The Glycemic Index Food Guide is a true pocket book ( 4″x 7″, 140 pages) packed full of important information about you and your food plan. Written in lay terms, this handy book will help you measure the impact of glucose on your body to help you manage your food intake, to help you lose weight, to keep your heart healthy, and to manage diabetes (or help it from developing). Such a tall order for such a tiny book! ( I cut my carbohydrate load and have lost 10 pounds, so I know it works for me.)
The Glycemic Index is a relatively new concept created in 1981 by a team of researchers at the University of Toronto, headed by Dr. David J. Jenkins. Originally designed for diabetics, the glycemic index (GI) measures carbohydrates and signifies how quickly a carbohydrate food triggers a rise in your blood sugar, the main indicator used to determine diabetic issues.
Because foods with a low GI rank break down more slowly than foods with a high GI, the former results in a gradual release of glucose in the blood stream, rather than a quick breakdown of foods that cause an “undesirable surge of blood glucose and a resulting surge of insulin.” Additionally, by using this index one can also help the body lower blood cholesterol levels, weight gain, energy level and maintain overall good health.
But it gets better! The GI measures the quality of the carbohydrate one consumes.Scientists realized that the amount a person ingests is also important, so they developed the glycemic load (GL). This measures the amount of a particular carbohydrate eaten. The reason this additional factor is so important is explained using carrots, which are a high-GI load, but the glycemic load is quite low. In order for the GI to have a negative impact, one would have to eat almost 3 cups of carrots. Since one cup is more realistic, the GL is quite low.
Also taken into account are: riper foods have a higher GI, processing a food generally pushed the GI higher, and cooking a food hastens the digestive process and therefor increase the GI. The best way to counteract these situations, the author notes that by increasing the fiber content of your meals, eating more fiber is the best “antidote.”
The bulk of the book is the list of foods with their GI and GL. For the Glycemic Index (GI), low is between 0 and 55; for Mid-GI the numbers are 56-59; and High GI will be listed between 70 to 100. The last column that lists the Glycemic Load (GL): less than 10 is low; 11-19 is moderate; 20 or more is high. By using both the GI and GL, you will have a better idea of how much of that particular carbohydrate is found in the serving size listed, a more reasonable calculation than just using the Glycemic Index.
I think you will find this pocketbook quite valuable if you are looking to reduce your carbohydrate intake for whatever health reason. As the author notes, it is only one (two-pronged) tool for choosing foods, keeping in mind that you also eat foods in balance that provide “healthful portions of all essential nutrients.”
The Glycemic Index Food Guide is published by Square One Publishers and costs:$7.95. I consider it an affordable and essential tool in my own food plan.