Where Food Ranks: Getting to Know the Glycemic Index Chart
The glycemic index chart can get pretty confusing, if you're not sure what everything means. While it was originally made for doctors and patients to be on the same page of eating, if you don't understand the numbers, it won't do you much good.
Don’t consider the glycemic index chart a big, threatening beast - it can be a great thing, and really help you and your health, so step back and be willing to learn!
High, Low, and Everywhere in Between
When you look at the glycemic index chart, there's a lot of different numbers that go with the foods listed. They range from 0 to 100 depending on the food that's listed.
The numbers indicate how your blood sugar will spike. A number like 92 will mean that it digests fast in your system, and will bring your blood sugar up high quickly.
The lower the number, the slower it digests in your system - which means that it will slowly alter your blood sugar, much healthier for your body (especially if you're diabetic).
Reading the numbers takes some work, but understanding them is simple. With the majority of charts, a number lower than 55 means that it is considered low. Between 55-70 is a middle range, and above 70 is considered high.
The majority of charts won't list foods based on their index number – they are listed in food groups, or food types. Each chart is a little different, but they're all working on the same principle.
Why Are Some Foods Lower than Others?
People who idly glance at the glycemic index chart would be confused on many levels. After all, who would have guessed that a Snickers bar ranks in the 40's, but a bagel will hit you in the 70's?
The reason that this happens is that a Snickers bar not only has chocolate, but it has peanuts, which have plenty of protein. The protein in the peanuts slows the digestion of the rest of the food, meaning that it takes longer to digest.
This is the loophole of the glycemic index. If you eat something that's high on the index, you should eat it with protein. So add some peanut butter to that toast, and don't hesitate to eat a tuna sandwich.
This is why some foods may seem oddly ranked to you. If you didn't know better, it could seem like it was simply a listing of random numbers!
How This Information Helps You
The glycemic index is being used in numerous people, diabetic or not, and being able to master the index is a wonderful step towards health and longevity.
It will take time to really understand how to use the information you can find in a glycemic index chart properly, but you shouldn't hesitate to try to eat according to it before you've really mastered it. After all, you learn from experience!