Tuesday, March 16, 2010

GI Blues Part Three

Hello everybody.  I hope you are having a good day today.  My sons and I are painting the entire interior of a friends house out in the countryside this week.  I love spending so much time with my boys, although at 30 and 25 years of age, I guess I shouldn't call them that.  In my heart, though, they will always be 'my boys'.
Well, let's continue with the GI Blues.  I've been talking about the problems and confusion with the Glycemic Index, especially when used as what some call a low carb diet plan.  It is not, and I repeat, not, a low carb diet.  So, how useful is the GI?  Let's look at it together and you make up your own mind.
First, let's look at the classifications.  A GI of 70 or more is classified as high, 56 to 69 is considered as medium, while 55 and below is classifed as low.  That really doesn't tell us much, and I'll tell you why. 
According to the index, one grain of sugar has a GI of 64, but so does a pound of sugar. Crazy, huh?  So how much sugar can you eat?  There is no way of telling. And, at 64 sugar is classified as medium.  Sugar is medium?  What?
Another confusing thing to me is the GI of breads.  White bread is considered high.  Okay, I can see that.  Whole grain bread is considered low on many GI based diets, but it's GI is actually 69, which should make it medium.  And the difference between white bread and whole grain on the index is only 2 points.  White is 71 and whole grain is 69.  Another confusing thing about breads and grains is that the GI number given to them fluctuates depending on what country you're in.  Whole grain bread in the UK is listed at 74, which is higher than white bread.  And then there's the issue of the exact same foods, made by the exact same manufacturer, but in a different plant having widely differing GIs.  For example, Kellogg's All-Bran, has a GI of 30 in Australia, 38 in America, and 51 in Canada.  It makes my brain hurt.
So, what about whole grain flour?  Anywhere between 52 and 72 in Canada, as high as 78 in Australia, and in Kenya it's 87.  The exact same thing, only made in different countries with differences of 35 GI points.
And here is an example of something even crazier.  You might think that foods containing sugar would have a higher GI than the same food made without sugar, right?  Well, think again.  Banana cake made with sugar is 47,,,,,Banana cake made without sugar is 55!
Had enough?  Hang in there.  I'm almost finished.  Not only does where a food is made effect it's GI, the way a food is cooked or processed makes a difference.  This was recently found to be true in a study by the Department of Dietetics at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Hong Kong.
Lastly, let me address a problem as it relates to diabetics, with one example.  Fructose, or fruit sugar has a GI of 22, which is very much lower than suctrose, or table sugar, which is 64.  Got that?  Fructose has a much lower GI than regular table sugar, yet fructose is much more damaging to a diabetic's health than sugar.  Please, if you are diabetic, do not go on any diet plan based on the Glycemic Index.  It is not low carb, no matter what they tell you.
The Glycemic Index is weak, it has been over simplified, over hyped, and over sold.  It was not developed to be used as a weight loss plan and in my opinion, it should not be.  It may have some use in a clinical setting, but it is certainly of very limited use to the general population.
As far as I'm concerned, what matters to your body is not the GI of a carbohydrate, but the amount of carbohydrate.  50 grams of carbs is 50 grams of carbs not matter what the GI is.  And while most of the GI plans that I've seen advertised (advertised as in it'll cost you), bill themselves as low carb, if you look at the meal plans, it's the same old 'healthy' low calorie, low fat, high carb diet that has been failing dieters and ruining their health for decades.
So, I'm finished rambling about GI today.  And probably for a while.  I hope this information helps you and if you have any questions or comments please don't hesitate to write.  See ya!

No comments:

Post a Comment