New Study Questions Usefulness of Glycemic Index
and then, you might read that some people in the field of diabetes or nutrition
claim that it’s a good idea to use the glycemic index as a way to control
your blood sugar. The glycemic index
assigns numbers to foods, with the highest number being 100. Foods with higher
numbers break down quickly during digestion and cause sugar to enter your
bloodstream more quickly. White bread and potatoes have high glycemic values,
for example, while apples, broccoli, cabbage and tomatoes have low glycemic
who are supporters of the glycemic index say that foods low on the scale make
you feel full longer and help you to have fewer food cravings, which in turn
can help with weight control. These supporters also say that eating low glycemic
index foods will make your blood sugar levels remain more steady.
not that the supporters of the glycemic index are wrong, exactly. It’s true
that many of the foods high on the scale do raise blood sugar quickly. The
problem with the index is that there are too many exceptions. For example,
chocolate and meats are low on the glycemic index. But they’re also relatively
high in fat and calories, and they contain no fiber. People are able to manipulate
the glycemic index foods to convince themselves they’re doing a good job of
controlling blood sugar, but what they’re really doing is cheating themselves.
recent study seems to confirm that the inconsistency of the glycemic index
makes it an unreliable tool for blood sugar management. The study, published
in the British Journal of Nutrition, analyzed food questionnaires from 1,000
people over a 5-year period. There was no indication that people who ate foods
low on the scale had better blood sugar control than people who ate foods
higher on the scale.
researchers in the study suggest that you should take the fat and calorie
content of foods, in addition to their glycemic index scale, into account
when you’re trying to control your blood sugar. This is where a nutritionist
or dietitian would be extremely helpful. These experts can help you determine
which foods will be helpful and which ones to avoid.
always, common sense plays a role, whatever tool you’re using. Plenty of high
fiber foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, reasonable portion sizes, regular
exercise. These are the hallmarks of healthy eating.
British Journal of Nutrition, February 2006