I am trying to lose some weight as part of a last ditch effort to avoid having to take statins and maybe niacin to boost HDL levels, but I’m having a hard time losing the weight and keeping it off. I am exercising more, but I have old injuries that prevent me from running a lot and I don’t have much free time on work days. I have a sweet tooth but I’ve managed to give up most candy and pastry type junk food. I’m seriously addicted to eating ice cream once I get the kids to sleep at night, eating a cup or two per day during the week. I’m looking into ways to use food better to meet my needs and satisfy my cravings without making me unhealthy.
Enter the Glycemic Index (GI). This scale measures how quickly food is digested into carbohydrates and increases the level of glucose in your blood. Foods that are digested quickly and rapidly increase the blood glucose level will cause your body to release insulin more quickly and possibly in greater amounts. This accelerated insulin response can cause a cycle where you eat high GI foods and in response to the rapid increase in blood glucose, your body releases lots of insulin to remove the glucose from the blood, which causes blood glucose to dip too low, which causes you to feel hungry and eat again (probably quick energy high GI foods), which starts the cycle again.
There is a related index called the Glycemic Load that should also be taken into account when using GI as a way of managing your diet. I’ll write more on this later as I believe the glycemic index and glycemic load of foods can be very useful in designing a healthy diet.
Check out the links below for more information and for charts on GI and glycemic load for common foods. I don’t know of any definitive source of information for the GI and glycemic load of all common foods and I understand it’s pretty expensive to do the analysis necessary to get the GI and glycemic load of a food, so you’ll have to search below and maybe on the wider net to find info on a particular food. Hopefully governments will decide to invest in gathering this information and making it available to all.