High Glycemic - friend or foe or neither?

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High Glycemic - friend or foe or neither?

#1 Postby 9nines » Tue Sep 19, 2006 4:00 pm

(Edit: I originally put this as a response in a thread but it was a tangent so I deleted that and made it its own post.)

High glycemic foods are getting a bad reputation. Is it really warranted? It seems marketing is running with, coining all kinds of low glycemic diets etc. Just another diet craze?

I think it tends to do the opposite of what people think (it will make you eat more, not less.) You feel hungry primarily for two reasons: First, the main reason is low blood sugar and the second is empty stomach. Your body is always guarding against low blood sugar. As your blood sugar decreases, your body will regulate it, keeping it a minimum with stored fat and carbohydrates and other means and you will get more hungry the longer you delay addressing teh hunger. To address it, you need to get sugar into your blood. So if you try to just eat low glycemic foods, you are likely going to eat more than your body needs because the low glycemic foods are delaying that sugar getting into your blood. The second thing needed to stop the hunger is a full stomach. Low glycemic foods tend to hurt you here also. Most of the lower glycemic foods have higher amounts of fat and are less bulky, meaning you need to eat more of this denser food to fill your stomach.

For me I notice more satisfaction and longer lasting full feeling from eating starch oriented foods. For example, on days when I eat a lunch centered around rice (today for example) or potatoes, I feel full most of the day and eat later than normal in afternoon because I remain full much longer. On days when I eat a lunch centered around something fat and low glyemic like avocadoes, I feel hungry shortly after lunch, even though it was close to same amount of calories as the starch centered lunches that kept me full a longer time.

Here is a link to a good article on glycemic index:

http://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2006nl/ ... ycemic.htm

Interesting highlights from that article:

1) GI not as satisifying in stopping hunger:

Neither high nor low GI carbohydrates results in excess calorie consumption or weight gain. In fact, a high-carbohydrate diet is crucial in preventing weight gain in those with a tendency for obesity.7,8 Carbohydrate consumption promotes satisfaction of the appetite and higher GI foods do this even better than low GI foods—because the elevation of the blood sugar after eating is one of the key mechanisms in satisfying the appetite and reducing food intake.9 Worldwide, populations of hundreds of millions of people who eat high GI potatoes (Peruvians) and rice (Asians) are trim and active for a lifetime.

2) Digestion is not as simple as GI makes it:

The findings from the GI demonstrate the falsity of the popular notion that the rates of absorption are a matter of “simple carbohydrates” versus “complex carbohydrates.” The gut is not a passive sieve that allows molecules to pass based on their size—rather it is an active membrane with an “intelligence” that purposefully allows selected nutrients to enter at the correct rate and in the correct amount. The large numbers of carbohydrates found in our foods have a wide variety of chemical compositions and physical structures—as a result of complex interactions, they are digested and absorbed by the human small intestine into the body at different rates—giving rise to diverse blood sugar and insulin responses.

3) GI is hard to calculate:

Many people stake their whole health future on the GI. However, from the practical viewpoint of daily use, GI is too complex and changeable to precisely guide a person to the correct food choices. Different studies find widely varying GI values; for example, sweet corn has been found to have a GI of 37, 46, 48, 59, 60, and 62.1 Cooking and cooling changes the food’s GI. The ripeness of the food increases the GI. Disrupting a food’s dietary fiber by grinding, and also removing the fiber, make carbohydrates more easily absorbed, increasing the GI. Mixing foods together results in a GI of the meal that cannot be predicted from the GI of the individual foods. Therefore, even with great effort you will likely be way off your target GI.

4) Low GI does not mean low sugar.

Low GI does not necessarily equate to healthy food choices. The GI of fructose is 19—about the lowest GI you can find. Table sugar (also known as white sugar and sucrose) is half fructose (the other sugar in this disaccharide is glucose). About 55% of the sugar in high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is fructose. A diet full of sugar is one with a moderate GI.

5) What GI is:

Glycemic index (GI) measures the rise in blood sugar in a person over the two to three hours following the consumption of an amount of food that contains 50 grams of carbohydrate. This rise is then compared to a standard reference: the rise in blood sugar caused by consuming glucose (a sugar) or white bread; also containing 50 grams of carbohydrate. The final result, the GI, is expressed as a percentage. Meat, poultry, fish, cheese, and eggs do not have GI values themselves, because they contain little or no carbohydrate.

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