Keep your weight down and your energy up with the glycemic index.

When you eat a high-glycemic food, the sugar in that food becomes readily available as soon as it passes through the stomach to the intestines. You may feel a sudden surge of energy as sugar (in the form of glucose) pours into your blood. Your body will react to the glucose elevation by producing more insulin to metabolize it. However, the insulin rush will deplete that blood glucose within the next couple of hours. You may even feel exhausted, shaky, and woozy if your glucose level drops too low too quickly, a state called hypoglycemia. And you’ll probably crave a high-glycemic snack, which certainly won’t help with weight loss.

In contrast, low-glycemic foods require more processing time in the digestive system as enzymes work to separate the sugar from other components. Glucose flows slowly into the bloodstream, and insulin is released gradually, too. As a result, you remain sated longer and are less likely to overeat.

Some people mistakenly think that because diet drinks usually contain sugar alternatives, they are low-glycemic – have a low impact on blood sugar, and don’t cause rapid blood glucose increases like high-glycemic foods. If you’re using the glycemic index as a method for meal planning, it’s crucial to know that some diet drinks influence your blood sugar. The glycemic index, or GI, ranks foods from zero to 100 based on how quickly they raise blood sugar. Your body absorbs high-GI foods quickly, causing a rapid blood sugar increase. Conversely, low-GI foods are digested slowly, resulting in a more steady rise in blood glucose. Foods considered high GI have a score of 70 to 100, while a moderate GI is 50 to 70, and a low GoI is below 50. If you’re following a low-GI diet for diabetes management or weight control, you’ll need to choose low-GI beverages. Even though diet drinks have fewer calories and some are low-glycemic, it’s crucial to avoid drinking soft drinks in excess. As with the rest of your diet, moderation is key. Researchers warn that consuming excess sugar substitutes, such as sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners, may contribute to obesity, according to a study published in the September 2012 issue of the journal “Obesity Review.” Aim to have a well-balanced diet, beverages included.

It’s important to know that aliments like fish, meat, and eggs don’t contain carbohydrates and have really low Gl:

Low-Glycemic Fruit

  • Apples
  • Peaches
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Cranberries
  • Blueberries
  • Pears
  • Grapefruit

Low-Glycemic Vegetables

  • Green peas
  • Onions
  • Lettuce
  • Greens (spinach, kale, collards, beet)
  • Green beans
  • Cucumbers
  • Bok choy
  • Mushrooms
  • Artichokes
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Peppers (bell peppers, jalapenos, serrano, etc.)
  • Zucchini and crookneck squash
  • Snow peas