Happy July! It’s a new month and with that an opportunity to refresh and renew, setting the stage for a productive and joyful series of weeks ahead!
A little update on my blog – this marks the 27th entry since I began in January!
Thank you so much for being with me all these weeks!
As you may have noticed, last week there was no edition of “starting your week strong” and that was due to some internal issues with my site functions. All up and running here so, this week is special because you get access to not one, but 2 blogs!
Our last Sunday in June continued with the summer lovin’ theme! Lately there’s been a rise in smoothie making, frozen pops, and cooking with fresh foods. I am loving this, and I especially love the increase in availability for fresh, organic, and local fruits and veggies; because the demand is going up. This inspired me to write all about the extremely abundant nutrition within fruit. And, since fruit is often a summertime favorite, I identify some of the top picks and why they are so good for you!
You can find my blog – Fabulous Fruit, here.
Today, I want to introduce a concept you may or may not have heard of:
The Glycemic Index
The benefits of understanding what the glycemic index of food is, is that it gives you more control to how your body will respond to food. This can lead to healthier choices that are tailored to the needs of individuals, rather than dieting, following someone else’s guidelines, now you can make choices and have knowledge to back up your reasons.
Low Glycemic – what does that mean?
The glycemic index (GI) measures the speed at which food breaks down in the digestive system to form glucose – the fuel that runs all of our body operations.
The GI is a system of assigning a number to carbohydrate-containing foods according to how much each food increases blood sugar levels.
To fully understand what this means, it is important to know the way that foods affect the body’s blood sugar. Not all carbs are created the same. Different types of carbohydrates have properties that affect how quickly your body digests them and how quickly glucose enters your bloodstream.
High glycemic foods such as fruit juices, starchy foods like breads, potatoes, candy, and baked goods result in a quick spike in insulin and blood glucose- these have in common, a lack of fiber (in some cases), fat and protein, all of which help moderate the release of sugar.
Low glycemic foods like oats, beans, vegetables and some fruits, are packed with fat, fiber and protein and cause a slow, steady digestion, leading to stable blood sugar levels and maintaining fullness for a longer period of time.
The GI principle was first developed as a strategy for guiding food choices for people with diabetes. An international GI database is maintained by Sydney University Glycemic Index Research Services in Sydney, Australia
The purpose of a low-glycemic diet is to eat unprocessed, unrefined carbohydrates in combination with healthy proteins and fats to improve satiety by keeping digestion slow. The diet is less likely to cause large increases in blood sugar levels and has been used as means to lose weight and prevent chronic diseases related to obesity, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
While GI value is a good way to gauge some aspects of food, they don’t reflect the likely quantity you might eat of a particular food.
Mayo Clinic makes this point:
“For example, watermelon has a GI value of 80, which would put it in the category of food to avoid. But watermelon has relatively few digestible carbohydrates in a typical serving. In other words, you have to eat a lot of watermelon to consume the standard test level of 1.8 ounces (50 grams) of digestible carbohydrates.”
For this reason, Sydney University researchers developed the idea of the glycemic load (GL), a numerical value that indicates the change in blood glucose levels when you eat a typical serving size of the specific food. With GL, less than 10 is low, and more than 20 is high.
Picking good sources of carbs can help you control your blood sugar and your weight. Even if you don’t have diabetes, eating healthier carbohydrate-rich foods can help ward off a host of chronic conditions, from heart disease to various cancers.
Using the glycemic index
The simple method is to choose mostly foods in the low GI category, few to none from the high GI category, and moderation on those in between.
- Low glycemic index ( 0 to 55 ): Most fruits and vegetables, beans, minimally processed grains, nuts.
- Moderate glycemic index ( 56 to 69): Potatoes, corn, white rice, couscous, some cereals,
- High glycemic index (70 or higher): White bread, bagels, cakes, doughnuts, croissants, most packaged cereals, rice cakes, and crackers. Soda and soft drinks.
To learn more about Glycemic index and for a more complete list of foods, visit:
It is a very informative resource.
Today’s Effort – Watch the Scale
Not the weight scale! No, no. Let’s try eating foods that fall on the lower side of the GI/GL scale. These include vegetables like carrots, broccoli, lettuce and spinach, oats and whole grains, beans, nuts, and fruits such as grapefruit, cherries and apples.
Bear in mind, the “value” of any food item is affected by several factors, including how the food is prepared, if it is processed, ripeness level (fruit GI increases as it ripens) and then also what other foods are consumed at the same time.
The glycemic index shouldn’t be the only thing you consider when making choices about what to eat. The fact food has a low glycemic index doesn’t mean it’s super-healthy, or that you should eat a lot of it.
Portion size, calories, vitamins, minerals and overall nutritional content are all important facts to consider.
Be proud of yourself!
Join us every Sunday for the next edition of Starting Your Week Strong!
Learn about the benefits of fruit in your diet in last weeks’ blog Fabulous Fruit
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Are you curious about how to harmonize your health goals and fit wellness into your busy schedule? Contact me today for more information about Today’s Effort Health Coaching.
Glycemic index diet: What’s behind the claims
How to Use the Glycemic Index
A good guide to good carbs: The glycemic index
The information shared in this article is not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any form of illness or disease. The opinions are the author’s alone and are not to be used as a guide to follow for any health related conditions, but rather a sharing of perspective.
Today’s Effort, and it’s authors, take no responsibility for the choices of individuals and encourages you to work alongside a trusted physician and or doctor with any health related issues.