Friday, March 12, 2010

GI Blues, Part One

Sorry, I haven't been on in a couple of days.  We have been having issues with our cable service and wireless router.  If you've ever had to call a technician for help and been put on hold forever, you surely understand.  I've also been spending a lot of time preparing and rehearsing for tomorrow night's Natasha Neely concert, in which I am playing drums.  I am so looking forward to the show.  Natasha is very good and I'm happy to have been asked to play.
As we discussed in my last blog, I'm researching the Glycemic Index, or GI, what it is, what it means, does it really matter, and should you even consider it.  Here's the first part of what will be a series. 
The glycemic index is a scale that measures how quickly carbohydrates are broken down into glucose. The original purpose of the glycemic index was to help diabetics keep their blood glucose under control.  It is a measure of how quickly carbohydrates raise blood glucose and, thus, insulin levels.
But, lately it has attracted so much attention, you can't turn on the TV or pick up a magazine without seeing a weight loss plan that bases it's entire diet on it.  Diet books such as "The Zone," and "Sugarbusters" worship the index like some kind of idol.
While the glycemic index may be useful in some applications, the problem in basing your entire weight loss plan on the glycemic index to dictate all your carb choices is that the index is based on carbohydrates being eaten by themselves in a fasted state.  What I'm saying is, the index numbers change if you're not fasting or when carbs are eaten with fats and proteins.  Overall nutrient value of a food also affects the GI.  How you cook a food, the degree of processing, the ripeness and variety of a fruit, are some other examples of things that affect the GI.  And since the index only identifys the effect different foods have on blood sugar levels when those foods are eaten alone, many nutritionists believe this is one of the main problems with the GI.  When you mix different foods as for a meal, the GI value of the whole meal changes, so it is extremely difficult to correctly calculate the GI for a meal.  Many nutritionists consider this a limitation.
Another problem I find with the GI plans, is that it discourages fats.  And you all know how I feel about that.  And one GI plan even suggested that since it was so complicated, maybe it would be easier to just become a GI vegetarian.  Outrageous! 
I'm going to make this a multi-part blog as it is a complicated issue and I don't want to overwhelm you with a bunch of facts and figures.  I'll write more later.  Have a good day.  See ya!

No comments:

Post a Comment