Actually, the glycemic index of foods classifies the foods based on their carbohydrate content, and how quickly they make your blood sugar go up. Based on that, the glycemic index may be classified (for learning purposes only) into three groups as following:
1- High GI foods
2- Medium GI foods
3- Low GI foods
The foods included in the first group with high glycemic index, make your blood sugar levels go up very quickly reaching the peak. This is not healthy, and not suitable for diabetic, who are trying to keep their blood sugar under control.
Meanwhile, the second group of medium glycemic index, make your blood sugar go up in moderate rate, without reaching the peak. Anyway, they still raise your blood sugar, that's why you should limit their intake.
The third group is the one for you as a diabetic. The foods included in this group can be slowly absorbed and processed from your body. As a result, your blood sugar levels will be at a steady low levels for a long period of time.
A recent study has found out an association between glycemic index of foods and the high risk for obesity. In this study, male rats were undergone two different diets: the first group was under a high GI diet and the second group under a low GI diet for 18 weeks.
At the end of the study rats which was under a high glycemic index diet became 71 per cent fatter and had 8 percent less lean body mass than the low glycemic diet group.
There are a number of factors which affect the glycemic index. They depend on the content of the foods. Some factors include proteins, fats, starch components and the physical form of the starch molecules in the food you eat.
Other factors involve organic acids, the salt component in the meal, etc. What is more, soluble dietary fiber and/or fats may slow down the stomach emptiness, thus resulting to low GI.
The foods which match the above requirements are unrefined breads such as whole grain, brown breads, which have low GI value compared to high GI value of the white breads. However, remains the fact that the nowadays bread industry is treating brown breads with some enzymes which increase their GI value.
Keep in mind that the glycemic index of foods is considered as a program which gives a hand to all the consumers to distinguish the high and low GI foods and beverages. Also the GI on foods has been tested according to the standard meeting the GI Foundation's certification criteria as the healthier choice withing the group of foods they take part.
Written by Dr.Albana Greca Sejdini, Md, MMedSc
Medically reviewed by Dr.Ruden Cakoni, MD, Endocrinologist