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Nutrition, Diet and Supplements Discuss nutrition, diet, cutting and weight loss. Supplement discussions as well.

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Old 06-07-2014, 07:09 AM   #1
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Default The Glycemic Index

I got into a short discussion about the glycemic index in the thread on “Instant mashed potatoes.” I wanted to clarify and expand on what I said there.

First, the glycemic index is a measure of how much a food causes blood sugar to rise and then fall; the higher the rating, the greater the spike and the drop.

Second, I have reactive hypoglycemia, meaning my blood sugar spikes and crashes more than for most people. So I have a blood glucose monitor, and know exactly what effect different foods and combinations of foods have on my blood sugar.

Third, the glycemic index of a food is measured by having a group of people eat that food in isolation. And that is where the “controversy” comes in. It is claimed that eating the food in combination with other foods alters the glycemic response, thus rendering the glycemic index useless. Now, it is true that eating a food with other foods moderates the glycemic response, but it does not render the original measurement meaningless.

For instance, brown rice has a moderate glycemic rating while a baked potato has a high rating. If I were to eat a meal of a steak, broccoli, and brown rice, my blood sugar would only moderately raise and then moderately drop. But if I were to substitute a baked potato for the brown rice, my blood sugar would rise significantly higher and then drop significantly lower. But it would remain within normal levels, although barely.

But to go back to that thread, instant mashed potatoes have an even higher glycemic rating than a baked potato. I have never tested them as I wouldn’t consume such a highly processed food. But given the rating and simple logic, I am rather sure if I were to consume instant mashed potatoes with the aforementioned meal, my blood sugar would spike and crash beyond the normal range, so that is another reason I would not eat them.

The overall point is, the glycemic index is one thing to consider when deciding if a food is healthy or not, but it is not the only thing. If you want to know for sure what effect different foods and meals have on your blood sugar, then I would suggest you get a blood glucose monitor. They are relatively inexpensive and available at just about any pharmacy and many places online.

For much more on the glycemic index, see the following section of my fitness Web site: http://www.fitnessforoneandall.com/d...poglycemia.htm

See also the chapter on “The Glycemic Index” in my “Eating Plan” book: http://www.fitnessforoneandall.com/b...view/ggfep.htm
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Old 06-07-2014, 12:48 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by GZeolla View Post
For instance, brown rice has a moderate glycemic rating while a baked potato has a high rating. If I were to eat a meal of a steak, broccoli, and brown rice, my blood sugar would only moderately raise and then moderately drop. But if I were to substitute a baked potato for the brown rice, my blood sugar would rise significantly higher and then drop significantly lower. But it would remain within normal levels, although barely.

But to go back to that thread, instant mashed potatoes have an even higher glycemic rating than a baked potato. I have never tested them as I wouldn’t consume such a highly processed food. But given the rating and simple logic, I am rather sure if I were to consume instant mashed potatoes with the aforementioned meal, my blood sugar would spike and crash beyond the normal range, so that is another reason I would not eat them.
The glycemic load (GL) of a meal doesn't render the GI "useless", as you said, but it is the more important, practical measure to consider. The glycemic index is greatly altered by fats, fibers and proteins. Eating a steak and broccoli with a "high GI" carb source will still have a total glycemic load that is much more attenuated than if you were to eat the high GI carb on its own.

A steak, potato and broccoli would be quite a practical, low GL meal to consume.
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Last edited by The_Big_Sleep; 06-07-2014 at 01:16 PM.
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Old 06-07-2014, 02:58 PM   #3
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The glycemic load (GL) of a meal doesn't render the GI "useless", as you said, but it is the more important, practical measure to consider. The glycemic index is greatly altered by fats, fibers and proteins. Eating a steak and broccoli with a "high GI" carb source will still have a total glycemic load that is much more attenuated than if you were to eat the high GI carb on its own.

A steak, potato and broccoli would be quite a practical, low GL meal to consume.
I think I already explained this, but I will try again. Yes, if you eat a potato alone, it will cause a greater rise in blood sugar than if you eat it with a meal. But that does not change the fact that a meal with a potato will have a greater glycemic effect than one with a lower glycemic carb.

And again, I said that a steak, broccoli, and potato raises and lowers my blood sugar more than the same meal with brown rice, but that it is still within normal range. But if I were to eat two potatoes, that would probably cause a rise and crash beyond normal levels.

The point is, the glycemic index of a food does matter, and one has to be careful about the amount of a high glycemic food that is consumed, with or without other foods. Again, a blood sugar monitor would confirm all of this.
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Old 06-07-2014, 03:16 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by GZeolla View Post
I think I already explained this, but I will try again. Yes, if you eat a potato alone, it will cause a greater rise in blood sugar than if you eat it with a meal. But that does not change the fact that a meal with a potato will have a greater glycemic effect than one with a lower glycemic carb.

And again, I said that a steak, broccoli, and potato raises and lowers my blood sugar more than the same meal with brown rice, but that it is still within normal range. But if I were to eat two potatoes, that would probably cause a rise and crash beyond normal levels.

The point is, the glycemic index of a food does matter, and one has to be careful about the amount of a high glycemic food that is consumed, with or without other foods. Again, a blood sugar monitor would confirm all of this.
Are you diabetic or pre-diabetic? I see little reason to nitpick over the GI of foods for healthy, non-diabetic individuals that are eating balanced meals.

You say you have reactive hypoglycemia, has this been diagnosed and clinically validated with assays?
Almost everyone will have a "spike and crash" episode if they take in a bolus of pure dextrose on its own, but that doesn't necessarily mean they have a blood sugar disorder so much as they just had a rush of insulin and subsequent acute drop in blood sugar (I use to get those all the time when I had my PWO shake with whey and dextrose powder)
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Old 06-07-2014, 05:02 PM   #5
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Are you diabetic or pre-diabetic? I see little reason to nitpick over the GI of foods for healthy, non-diabetic individuals that are eating balanced meals.

You say you have reactive hypoglycemia, has this been diagnosed and clinically validated with assays?
Almost everyone will have a "spike and crash" episode if they take in a bolus of pure dextrose on its own, but that doesn't necessarily mean they have a blood sugar disorder so much as they just had a rush of insulin and subsequent acute drop in blood sugar (I use to get those all the time when I had my PWO shake with whey and dextrose powder)
When someone tells me they suffer from a particular health condition, I simply take them at their word, and proceed with the conversation from there. So I cannot grasp your comments otherwise. As such, I will end this conversation here, and say to anyone reading this, if you want to learn more about the glycemic index, hypoglycemia, and the like, follow the links above to my writings on the subjects.
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Old 06-08-2014, 02:05 AM   #6
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When someone tells me they suffer from a particular health condition, I simply take them at their word, and proceed with the conversation from there.
Normally I do take people at their word, but I tread with caution when I come across someone who submits they have a myriad of rare health disorders
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