The Glycemic Index


The Glycemic Index

The glycemic index refers to the tendency of foods to secrete insulin.  The consumption of any foods prompts your body to secrete insulin.  The more insulin your body releases, the more fat that food will potentially produce.  This is great if you need this energy IMMEDIATELY (eg. during or immediately before exercise).  But generally speaking you want to stick to foods that are low insulin producers.

High insulin foods will give you a quick burst of energy.  Whatever energy you don’t use will be quickly stored as fat.  Low insulin foods, slowly release energy for a longer prolonged energy consumption.  The tables below will give you an idea of the glycemic index of your favorite table foods items.

HIGH GLYCEMIC INDEX FOODS
100% — glucose, most breakfast cereals, french bread
80-90% — corn flakes, carrots, maltose, honey, white potatoes, baked potatoes
70-79% — whole grain bread, millet, white rice, Cheerios, Graham Crackers, Honey, Watermelon, White Bagel

MODERATE GLYCEMIC INDEX FOODS
60-69% — white bread, shredded wheat, bananas, raisins, Mars Bars
50-59% — spaghetti, corn, whole cereals, peas, yams, potato chips, white rice, popcorn, brown rice, sweet potatoe, bananas
40-49% — oatmeal, sweet potatoes, navy beans, oranges, orange juice, apple juice.

LOW GLYCEMIC INDEX FOODS
30-39% — pear, peaches, cherries, blueberries, apples, ice cream, skim milk, green beans
20-29% — grape fruit, barley, kidney beans, lentils, fructose
10-19% — soybeans, peanuts, nuts
0-10% — most green vegetables

Note:  A high glycemic index doesn’t necessarily mean the food is bad for you.   eg. Bananas and carrots have relatively high GI’s, but they are high in micro nutrients.  High GI’s mean that the food needs to be used immediatley vs. burning it slowly throughout the day.  It’s almost analogous to fresh fruits and vegetables vs. canned foods.  Canned foods can sit on your shelf for years.  Fresh fruits and vegetables, you need to eat within a week or so.  Thus, a high GI isn’t all bad, just depends on how you utilize that food product.

What are Macro Nutrients? Macro nutrients (macro means BIG) consist of protein, carbohydrates and fat.  These are the “immediate” things your body needs to survive.  With macro nutrients, you can’t last very long, you’ll grow hungry, and soon starve.

What are Micro Nutrients? Micro nutrients (micro means small) consist of vitamins and minerals.  Stuff that your body needs for optimum health.  Your body can go without micro nutrients for a long period of time, but you’ll soon fall prey to disease, sickness, and internal organ failure.

Editor’s Note: Eat a diet consisting of a healthy portion of protein, quality carbs (ie. non-processed), and the good fats.  Try to keep your protein intake to tofu, fish, seafood and white meat.

Protein is the building block for your muscles, so if you’re into body building and exercise, you need a good amount of healthy protein to feed, grow, and repair muscles.

The problem with beef and other red meat is that, along with good protein your taking in alot of other unnecessary “bad stuff”.  So keep your red meat intake to a minimum.

An all protein diet is also unhealthy.  Generally speaking, digesting protein is harder on your body than fat and carbohydrates.  Your body NEEDS good carbs, so don’t neglect them!  If you don’t get enough carbs, your body will break down your protein, and turn them into carbs for you.

You need carbs for energy; it is the fuel for your body.  This process that your body takes to “break down” protein into carbs, is what makes the “high protein” diet work.  This process of “conversion” puts strain on your body, hence burning fat and getting less out of each macro nutrient.  There is alot of waste.  This may sound ideal, “eat alot, and not gain weight”, but very inefficient and unhealthy in the long run.

Having to convert protein to carbs is hard on your liver.  You’re making your digestive system work twice as hard to produce the same amount of fuel.

The better solution is to eat the “proper” intake of good carbs (brown rice, wheat, rye, etc.) along with your intake of good protein.  This way, your body doesn’t starve for the carbs it wants.

