you will stick to for life.

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