On food packaging labels, there is usually a description of the glycemic index. The glycemic index (IG) is a classification system of foods that contain carbohydrates. However, this information cannot be used as the only reference for a healthy diet
The glycemic index number can be an indicator of how fast food consumed affects blood sugar levels in the body. The glycemic index number can sometimes be found on food packaging labels or can be checked on health pages on the internet.
Foods with a Low and High Glycemic Index
Foods with a high glycemic index contain carbohydrates that are processed quickly by the body and cause blood sugar levels to rise rapidly. This is because certain carbohydrates are easier and faster to digest the body into sugar that the body uses as an energy source.
Some types of foods that have a high glycemic index are potatoes , white rice , sugar, white bread, soft drinks, and sweet drinks.
While foods with a low and medium glycemic index are foods that the body slowly digests and cause a gradual increase in blood sugar levels. Examples of these foods include nuts, fruits (not including dried fruit), vegetables, and foods made from whole grains such as oatmeal porridge.
If it is mentioned in numbers, the level of the glycemic index generally can be categorized as follows:
- Low GI: 55 down.
- Moderate GI: 56 – 69.
- High GI: 70 and above.
However, the glycemic index number can change especially if the food has been processed together with other ingredients or in certain ways. In addition, there are several factors that also determine the change in height and magnitude of IG, namely:
- Certain fruit glycemic indices, such as bananas, will increase with maturity. The more mature the fruit, the sweeter and the higher the glycemic index.
- Fiber, fat, and acids like lemon juice or vinegar used to process food or eat with food, can reduce the glycemic index level.
- Glycemic index levels of starch-containing foods, such as pasta, will increase if processed longer.
- Foods with a high glycemic index that are consumed together with foods with a low glycemic index will have a lower glycemic index.
- The more servings of carbohydrate foods consumed, the more it will affect blood sugar levels.
In addition to the food glycemic index, a person’s blood sugar levels are also influenced by age and level of activity.
Can the Glycemic Index Be a Benchmark for Diet?
- Low glycemic index foods that cause blood sugar levels to rise slowly will indeed make you feel full longer. However, do not make this food group the only standard of healthy eating, because:
- Two types of foods that contain the same carbohydrates , can have different levels of glycemic index.
- Although some foods with a low glycemic index are good, such as vegetables and fruits, not all foods in this group are healthy. Conversely, not all foods with a high glycemic index are bad for health. For example, chocolate is an example of a food with a low glycemic index, while watermelon is an example of a high glycemic index food.
- Foods that contain fat or cooked using fat and protein, such as chips, reduce the absorption of carbohydrates, thereby reducing the level of the glycemic index. Though foods such as chips are high in fat and not good to consume excessively.
- Foods with a low glycemic index may have high levels of calories, sugar and fat.
Research so far shows that diets with a low or high glycemic index do not significantly affect certain health parameters, such as cholesterol, blood pressure, and insulin sensitivity.
To maintain health, you should not only eat food by focusing on the glycemic index level only, but undergo a healthy diet with complete and balanced nutrition. How, combine low glycemic index foods with high glycemic index foods in smaller portions. In addition, limit foods containing sugar, such as sweets, cakes, and sweet drinks. To help determine a healthy diet, you can consult a doctor .