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Apr 10 2012

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Understanding the Glycemic Index

By Caty Millburg- Nutrition Expert

Clean eating doesn’t have to be agonizing. By making a few adjustments and substitution, most of us can be well on our way to a healthier lifestyle.  Familiarizing ourselves with the Glycemic Index is often a great place to start.  The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly certain foods affect our blood sugar levels.  Basically, simple carbohydrates are considered high which means they cause a spike in blood sugar.  This is what we want to avoid.

Why is it bad to have a lot of high glycemic foods?  When food is broken down into its most simple form, glucose, it enters our body cells and initiates energy production within the cells.  Foods that are high on the glycemic index provide glucose to the cells much more rapidly.  This causes the body to have an initial surge of energy and then a sudden depletion.  With low glycemic foods, the food is broken down much more slowly and allows for a slower release of glucose to the cells, therefore providing a slower, more constant energy source to keep the body energized all day.

Foods that are low on the glycemic index are also generally higher in fiber.  This fiber content helps our digestive systems by pulling in water to make it easier to go to the bathroom.  In general, people should strive to eat foods that are low in on the glycemic index whenever possible.  By doing so individuals can better manage weight, increase the bodies sensitivity to insulin, improve diabetes management, reduce the risk of heart disease, improve blood cholesterol levels, help manage and reduce hunger, and prolong physical endurance.  High glycemic foods can be beneficial after exercise to replenish glucose stores in the body.

To find out more information on exactly which foods are considered high and low on the glycemic index visit www.glycemicindex.com.  This website also allows users to search for specific food items and find out how they might affect a person’s blood sugar.

BalanceDiet in Longview offers some delicious snack options that will not cause a spike in blood sugar.  Normal candies and snacks are used with highly refined flours and sugars, but BalanceDiet has similarly tasting bars and snacks that won’t cause the negative reaction in the body.  BalanceDiet also offers a variety of natural supplements to help control cravings for some of those “junk” items that can cause such a negative reaction.  To find out more information call (903)663-5900 or stop in at 3080 N. Eastman Rd. Suite 108 in the shopping center near Target.

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