Every few years trends pop up in terms of nutrition. I’m sure you’ve noticed them yourself. Atkins, South Beach, gluten-free, paleo, zone, and as of late G.I.. No, not eating like a G.I. in the Army with MRE’s and mess hall food, but glycemic index eating.
Each week my training staff and I sit down and go over ways we can better help our clients succeed in fitness and in life. This past week we decided to take a look the glycemic index.
The glycemic index was created by Dr. David Jenkins in the early ‘80s to measure the body’s blood sugar response to food for diabetic purposes. Each food we eat creates response in blood sugar. High glycemic foods create a spike in blood sugar and increases in insulin levels.
Let me give you an example of food and where they rank on the glycemic index, with 55 and under to be low and 70 and above to be high. Peanuts rank 14 on the scale and would be considered very low, whereas saltine crackers rank 74, or high. The GI is a useful tool to naturally help control blood sugar and help prevent type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, and APPETITE. What about it being a tool for weight loss?
Some people think you must only eat low GI foods to lose weight and keep blood sugar under control. But is this really true? Could this be the key to weight-loss success? NO!
I have long believed that, yes, controlling the ingestion of high GI foods was important, but technically it will not make you lose weight and be leaner. Think about this for a moment. If you ate peanuts, kidney beans, skim milk, and brown rice, which are all lower glycemic foods, but you ate 5,000 calories worth of them and you only needed 2,500 calories per day to maintain weight, you would actually gain 2/3 of a pound of weight per day!
This is an extreme example that probably wouldn’t happen in reality, but the key to remember is, no matter what eating style or diet you choose, it must create a caloric deficit for loss or caloric homeostasis for maintenance.
Let’s revisit those saltine crackers (high GI) and peanuts (low GI). Except this time I want you to spread some wholesome natural peanut butter on those salty little babies. Like magic, you have now created a moderate GI food combination that is tasty and satisfying.
The glycemic response is now comparative to multi-grain bread. Combining foods that contain proteins and fats will aide in lowering the glycemic value and increase satiety.
Should you obsess about the glycemic index of foods? Probably not, but it can be useful to know a little about how certain foods make you feel and what effect they have on your appetite.
Continuous spikes in blood sugar throughout the day can wreak havoc on your ability to stick to healthy eating. So pick foods that are healthy, satisfying, and you like.
I have all my new clients log their foods in one of our custom journals so their eyes can be opened to what they are really putting in their bodies. The act of putting pen to paper and seeing with your own eyes makes people automatically start eating a little better, and isn’t that we are looking for? Each day be you — only better.
Peter San Nicolas owns Ramona Fitness Center at 558 Main St.