The Glycemic Index Review

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What You Should Know

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The Glycemic Index is a list that ranks foods according to how quickly it spikes blood glucose levels after consumption, and also is the center of some diets such as The South Beach Diet and NutriSystem. It also is the base of another diet of the same moniker, the GI Diet, which prescribes dieters to eat a diet rich of low GI foods as a means of losing weight. According to studies conducted on low GI foods, it lessened the symptoms of diabetes, decreased the chance of obesity, and even decreased the chance of developing high blood pressure or cholesterol. The index is divided into three categories which evaluate how quickly carbs raise blood glucose levels — high GI includes most sweets and unrefined carbs whereas low GI includes fruits, vegetables, and some types of pastas.

It is hypothesized that bigger spikes in blood glucose trigger the body’s hunger signals, which in turn causes a person to eat more food. Supporters of The Glycemic Index claim that eating a diet rich in medium and low GI foods will help people lose weight while reducing the chances of obesity-related disorders, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Further tests are needed to confirm these benefits, but current studies show these claims are somewhat legitimate, and dieters do experience some weight loss.

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The Glycemic Index is promoted as a guide for dieters who want to lower their chance of developing diabetes while losing weight, and some dieters do legitimately lose weight. In previous studies conducted on the GI Diet, an 8% body fat loss was reported. Some say this is due to the foods included in the low GI category. Fruits, vegetables, unprocessed grains and milk are included in this category, which is typically prescribed in most diets because it prevents glucose levels from rising too abnormally. There is research showing bigger spikes in blood glucose levels lead to hunger and cause individuals to eat more than expected.

“Diet” foods are not automatically branded low GI foods however. They must be able to release sugar more slowly, and eggs and meat are also included in this category. Foods marketed as diet food, such as baked potatoes, are actually included in the high GI category because of the sugars contained in the carbs. Anyone following a low GI diet are essentially eating a carb free diet, which is very similar to the Atkins or South Beach Diet. The foods included in the low GI section aren’t always healthy, and this may be a concern for dieters. Simply following the Glycemic Index may not be enough, and critics of the list say dieters should focus more on nutritional value than its ranking as a GI food.

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Advantages

  • Is a base for many diets, including The South Beach Diet and NutriSystem.
  • There is evidence it could reduce the risk of developing Type II Diabetes and obesity-related issues.

Disadvantages

  • Not all low GI foods are necessarily healthy — or diet-friendly.
  • This is not a diet, and is going on continual editing because of increased research into GI food.
  • Eating a diet of low GI food may make dieters at risk for malnutrition, due to the lack of variety in the list.

Conclusion

The Glycemic Index only shows what types of food cause different spikes in blood glucose level, which makes this an essential list for diabetics. It is also the basis for low carb diets, but this does not mean it is necessarily safe. It might be a useful list to evaluate if you want to manage your diet and are worried about diabetes, but other diets may provide more substantial support and benefits.

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2 User Reviews about The Glycemic Index

  • 1
    E.T.Gravette

    Where do I find the Guide to the Glycemic Index?

    [Reply]

  • 2
    Charles Blake

    I am looking for the glycemic index, a list published in 2002 under Food and Nutrition. I can’t find it on your site. Help?

    [Reply]