What is the glycemic index ?

March 09, 2020

When I was researching why sugar could be so bad for our bodies, I stumbled upon something called the glycemic index, and it's basically the tool to know for anyone looking to make better food choices -from a sugar standpoint.



Chapter 1 of this "sugar series" was my article on why sugar can be so bad for our bodies, that you can find by clicking  here, not from a body weight perspective cause I certainly want to stay away from anything diet related, but more about what it does internally to our skin, mind, mood and overall wellbeing.

While I'm very sensitive to sugar (mood swings, anxiety, tiredness and even skin rashes...), everything contains sugar. The trick is that all sugars are not created equals, and the glycemic index is going to tell you how much what you eat is going to impact your body, from a sugar perspective.


☞ What is the glycemic index ?

Glycemic index is a number between 0 and 100, assigned to a type of food depending on its impact on blood sugar levels.

Glucose (refined white sugar, the worst) has a glycemic index of 100.
The GI doesn't apply only to sugary foods : since all foods affect our blood sugar levels, each food has its own glycemic index ! Pasta has a GI of 50, broccoli is 15, basmati rice is 60, apples are 28...


☞ How does it work ?

The smaller the index, the least it affects our blood sugar levels, the better it is for our health.
Watch out though, for example aspartame (a controversial artificial sweetener) has a glycemic index of 0, yet it's not healthy at all.

Even though the glycemic index is a powerful tool when it comes to weight management (high blood sugar levels = weight gain), I use it mostly to make better food choices to avoid sugar rushes and crashes in order to manage anxiety and feel satiated longer.


☞ What lowers the glycemic index ?

Fibers and fats tend to lower the glycemic index. For example, whole rice will have a smaller GI than white rice, same goes for all grains, pastas...

The way you cook your food also has an impact : overcooking pasta will make their GI rise, al dente is the way to go !
Also, one food with a low GI can turn into a bomb during the cooking process : for example raw carrots have a GI of 30 while boiled carrots have a GI of 85.

Cinnamon : this spice has the power to slow down how fast our bodies absorb sugar, therefore you might want to consider adding a sprinkle here and there, to deserts for example. It tastes awesome in coffee too !




Hope this article broke down a couple interesting things for you. I'm very interested in topics such as this one because food has such huge impacts on our health and wellbeing : inside when it comes to mind, mood, energy levels and outside when it comes to our skin. While it's common knowledge that sugar can be bad for you : what's the reason behind it ?, how does it affects us (especially in ways we might not always know about) ?
My goal here is to bring out in open the tools and information, trying to make it as simple as possible for you, so that you can make your own choices.
"Knowledge is power" :)


Take care & much love,
Millie

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