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what is Low Glycemic Index?

Updated on February 2, 2012

Low Glycemic foods

Two years ago I began having problems with my eyesight, which for whatever reason I had chosen to ignore. I was able to hide the matter until I started having headaches that felt like my head would burst open. Not soon after the headaches I began to have dizzy spells and the worst cotton mouth which I had ever experienced. The look on my face was priceless when my doctor informed me that the symptoms I was having were due to the fact that I was a diabetic! I was told that I needed to be placed on medication. I refused. Not that I was being stubborn, but I know myself well, and I am horrible at remembering to take pills and even worse at swallowing them, even if they are meant to save my life. I asked for a different solution in order to attack the problem. He informed me that there was none. I refused to accept his prescription and walked out of his office that day never to return.

I tried to educate myself as much as I possibly could about diabetes on my own. I bought myself a glucose meter and taught myself how to use it. I had to learn when a good time to test was, where my numbers should be, and what they meant. I'm sure that I would have learned everything I needed to learn much quicker if I would have taken the prescription that day and followed up with a diabetic clinic. I never said I was the smartest cookie in the jar, I just said I knew myself well. Thinking back on it all, I feel that it worked out better the way it did. It taught me to study hard, and it helped me retain more of the information that I needed in order to get, and remain healthy. It also allowed me to check out tons of options and decided for myself which one worked and suited me best.

Three months after my diabetic diagnoses I attended a wedding and was seated next to a female physician. The dinner that night was served as a buffet style type dinner and I was being very careful to pick and choose the foods which I felt were the best for me to consume. I was still in the learning phases of the disease, and still uncertain as to what was acceptable and what wasn't. Suddenly out of the blue this doctor looks at me and asks "are you a diabetic"? I answered her question with a "yes" and she proceeded to tell me that most of the foods that I had on my plate where not good for me because of their High glycemic index. The look that I gave her that evening had to have been even more priceless than the one I had given my regular doctor three months earlier. I honestly had no idea what the hell she was talking about. After dinner I had the chance to speak to her again and ask her "What is a Low Glycemic index?"

The glycemic index, or GI as many are now calling it, is a way to measure the effects of carbohydrates on blood sugar levels. The carbohydrates which break down quickly during digestion and release glucose rapidly into the bloodstream have a high Glycemic Index and the carbohydrates that break down slowly, releasing glucose more gradually into the bloodstream, have a low Glycemic Index. The Glycemic Index rates foods on a scale from 0 to 100. The higher the rating, the more of a blood sugar spike eating that food causes. Low Glycemic Index foods are processed more evenly and don't cause your blood sugar to spike as rapidly. The concept of measuring GI was developed by Dr. David J. Jenkins and his colleagues back in 1980 at the University of Toronto while trying to find the best food choices for people with diabetes.

The GI diet has now become popular amongst diabetics and non-diabetics alike. Just like Dr. Atkins was treating diabetics and stumbled across the fact that his patients began dropping a significant amount of weight in the process, Dr. David J. Jenkins ran into the same pleasant surprise. Some of the most famous diets which you might have heard about stemming from this concept are the south beach diet and The Zone diet. Since the birth of the Low glycemic concept there are now 25 years of overwhelming research and evidence from around the world supporting the health benefits of a healthy low GI diet.

The Low GI diet is fairly simple in its concept. Foods with GI index less than 55 are considered Low Glycemic Index food. Foods with GI index between 55 and 70 are considered intermediate, and High Glycemic Index foods are those with a GI index of 70 or more. I think that what I found shocking was that some of the foods which I always believed were healthy for me had a GI rating of 70 or more, such as Watermelon which comes in at 72 on the GI index. Who would have thought that watermelon would be bad for you?

The health benefits for diabetics, and for weight loss are tremendous! Eating low GI will help fill you up for longer periods of time helping you to avoid over eating. It will lower your insulin levels and help you to lose body fat and maintain lean muscle tissue. The Low GI diet is also a blessing for those with high cholesterol. It works by reduce your triglycerides total, and 'bad' (LDL) cholesterol and increase your levels of 'good' (HDL) cholesterol. It will help reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease and help with developing certain eye diseases.

Since being blessed with the information about the GI diet, I have managed to lose sixty unwanted pounds effortlessly, Have more energy, I have a clearer completion and my Diabetic numbers are always right on target. One year after my diagnoses I have tested as being just border line diabetic and needing no meds to control it. Doctors will argue left and right that there’s no cure for diabetes. I'm not concerned about a cure; I want to be able to manage my symptoms without the need for drugs. After using the low GI way of eating and supplementing my body why would I want to go back to Pigging -out on donuts, McDonald's and KFC. The foods which gave me diabetes in the first place.

I am but one in many that has been able to turn their life around with the help of the lower GI way of eating. Recently even comedian and host of Price Is Right Drew Carey has been singing the praises of reversing type 2 diabetes through diet and exercise. Perhaps now that someone famous has done it, the medical community, and the 80 million Americans with Type 2 and pre- diabetes will start to take notice that the solution to today's diabetic epidemic might be right under our noses.

The Good 55 or less

Peanuts 13

Lentils, Red 21

Cherries 22

Artificially Sweetened Yoghurt 23

Slim-Fast meal replacement 27

The bad 56-69

Pita, white 57

Honey 58

Wild Rice 57

Bananas 58

Ice cream 62

The Ugly 70 or more

Doughnut 76

Rice cakes 77

Cornflakes 83

Potato, baked 85

Dates 103

It's now easier than ever to look for low GI foods by searching for the GI Symbol. Low GI is not just for diabetics anymore it’s for everyone, every day, and every meal!


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    • Maddambutterfly profile image

      Marie V Stephens 5 years ago from New Mexico

      Thank you everyone for all the comments and kind word!

      If the hub helps out even one person, it was worth writing:)

    • Marla Neogra profile image

      Marla J Neogra 5 years ago from Parkersburg, West Virginia

      Great info, my husband is diabetic. Voted up and useful!!

    • ecofuture profile image

      ecofuture 5 years ago

      Great information. Thanks!

    • agreenworld profile image

      Dawn A. Harden 5 years ago from CT-USA

      I'm glad you caught this before it was too late. Some wait too long and lose there sight completely. Good of you to share this acdvice with others.

    • BlissfulWriter profile image

      BlissfulWriter 5 years ago

      Yes, decreasing carbohydrates in general is a good choice. But when consuming carbohydrates, look for those that have the low GI index.