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Understanding The Glycemic Index

By Edited Nov 25, 2015 1 2

With Type II diabetes on the rise, many people are concerned with foods that raise glucose levels in the blood. There is a difference between simple and complex carbohydrates, and the way that they are digested. However, this can be taken a step farther with the glycemic index. Here is information to help you get a better understanding of the foods that you eat, and their effect on blood glucose levels.

Simple and Complex Carbohydrates

Not all carbohydrates are created equal. For example, when you eat simple carbohydrates like sugar or honey, they will be broken down quickly. This means that they will be in your bloodstream in a short amount of time. When you eat things like sweet fruit or sweets, your blood glucose levels well rise very quickly. If someone already has high blood sugar, this can be very dangerous.


Complex carbohydrates are also known as starches. A good example of complex carbohydrates is grains and beans. It takes much longer to digest grains than simple sugars. This means that sugar enters the bloodstream at a slower rate. It is safer to eat these foods, than to eat simple carbohydrates.

A Step Further

Understanding the glycemic index or GI can sometimes get a little complicated, but it does not have to. The GI lists carbohydrates with a number. For example a grapefruit is a 25, and a sweetened soft drink is a 65. The higher the number, the quicker sugar gets into the blood. If someone has diabetes, they should eat foods that deliver sugar at a slow rate. It is a good idea to eat foods with a GI of 40 or below when you are diabetic.

Benefits Of Low Glycemic Index Foods

There are several benefits of eating foods that score lower on the list. Foods low on the list will help you feel full longer. Foods with a number below 40 can benefit people that are trying to lose weight. These foods are also better for you, when you have insulin resistance. Often times, insulin resistance is a precursor of Type II diabetes.


If you need a complete list of low GI foods, there are many available online. You also may wish to talk to a doctor or dietitian about your needs. They can advise you on the best foods to eat. This is especially important if you believe that you may have a blood glucose problem, or if you are overweight.

The glycemic index is a good way to understand which foods to eat and which to limit, if you have blood sugar concerns. This list gives a better understanding of simple and complex carbohydrates. When you eat foods with a low number, your blood sugar will not spike as much as foods with a higher number. This can be beneficial to those with diabetes concerns, or people that wish to lose weight. If you are unclear about what to eat, talk to your doctor.



Feb 17, 2011 9:26am
Good introduction to the glycemic index. It can also be helpful when you are wanting to lose weight and I think we should all have a basic understanding of how our bodies use the foods we eat and how those foods effect us! Thanks...
Feb 18, 2011 12:24am
Excellent Article! Diabetes ruins many major organs often without warning signs until it is too late.
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