Glycemic Index

You might be thinking, what the heck is a glycemic index?  Before I became very passionate about health and fitness, I would have had the same thought.  But don’t worry, I’ll try not to get too technical.  And to give you a good resource, check out http://www.glycemicindex.com/, where I have learned quite a bit about the glycemic index.  Basically, all carbohydrate rich foods have a glycemic index score.  Where a food ranks on the glycemic index indicates how much of an effect that food will have on your blood glucose and insulin levels.  Foods with a higher score on the glycemic index will have a big impact and will spike your blood glucose, or blood sugar levels.  Foods with lower glycemic index scores will not impact your blood sugar and insulin levels as quickly, and promote a slower, more gradual increase in those levels.

So why is this important?  This is important because the glycemic index of the foods you eat can have a really big impact on how full you feel and your ability to manage your weight.  It also plays a big role in helping people with diabetes control their blood sugar levels.  Foods that rank higher on the glycemic index are absorbed and digested much faster than those with a low rank, so they spike your blood sugar levels, and also don’t keep you full very long.  This can lead to packing on fat and overeating because you’ll feel hungry again sooner.  In contrast to that, foods with a lower glycemic index take longer for your body to digest and absorb, so your blood sugar levels rise gradually instead of rapidly, and you will feel full longer.  This keeps your energy levels more constant, so you don’t have the spike in energy and the crash later.  And it helps reduce food cravings, so you will be less likely to overeat.  From http://www.glycemicindex.com/, some of the researched benefits of a low glycemic index diet include:

-helping you manage your weight
-helping you feel fuller, longer after eating
-helping you manage your diabetes
-helping you reduce the risk of heart disease

So as you can see, not all carbohydrate rich foods are the same.  Simple carbs, like white breads or sugars, will have a higher glycemic index.  More complex carbs, like whole grains and oats have a lower glycemic index.  The more low glycemic index foods you incorporate into your diet, the fuller you will feel throughout the day which will help you control your weight.  This is a big reason that Shakeology keeps you feeling so full, because it has a low glycemic index.  I know for me it helps me reduce my food cravings, which is why I have been drinking it almost every day for the last year!  Check out more info here.

To look up specific foods to see where they rank on the glycemic index, check out this website: http://www.glycemicindex.com/.

As a side note, there is a time where it is ideal to spike your blood glucose and insulin levels, and that is immediately after an intense workout.  Spiking your blood sugar and insulin levels is important for muscle recovery.  So right after your workout, you should be eating foods that rank high on the glycemic index.  That’s where a good recovery drink is important.  Personally I use the P90X Results and Recovery formula, because it has the optimal 4 parts carb to 1 part protein ratio with no fat, plus a little creatine, glutamine, and arganine.  You can find more info about that here.

So hopefully that makes  sense.  Outside of just after an intense workout, incorporating foods that rank low on the glycemic index is very important in helping you control your weight and see great results with your workout program!

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