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Glycemic index, a number that serves to indicate a property of food to which, some more, some less, we all have to pay attention to. It is one of those terms that often pops up, in advertisements as in TV broadcasts, but which few actually know define correctly.
Glycemic index: meaning
Often abbreviated as GI, the glycemic index is meant to represent the ability of carbohydrates contained in food to raise blood sugar. The value of IG indicates precisely the amount of glucose present in the blood, if you want to associate a food with a glycemic index value, you must therefore ingest it in a certain quantity, set at 50 grams "by convention", and monitor blood glucose levels for the next two hours.
Glycemic index: foods
A number alone tells us little about the characteristics of a food and how it can affect the amount of glucose in the blood, it is necessary to have a reference to then be able to tell if a certain food has a high or low or medium glycemic index.
The standard of reference is glucose or white bread to which a glycemic index of 100 has been assigned, if a food has 60, then it means that when you eat half a pound, your blood sugar rises by 60% compared to what happens with 50 grams of glucose.
Leaving the numbers aside for a moment, e focusing on carbohydrates, we can say that the more digestible they are, the higher their GI is. Some are absorbed quickly and cause the GI to rise quickly, while others act on it more slowly.
By assigning a certain GI value to each food, it is assumed that it can vary within a range depending on some factors including the degree of ripeness, variety, temperature and cooking time. When it comes to pasta, the format is also important, if it is an industrial product, the ingredients used must be checked. The average glycemic index value, is therefore indicative but can become misleading in some situations.
Glycemic index: table
Sometimes in the tables with values for foods, the concept of glycemic load which is the ratio between the GI of a food and its average portion. It is an important number because it can actually help us understand how a certain product actually affects our health, based on how much we consume.
Before going through the table, it is good to be convinced that these values do not want to lead to the elimination of important ingredients in a healthy and balanced diet which must instead be as rich and varied as possible.
Glycemic index: fruit
L'glycemic index of fruit it is generally quite high but it should be noted that the more ripe a fruit, the more the value grows. If we compare the numbers of carbohydrates such as rice and potatoes and those of fruit, we realize that the second has lower GI even if it is more sugary, because the first contain starch in abundance.
There is also to add, always talking about fruit, that the fiber contained in it, it tends to slow down the gastric transit time therefore the sugars are absorbed more slowly.
Glycemic index: rice
Reversing the speech made so far, rice, like pasta, has a high GI even if it is not "sweet". However, its glycemic index is considered medium, compared to that of bread which is also very variable. It may depend on cooking, the shape, the amount of salt used and the various flours.
Important because it provides long-term energy, being rich in complex carbohydrates, rice, when taken in high quantities, it can give rise to IG spikes that negatively affect our health.
Glycemic index: wholemeal pasta
Pasta, like rice, contains complex carbohydrates so it takes time to digest, resulting in a rather high glycemic index. Wholemeal pasta, however, is one of the best because the fibers slow down digestion, simple carbohydrates enter the circulation more slowly and blood sugar will not undergo significant changes.
Glycemic index: spelled
Ancient and very healthy, spelled has a glycemic index of about 60-65, therefore medium. If it is wholemeal, the GI drops to 40-45, it is a food rich in minerals, proteins and vitamins, but also in fiber.
Glycemic index: everything you need to know
To learn more about the topic and find advice on what to eat while staying healthy without depriving yourself too much, there is the book "The glycemic indexes. How to lose weight and stay healthy with low glycemic index foods " also available on Amazon.
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