Grains, Pasta and the Food Glycemic Index
Dr. David Jenkins and his fellow researchers developed the food glycemic index at the University of Toronto in the 1980’s. Since then, the GI, (as it is also known) has been used to help thousands of people, ranging from dieters and diabetics to those who are health conscious. The GI is a valuable tool in that it tells users what foods will cause their blood sugar levels to drop and what foods will keep their blood sugar levels normal. By using the food glycemic index, it is possible to know to which foods are best to avoid. Many of the carbohydrates found in highly processed and fast foods are high on the food glycemic index, such as white bread, corn based products, white rice and many breakfast cereals. Such foods are digested quickly and release their glucose into the bloodstream quickly as well. In short, it is best to find alternative foods in order to avoid these problems.
Substitutions are Key on the Food Glycemic Index
One way of avoiding these food glycemic index problems is to opt for whole-wheat foods and brown rice instead of white rice. While many whole-wheat foods may still be higher on the glycemic index than is ideal, they will still be an improvement over other options. While foods such as fruits, vegetables and many nuts are usually low on the GI, there are some grain options that are also low on the GI. Barley, oats and buckwheat are all good alternatives as are some wheat products as rye bread.
Wheat based pasta is usually far lower on the GI than many other options, such as products made with white flour or many corn or rice offerings. While couscous may be quite nutritious, it can also be rather high on the GI and thus should be avoided by those who are looking to go the low food glycemic index route.
If you are thinking that carbs and the GI sounds a bit tricky, you are definitely correct. In general, the easiest way to think of it is to assume that most processed food and fast food is likely to be high on the index. Also, bread, in general, should be treated with suspicion. Wheat bread should be looked at with caution. Some breads like rye and pumpernickel can be better options, but again, one must carefully consult the food glycemic index. You may potentially even research specific products to be completely sure of where a given food stands on the GI.
While we all love carbs, it is clear that our beloved carbs present a challenge for those looking to stay on the low side of the GI. But don’t give up. Through using the food glycemic index as a guide, it is quite possible to have your cake and eat it too.