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Glycemic Index - What It Means

By: Kathy Ferneau

Many of the popular diet programs advertised on the market today tout the glycemic index in helping dieters achieve weight loss. NutriSystem has built its popular Nourish diet around the low glycemic index.

The glycemic index was developed in 1981. It ranks carbohydrates according to their immediate effect on blood sugar levels. The scale measures foods from 1 to 100.

Carbohydrates that break down slowly during digestion have a low glycemic index.

Carbohydrates that break down quickly during digestion have a high glycemic index.

Low GI foods measure less than 55, the medium level is 55 to 69, while high GI foods rate higher than 70.

The glycemic index alone is not a perfect measurement of a healthy food. Some vegetables appear to have a high GI, while some high fat foods have a low GI. So it is important to also consider carbohydrate and saturated fat content.

Obviously, a potato chip with a low GI score is less healthy than legumes and nuts, which score higher GIs.

What does mean this for dieters? You feel fuller longer. Low GI foods fill you up faster and the hunger sensation is satisfied for a longer period of time.

Prolonged physical endurance that translates into higher energy to exercise or go about your daily activities.

Smaller rise in blood sugar after meals. For persons who are diabetic or pre-diabetic, the benefits are clear. Blood sugar and insulin levels react intensely to high carbohydrate, high glcyemic foods. Managing diabetes, preventing it, or even curing it altogether, starts with proper diet.

How do you switch to a low GI diet?

Eat cereals rich in oats, barley and bran.

Eat breads with seeds.

Enjoy all types of fruit and vegetables, except potatoes.

Eat plenty of salad vegetables with vinaigrette (not creamy) dressing.

Does this sound familiar? There is nothing new to eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Science is just catching up to common sense.

If you want your food prepacked and premeasured, you can subscribe to a diet plan.

If you don't want to pay for packaging, mailing, and expensive advertising, visit the grocery store produce section.


Going all out for a low glycemic index diet isn't necessary. The glycemic index is a complicated test of foods and varies from person to person.

One factor alone does not determine a healthy weight loss plan. Overall calories and fat are major considerations as well.

Still, the glycemic index is a good indication for healthy eating. Try to eat one low GI food at each meal. Limit processed, refined starchy foods, cut out junk food, and limit salt, alcohol and caffeine.

About the Author: Kathy Ferneau has created an excellent resource for information on diets, healthy eating, and exercise. Get a free smoothie recipe e-book just for visiting! www.lose-weight-diets.com

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