How the Glycemic Index Impacts Your Health

By: Marla Tenney Monday March 4, 2019 comments

Literally thousands of articles are on the Internet claiming to have the ONE answer or tip for how to improve your health through diet. And if you’re like me, you’ve probably seen every fad diet that has come through—Atkins, Keto, Paleo, and Mediterranean. (Not to mention the Cabbage Soup Diet, which I actually tried over twenty years ago!)

There are several issues with these trendy diets, but the most important problem is that each person is different. How an individual processes different types of food isn’t identical to another person.

But there’s one thing you actually can use to make a positive impact on your health—the glycemic index of foods. This index can be used to help you decide what to eat based on scientific classifications of food and examining how your body processes it.

What is the Glycemic Index of Food and How Does It Affect Your Health? 

The glycemic index (GI) of a particular carbohydrate-containing food is a measure of how much eating that food will raise your blood glucose level. This increase is all relative to a baseline food, usually white bread or glucose. If you have a diet that primarily consists of foods with a high glycemic index, you are causing your blood glucose level to spike, which in turn makes your pancreas produce extra insulin to convert that glucose into something that it can store. Many of us have experienced this first-hand.  Whenever we eat a full meal and then feel hungry again just a short time later, it’s probably because you ate high glycemic foods that caused your pancreas to kick into high gear to compensate for the extra glucose.

This has other problems as well. It could cause your pancreas to stop functioning and may even lead to late-onset, or type-2 diabetes. The fact that cancer cells also feed on sugar means that cancer growth can go uninhibited in someone with a diet containing mostly high glycemic index foods.

➡➡➡ Wondering what the GI value is of a certain food? Use this free Glycemic Index Calculator to check it out!

What affects the GI value?

In general, there are three major factors that can affect a food’s GI value. These include:

  • Processing and additives—Foods that are highly processed tend to have a higher GI value than the raw, natural forms of that same food.
  • Cooking length—The longer a food is cooked, the higher the GI value.
  • Ripeness—Over-ripe fruits and vegetables have a higher the GI value.

How do you reduce free radicals in your diet?

Free radicals are another major health issue determined primarily by the foods you eat. These are molecules that are unstable because of a lack of oxygen and will thereby attack other molecules to steal from them. Foods with a high glycemic index are taxing to the normal systems to maintain proper blood glucose levels and increase free radicals in the body. High levels of free radicals overwhelm the body’s ability to counteract them leading to oxidative stress. While you can’t eliminate free radicals completely, you can reduce them by eating a diet of whole, real foods that have a low glycemic index and consuming brightly colored fresh fruits and vegetables which are high in antioxidants.

Learn more about the impact of high GI foods and oxidative stress on pubmed.

If you are ready to learn more about improving your diet becoming your healthiest, happiest self, book an appointment with me now at Shakti Whole Health Studio!

Marla Tenney

About the Author: Marla Tenney

Marla is a Certified Nutrition Therapy Practitioner and the owner of Shakti Whole Health.