Carbohydrate foods can now be classified as producing either a high, moderate, or low glycemic response.
Foods that produce a high glycemic response are expected to produce a greater increase in muscle glycogen when compared to foods producing a low glycemic response, due to the rapid increase in blood glucose levels. This is practical. The body stores excess. It stores protein, carbohydrates, and fats as fat when they are in excess. It stores carbohydrates as glycogen when it is in excess first, and when glycogen stores are full, converts the excess into fat.
The original train of thought used to be that complex carbohydrates are digested slowly and would therefore cause little increase in blood glucose levels.
Simple carbohydrates caused blood glucose levels to rise rapidly and cause a “crash” as they came down quickly as well.
Then came the term “glycemic response”, which measures the increase in blood glucose levels after a food or combination of foods are consumed. That is because some complex carbohydrates can be digested, absorbed and utilized as quickly as simple sugars, meaning that they have similar glycemic responses.
In order to make sense of this, the terms glycemic index and glycemic load came into the public eye.
The calculation to determine the GI of a food is given below. The GI for a particular food or combination of foods is determined by:
Compare the blood glucose response within a 2-hour time period following ingestion of 50 grams of that food, with white bread, which has a GI of 100, and is the standard for all comparisons. The other comparison is with 50 grams of glucose, which also has a GI of 100.
Foods with a high GI cause a greater change in blood glucose and insulin, which results in greater glycogen replacement in the muscles.
This can be important information to athletes, who will need reserve carbohydrates in their muscles to perform, and ward off pre-mature fatigue.
As you will learn later, insulin has a very important role in weight loss as well. Avoiding carbohydrates all together can be a mistake, but choosing foods lower on the glycemic index can make or break a weight loss program.
My Signature Method, Your Signature Move!