Low Glycemic Index Foods: The Truth you Should Know

7th July 2019
The glycemic index is a ranking that tells you the speed with which blood absorbs glucose, found in certain foods. Get ready to plan your meals knowing the truth about this index.

Everyone seems to be talking about low glycemic index foods right now. You’ve probably heard about the glycemic index of food on more than one occasion. You’ve also probably read about them or found conflicting information. This index is, often, the protagonist in weight loss or healthy eating plans. Also, the glycemic index is the key to planning out meals for diabetic people.

In this article, we want to give you some truthful information about this indicator, as there seems to be a lot of confusing information on the Internet. We encourage you to keep reading and know what the glycemic index really means and why it’s important to take it into account.

Get ready to debunk the main myths that surround the glycemic index, most of which lack any kind of scientific basis.

Discover more: Benefits of Reducing Added Sugar Consumption

What is the glycemic index?

The glycemic index is a ranking created around 30 years ago that measures the speed with which the amount of glucose in the blood rises after eating certain foods. For this, each food is rated according to the amount of glucose they contain.

The result is numbered from 1 to 100. Based on this, foods are classified depending on whether their glycemic index is low, medium or high. Usually, different foods are included in one of these three options and the consumer doesn’t have access to more details.

In recent years, foods with a low glycemic index have become the protagonists of many diets. Keep in mind that this index doesn’t take into account the number of calories or nutrients that make up each food. That’s why it shouldn’t be taken as the only characteristic to create a weight loss plan.

When is this important?

The glycemic index shouldn’t have to be something that causes you to obsess. In fact, it’s usually enough to follow a healthy lifestyle consisting of regular exercise and a balanced diet to keep you healthy.

That being said, there are certain groups of people who do have to be especially careful when consuming foods with a high glycemic index. This is because it can negatively affect your health.

For example, a person with diabetes has to avoid eating foods with a high glycemic index. Bear in mind that, given their pathology, they already have higher blood glucose levels than usual. If we add to this a sudden and high rise, the result will be seriously damaging.

You might also like: How Sugary Drinks Affect Your Body

On the other hand, athletes can do just the opposite: consume foods with a high glycemic index to take advantage of the glucose peak. By doing this at the right moment, an athlete can achieve their goals in a shorter period of time.

In this article we want to show you, how neither the low glycemic index is extremely good, nor the high so harmful. As we’ve already mentioned, it’s not something to become obsessed about. That is unless you’re an athlete or a diabetes patient.

Myths

A large amount of contradictory information exists around the glycemic index. Next, we’ll mention the most frequent myths mentioned in many online websites and media.

1. A high glycemic index is not synonymous with many calories

Many people take the glycemic index and calories as synonymous. This theory is incorrect since we’re mixing terms that aren’t directly related. The glycemic index tells us the speed with which blood absorbs glucose. It doesn’t have much to do with the number of calories you are taking.

Glycemic index

It’s true that a portion of food may have, in addition to a high glycemic index, a considerable amount of calories. Still, as it isn’t linked directly, we should analyze what nutrients contains. Remember, two foods with the same number of calories can have very different effects on the body.

2. Same foods always have the same glycemic index

This is another myth that surrounds this index. It’s not true that the same foods always have the same glycemic index. This is because their index can vary drastically depending on certain factors.

The way you cook your food or whether it’s processed or not are some of the factors to take into account.

In short, it’s important to be well informed before making decisions regarding the nutritional plan, both about the glycemic index and other factors. A consultation with a health professional is more than advisable in all cases.

  • Organización Mundial de la Salud. (2016). Informe Mundial de la diabetes. Organización Mundial de La Salud. https://doi.org/10.18004/rvspmi/2312-3893/2016.03(02)71-076
  • Azcona, C. (2010). Manual de Nutrición y Dietética. Departamento de Nutrición. Facultad de Farmacia. Universidad Complutense de Madrid.