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Glycemix index

Look Before You Eat: The Truth About the Glycemic Index

Thursday, January 03, 2008 by: Judith Fine-Sarchielli
Tags: glycemix index, health news, Natural News

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(NewsTarget) Confused about the nutritional benefits of what you ate today? How will you choose the healthiest products for dinner? You may know that we should buy organic foods grown locally, to avoid the 70% of irradiated foods we find in our supermarkets, but do you still ask yourself what foods you should eat?

Diets such as the Caveman, Primal, or Paleo diet is getting more attention lately among the health conscious (www.wewant2live.com). Our primitive hunter-gatherer ancestors ate enormous quantities of meat when they could capture it. While the men were away, the women gathered nuts, berries, and seeds every day; these carbohydrates helped to balance blood sugar, because they were absorbed into the digestive tract and metabolized slowly. Researchers today have found that our primitive ancestors were on the right track. We would be healthier if we ate like they did , because our digestive track still works like that of the Flintstones. It takes thousands of years for a human's digestive system to adjust to a different type of primary diet than that of our meat-eating ancestors. For most people, it is more difficult to digest and metabolize a vegetarian or vegan diet than the meat eating diet our ancient ancestors ate.

That is an important reason why poor digestion is a common problem today. Many of the foods we consume today are very high in sugars, which can lead to blood sugar spiking or sugar "rushes", which can lead in turn to diabetes, heart disease, hypoglycemia, and obesity. When we metabolize sugars too quickly, they turn to fat, clog our arteries, raise and lower our energy level. For the most part these changes in blood sugar levels, which are scientifically termed 'glucose levels', are due to carbohydrate and processed, refined sugar, white flour, and transfat consumption. Our ancestors consumed these glucose-producing foods in the form of whole grains, berries, seeds, and animal fat to keep them warm in winter and to give them energy. Now we prefer French fries and diet sodas. Studies show that today, for example, children worldwide are 10 pounds or more overweight than they were 10 years ago, due to junk food consumption and lack of exercise. Junk food is high in white sugar and transfats and contains many chemicals to enhance flavor. Disorders such as ADD, ADHD, heart disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes, hypoglycemia, and Celiac disease are on the rise for children and adults alike, due to the junk food diet. The University of Sydney, in Australia, has done an impressive study of how carbohydrate consumption influences our health (www.universityofsydney.com) .

They have done cutting edge research on the measurement of carbohydrates, which convert to glucose, and are internationally renowned experts on The Glycemic Index (GI). The GI measures how quickly carbohydrates we consume raise our blood sugar levels 2-3 hours after we eat. In the past, the GI was based on white bread consumption, and is now measured by glucose absorption. The Glycemic Load (GL) tells us the measurement according to the portions we consume. The University of Sydney also developed the International Glycemic Index, a table which can be viewed on their website. Australia now requires GI labeling on all products which contain carbohydrates (www.glycemicindex.com) .

You can click on the updated issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and review the International Glycemic Index Table (www.ajcn.org) . Rate the foods you ate today and see your own glycemic level. How much sugar did you eat today? Many of our processed foods contain hidden sugars; without identifying these carbohydrates on the product label, they become a hidden threat to our health. The glycemic rating of 100 has been determined as the highest point on the index, and a GL of 10 or less is the lowest. You need to measure them both to get an accurate reading on how you are digesting and absorbing your food, and how it contributes to your blood sugar levels and your health.

Most carbohydrates are very high in sugars; potatoes, rice, corn, bananas, and many bottled drinks are loaded with sugars that are quickly assimilated, and rapidly burned by the digestive and metabolic systems. This rapid burn results in a drop in inulin, a natural sugar that the body doesn't absorb and lets friendly bacteria grow in the digestive tract. Inulin/FOS is found in foods such as agave, Jerusalem artichokes, leeks, onion, garlic, chicory root, and human milk. A drop in inulin results in low blood sugar, which leads to fatigue, hypoglycemia, and eventually, Type 2 Diabetes (www.about.com) search glycemic index.

The metabolic process is tricky because each carbohydrate has different sugar content. In addition to our processed grains, fruits, and vegetables, processed sugar and honey are also threats to our health. Our ancestors ate very little sugar. They ate raw honey, which is very beneficial to your health. However, commercial refined sugars and foods high in glucose now amount to 10% of the North American diet. The best news is that low consumption of processed and refined foods results in controlled appetite and delayed hunger, and may prevent life-threatening diseases.

Another way to have your cake and eat it too is to use a natural sweetener such as organic Zsweet (www.zsweet.com) . Zsweet is made of erythritol, a form of fructose, which is not absorbed by the digestive track and does not affect your glucose level, as commercially refined sugar does. Zsweet has the lowest number of side effects compared to other natural sweeteners, doesn't cause cavities, enhances taste, and measures cup to cup with commercial refined sugar. And with 0 glucose and 0 calories! (www.caloriecontrol.com)

One diet doesn't fit everyone. When you consult the handy glycemic index tool, you will learn to avoid high carbohydrate foods; and use organic Zsweet instead of commercial refined sugar, you can personalize your diet and improve your well-being. Keep a daily food journal and become more aware of what you eat on a regular basis. Read labels and be aware of hidden or ambiguous products such as corn syrup, soy, and transfats. Your health has less to do with fad diets than it does with how conscious you are about what you eat. All rigid diets fail sooner or later. Create a lifelong and consistent eating style that satisfies your senses, palate, and metabolism, and you will live a longer and more enjoyable life.

Thanks to the GI, we now have access to a tool that can help us analyze the foods we consume on a daily basis. Now we can create a stress-free grocery-shopping list and enjoy our meals and snacks without worries about our weight and energy levels. Along with the correct amount of exercise for our age, when we eat according to the GI and GL we will keep healthy and also reduce our stress levels. It's simple - eliminate sugars, processed and refined products, and reduce blood sugar spikes. Eat 10 different brightly colored fruits and vegetables daily. 'Think global, eat local organic' isn't just a modern fad. It is a reliable guideline towards a healthy diet.

About the author

Judith Fine-Sarchielli is a chef, food coach, a citizen journalist, and an independent researcher dedicated to spreading awareness about health news, proven alternative treatments, and unsafe mainstream products. She was recently food coach and cooking school director at Whole Foods Market in Woodland Hills, Ca. Check out her recently completed website at (www.topangatuscanyandbeyond.com) or call 310-482-9901 for an hour consultation at no cost.

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