How does a glycemic index diet work?


Quick Answer

According to WebMD, a glycemic index diet promotes stable blood sugar levels by limiting foods that have a high glycemic index, such as white rice, white flour products, potatoes, sugar, and certain fruits. Low-GI foods have index values of 55 and lower, medium-GI foods fall in the 56-69 range, and high-GI foods have index values of 70 and higher.

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Full Answer

WebMD describes a glycemic index diet as relatively easy to follow. The diet doesn't limit calories or portions, no food groups are excluded completely, the ingredients are easy to obtain and prepare, and no exercise programs or memberships are required. To follow the glycemic index diet, simple substitutions can be made. White rice has a glycemic index value of 89 per serving, while brown rice has a glycemic index value of just 50 per serving, according to Harvard Health Publications.

A glycemic index does not take into account the overall nutritive value of foods. Harvard Health Publications states that sponge cake has an index of 46, while some healthier foods have higher index values, such as sweet potatoes, which have an index of 70.

The Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University states that high blood glucose levels may impair the functioning of the pancreas and lead to irreversible diabetes. It states that studies have found that precursors of type 2 diabetes include consumption of high glycemic index foods. High blood glucose levels may also play a part in heart disease, gallbladder disease, obesity and cancer.

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