You need to really look at your lifestyle and decide what you believe is “proper”.  The more you exercise and work out, the more you’ll need quality protein.  Learn to understand your body, and experiment with what works for you.  Find the best combination of macro and micro nutrients, coupled with what you like to eat, to find an ideal diet you can live with.

The Glycemic Index
We learned that the glycemic index (of foods) is an important determiner of how you feel, how your body digests food, and your overall body weight.

Sugar
The human body was designed to know if you had enough to eat or needed more to eat (to stave off starvation) via the sugar content of foods. (Will elaborate more on this later)

Foods with low sugar content have a lower glycemic index.  Foods with higher sugar content have a higher glycemic index.  Sugar isn’t just about the white powdery kind, but also about the form that it mostly comes in, which is bread, pasta, cookies, candy, and sodas.

Depending on the Glycemic index, your body will react to what you eat, by either using up the energy efficiently, or storing it as fat.  If it stores it as fat, you’ll hear that screaming voice later, “Hey, I’m starving! Go eat some more!!”.  Why doesn’t your body just go and retrieve the fat?  How the heck do I know!?  Actually it will … eventually.  But first, it’s going to send a “hunger pain” signal to your stomach and tell your body.. “yo, I’m starving”.   If you have discipline to avoid this message long enough, sure your body will grab the fat off your mid section.  Most of us don’t.  So read on!

Your body metabolism plays a big factor.  The younger you are, the more you can get away with breaking the rules.  The older you get, you body’s metabolism slows down and you’ll notice that your ass is getting bigger and that your beer belly is pretty much a permanent fixture.

Notice how in some cultures, the women generally get fat and stay fat by the time they reach 30?  This probably means that their overall cultural diet has a very high glycemic index.

So everything you eat has a particular “sugar” rating, the “glycemic index”.  You want to try to stay away from high glycemic foods.  This is particularly hard in today’s “fast food” society.  Even going to the supermarket, how the heck do you know what to buy?  It’s really confusing!  Food you think are healthy, aren’t.  You have to read the labels and become an educated food shopper.

Let’s get to the point here.  Without doing a lot of explaining you want to eat the following foods:
What to Eat:
. Fish (anything (fishy) is good)
. Tofu
. Skim Milk / Non Fat Milk
. Soy Milk
. Water (Probably what you should be drinking on a regular basis)
. Chicken breasts
. Seafood
. Fruits (all kinds)
. Vegetables (all kinds)
. Beans (all kinds)
. seeds & Nuts (all kinds)
. Whole wheat (Any bread / pastry that hasn’t been processed)
. Brown Rice (Any rice w/ the skin/cover on it.
. Whole grains (this is repeating myself, but it’s good to eat any grain that is as “natural” as possible. This means that it hasn’t been processed to remove the fiber and “brown” stuff from the grain.  So, the keep the brown stuff on and eat it!).
. Whole grain noodles
. Whole grain pasta
. Whole grain lasagna

What NOT to eat (Avoid):
. White Grains (this includes anything that has been processed and the fiber has been removed.) eg. white rice, white bread, white noodles, most pasta, spaghetti, lasagna, white __XX__)  This also includes cookies, most pastry, donuts, cake, etc..
. Sodas (coke, pepsi, 7-up, sprite, root beer) Anything Pop.
. Fake juices (cool aid, lemonaid mixes, etc.. etc..)
. Potatoes (similar to white grains)
. Corn (tastes good, but high glycemic index.  Corn is commonly used by farmers to feed livestock.  Why?  Because it’s cheap, and readily available.   They also use corn to take “corn syrup” and “glucose corn syrup”.  A very common “sugar” substitute.  It’s even cheaper than sugar, and that’s why they use it!)
. Most breakfast cereals.  You actually feed your kids this junk?  Not only is most cereal made of white grains, but it’s loaded with sugar.  Absolutely disgusting (well.. it does taste good), but it’s hell on your body!
. Any sugary drinks (read the damn label!.  If the 2nd ingredient says “Corn Syrup”, you know it’s got tons of sugar.  You’d be surprised at what drinks have alot of sugar.  Alot of juices have processed sugar added, snapple, gator aide, etc.. etc..)
. All candies
. Most pastries
. All cookies
. All sweets

What to Eat in Moderation:
. Red Meat
. Dark Meat
. Anything in the “Don’t Eat” list.

