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The Glycemic Index

Posted on June 23, 2018 | No Comments on The Glycemic Index

Carbohydrates present in bread and other bakery products, rice, root crops, cereals, fruits and vegetables contributes to 70 percent of the total dietary intake among Filipinos (2003 FNRI-DOST National Nutrition Survey). Carbohydrate foods may be classified as “available” or “unavailable”. Available carbohydrates are the easily digested food, e.g.white bread and rice, while the unavailable carbohydrates are the slowly digested food, e.g. high fiber foods like kamote and mongo.

When you eat a bolus of rice, there is an abrupt increase in blood glucose after 30 minutes and a subsequent fall after 45 minutes. The abrupt increase in blood glucose is not good since insulin may not be sufficient to break down glucose into energy. Therefore, glucose remains in the blood and may stay in the circulation or stored as glycogen and be converted to fat.This may lead to type 2 diabetes mellitus or weight gain.

On the other hand, when you eat high fiber foods e.g. kamote, there is a slow increase in glucose response at 30 minutes onwards and a slow fall at 120 minutes.Your insulin will be sufficient enough to break down glucose into energy. For this reason, the Glycemic Index (GI) concept started.

Thus, GI is defined as a classification of food based on the blood glucose response of an individual to food relative to a standard glucose solution or a starchy food e.g. white bread. It is a therapeutic principle for diabetes mellitus by slowing carbohydrate absorption.

The GI of foods may be classified into low (< or = 55), medium (56-70), and high (>70).The lower the GI of food, the better it is for people who wanted to reduce weight, and most importantly in the proper control and management of diabetes mellitus. Low GI foods have also been shown to lower serum cholesterol, and can therefore help prevent risk for cardiovascular and coronary heart disease.

FNRI-DOST is currently conducting a study on the GI of other carbohydrate-rich foods commonly consumed in the Philippines with the endpoint of publishing a handbook of glycemic index for use of clinicians, nutritionist-dietitians, food manufacturers, industries, and the general population.

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