By Dr. Rick Dina, D.C.The glycemic index (GI)
is generally defined as the effect that 50 grams of a given carbohydrate has on blood sugar (aka glucose) levels for two hours after eating, relative to
consuming the same quantity of straight glucose. In contrast, the overall
effect that a given carbohydrate has on the blood sugar level of an individual is influenced by many other factors as well, including the amount and types of fats consumed in the diet, the total amount of carbohydrate consumed, amount of body fat, activity level, and what other foods are consumed along with the carbohydrate in question. For example,
two individuals eating the exact same quantity of the exact same food can have radically different overall
blood sugar responses, although the relative
effect of that food compared to straight glucose will be similar for each individual, as illustrated below.Given what we see on these sample blood sugar response curves,
when glucose is given a score of 100, the sample meal gets a relative score
(or GI) of about 75. However, the overall blood sugar response of person A is considerably lower than that of person B for both straight glucose and our sample meal. In fact, person A's overall glucose curve is actually lower than person B's lower glycemic sample meal curve.As we can see though,
all else being equal, the glycemic index of a food does have an influence on blood sugar and can help us make wise choices. At right is a list of common sweeteners and their GI scores. Low GI ≤55, Moderate GI 56-70, High GI 71-100.
Eating a large vegetable salad along with the more concentrated holiday food can keep total calories lower while still eating things you enjoy. Additionally, taking a walk with your friends and family is both a nice activity and can help keep everybody's blood sugar lower.
Dr. Rick Dina, D.C.
Low-Glycemic Strawberry Mesquite Macadamia Shortcake
with Coconut Cream Topping