The above recommendations are exactly that.  You can take away from it what you will.  The closer you follow these guidelines, the healthier you will feel, the more energy you’ll have, and the leaner you’ll be.

How it Works
The more sugar content (higher glycemic index) whatever you’re eating has, it sends a signal to your body that you just ate a s@#t load of food.  This is how your body works!  Hey, I didn’t make the damn rules!  eg. You eat a piece of chicken breast.  The amount of sugar in that piece of chicken breast signals to your body approximately how much food you’ve consumed.  In other words, the sugar level of the food is what signals the body, not how full your big fat stomach feels!

Example:  Eating a Big Mac, Fries, and a coke is equivalent to eating a 50LB cow (or somewhere like that – estimate only – but you get the picture).

How does this affect your body?  What do you think!  It tells your body, YOU IDIOT, YOU ATE TOO DAMN MUCH!!!.  So what it does is, allocate a very small portion of that Big Mac Combo meal you just ate for current energy consumption and then stores the rest away as FAT.  Why?  Because according to your body, the rest of the food is equivalent to 49LB of a cow that you don’t need right now!

Notice the “high” you get from eating a Big Mac, Fries and Coke?   Feels good right?  Your getting a temporary sugar kick, but soon you’ll notice your energy level drop off precipitously!  Why?  Because your body is busy putting away all that crap as fat storage.  And now you don’t have any current fuel supply to last you the rest of the day.

What happened?  As far as your body is concerened, most of that Big Mac Combo isn’t necessary for the entire day to keep you going.  Thus it stores it as fat.   In reality, your body needs all that food to get through the day, but it can’t because it’s stored away in the back as FAT DEPOSITS.  Like I said, your body just thinks you ate a 50LB COW!

Then after a few hours or so, you feel really hungry again, and you have to eat another Big Mac Combo w/ coke!  The ugly thing is that you just stored away a chunk of that previous Big Mac Combo as fat, and your body is asking for more food instead of just using up the stored fat deposits.

So you feel really hungry again!

How do you avoid this?  Eat moderately.  Eat foods on the recommended list w/ a low glycemic index and  your body will use up most of that energy right now and allocate it for current “fuel burning” use.  It won’t store it away as fat.

What will happen?  You’ll feel less tired (because there’s current fuel to burn now), and you’ll have more energy.  You’ll begin to lose weight and feel better.

If anyone knows a thing or two about business, it’s all about proper inventory management.   Your food intake is like inventory.  You don’t want too much, or else your warehouse get’s too big (you get fat).  You want to stay lean by having (JIT) just in time inventory.

How to Lose Weight Immediately!
. Stop drinking so much damn soda!  I know it’s not easy, but try drinking ice water or lemon water.  No, ice tea is just as bad.  They contain tons of sugar!

Protein vs. Carbs
There’s good carbs and bad carbs.  Ther’s also lean protein and heavy (fatty) protein.

As you get older you just don’t need as much carbs.  Notice what you do at work?  Your behind a desk typing into a computer, stareing at a computer screen!   How much energy do you think your body needs to do that?  Not much.   Heck, most of us don’t even exercise or walk 1/2 mile.

We live in a “drive here and there” society and a “sit here for 8 hours and do your work”, lifestyle..

You just don’t need that much food in order for your body to sit around.  The food you do need will be protein to build and reconstruct cells, organs and muscles.   The small amounts of carbs you take in will get you through the day.

I don’t know why they don’t teach you this stuff at school.  They should, and perhaps we wouldn’t be the fattest country on earth.  I just wish I knew this stuff sooner! Now you have no excuses!

Can somebody please open up a chain of fast food restaurants that cater to this healthier lifestyle?  It sure would make it easier for the rest of us!

The reality is that it’s not easy to follow this regimen.  Most of the foods at the market and at restaurants are completely opposite to what we just learned.

Good luck!

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