Ever noticed at the start of every new riding season, it seems your motorcycle suit and motorcycle gear seems to have shrunk? When in fact, over the winter we’ve taken on a few extra layers of insulation, you know, bucking up for winter’s cold. And we all know, how nice those comfort foods go down during a cosy evening by the fire-place. But instead of going through the challenge each new riding season, implementing a little attention to the your Glycemic Index (GI) you’ll find those extra kilo’s – will easily disappear or won’t even be noticed.
If you’ve never heard of the Glycemic Index (GI), it’s time to get with it. The GI is a recently developed method of classifying carbohydrates. Paying attention to this number can help you choose your foods more wisely and help keep your weight under control and even certain diseases at bay.
What is the Glycemic Index?
The GI (Glycemic Index) is a method of ranking carbohydrates according to how much they raise blood sugar levels after eating. The GI of a carbohydrate, which is represented by a number between 0 and 100, is a reflection on how fast it is broken down during digestion. The higher the GI of the food, the quicker it is to be digested. Carbohydrates that are broken down rapidly (and thus have a high GI) can cause marked fluctuations in blood sugar levels. This can cause drastic increases of sugar in the blood, which in turn trigger an increase of insulin to counter them. This can affect your mood, and give you a “sugar high”—followed by a “sugar low” once the insulin kicks in. However, carbs with a lower GI are digested slowly and take more time to be absorbed by the body, meaning they result in a lower insulin demand, as well as a steadier blood-glucose control overall.
What are the health benefits?
Recent studies from Harvard University have shown that people who have a diet with an overall low GI may be at lesser risk for coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes (resistance to insulin and reduced insulin production). A low GI diet has also been associated with better weight control (especially for women), and increased cardiovascular benefits.
Eating foods with a low Glycemic Index may help you to:
- Control your blood glucose (sugar) level
- Control your cholesterol level
- Control your appetite
- Lower your risk of developing heart disease
- Lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes
Can Managing My GI Help me Lose Weight?
Studies have shown that a diet consisting of foods with a low GI can be effective towards weight loss. As mentioned before, carbs that are digested rapidly cause a drastic increase in blood-sugar levels, followed by a sugar “low”, leaving you wanting more sugar, and craving more food. On the other hand, foods with a lower GI cause glucose levels to increase gradually, providing you with the feeling of being full for a longer period and keeping cravings to a minimum.
Bring on the food!
Typically, foods are divided into three categories:
Low GI (55 or less), Medium GI (55 – 69), and High GI (70 or more). Here are some examples of food, and of their GI values.
|Low GI (55 or less)||Medium GI (55 – 69)||High GI (70 or more)|
The more low GI foods you choose, the better your blood-sugar level control is bound to be; however, experts claim there is also something known as the “second meal effect”—this implies that eating low GI foods during one meal would also lessen the effect of what is eaten during the following meal on glucose levels. This means that there is no need to only eat low GI foods. The recommended goal, however, is to eat at least one low GI food per meal to make a continuous blood-sugar stability.
Healthy eating also means:
- Eating at regular times
- Choosing a variety of foods from all food groups
- Limiting sugars and sweets
- Reducing the amount of fat you eat
- Including foods high in fibre
- Limiting salt
But don’t forget . . .
- The GI is an interesting factor to take into account when making food choices, but it is not, by any means, the only thing to consider. Many factors may influence a certain food’s GI, such as how it was stored or cooked; the GI of a food also varies from person to person, and can even fluctuate for the same individual in the span of the same day.
- The GI can only be used to measure the influence of carbohydrates (and therefore, foods that contain a significant amount of them) on glucose levels. This method of classification therefore cannot be applied to all types of food.
Disclaimer: if you do have serious health problems (including issues with your weight, heart, or glucose levels), please consult your doctor and / or a dietician to discuss the eating plan that is the best for your specific needs.