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Get to know the glycemic index in food and its effects

Get to know the glycemic index in food and its effects - On food packaging labels, usually, there is glycemic index information. The glycemic index (IG) is a food classification system that contains carbohydrates. However, this information apparently cannot be used as the sole reference for implementing a healthy diet. The glycemic index figure can be an indicator of how quickly the food consumed affects blood sugar levels in the body. Glycemic index numbers can sometimes be found on food packaging labels or can be checked on health pages on the internet.

Foods with 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 digested by the body to become sugar that the body uses as an energy source.

Get to know the glycemic index in food and its effects

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 low and moderate glycemic index are foods that are digested slowly by the body and cause a rise in blood sugar levels gradually. Examples of these foods include nuts, fruits (not including dried fruit), vegetables, and foods made from whole grains such as oatmeal porridge.

If in numbers, high and low levels of the glycemic index can generally be categorized as follows:
  • IG low: 55 and below.
  • Moderate IG: 56 - 69.
  • IG height: 70 and above.
However, the glycemic index figures can change especially if the food has been processed together with other ingredients or in a certain way. In addition, there are several factors that also determine changes in high and low IG, namely:

  • The glycemic index of certain fruits, such as bananas, will increase with maturity. The riper the fruit, the sweeter and higher the glycemic index.
  • Fiber, fat, and acids such as lemon juice or vinegar that are used to process food or be eaten with food, can reduce glycemic index levels.
  • The glycemic index level of foods containing starch, such as pasta, will increase if it is processed for longer.
  • Foods with a high glycemic index that are consumed together with foods that have 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 glycemic index of food, one's body's blood sugar level is also influenced by age and level of activity.

Can the glycemic index be a benchmark for diet?

Foods with a low glycemic index that causes blood sugar levels to rise slowly will indeed make you feel full longer. However, don't make this food group the only benchmark for a healthy diet, because:

  • Two types of foods that contain the same carbohydrates, can have different glycemic index levels.
  • Although some foods with low glycemic index are good, such as vegetables and fruit, 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 food with a high glycemic index.
  • Foods that contain fat or are cooked using fat and protein, such as chips, reduce the absorption of carbohydrates, thereby reducing glycemic index levels. Though foods like chips are high in fat and not good for excessive consumption.
  • Foods with a low glycemic index may have high levels of calories, sugar, and fat.

Research so far shows that diets with low or high glycemic index do not significantly affect certain health parameters, such as cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and insulin sensitivity.

To maintain health, it is better not only to consume foods with a focus on glycemic index levels but to undergo a healthy diet with complete and balanced nutrition. The trick, combine low glycemic indexed foods with high glycemic indexed foods in smaller portions. In addition, limit foods containing sugar, such as candy, cakes, and sweet drinks. To help determine a healthy diet, you can consult a doctor.
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