As I continue to evaluate those pesky “noes”, today the focus will be on the glycemic index. Have you ever heard of the glycemic index? Do you try to eat foods that are low on the glycemic index? If this is new to you, here’s a quick overview of what are low glycemic index foods and a list of glycemic index foods from Harvard Medical School.
There are quite a few diets that were created using the index. If you compare basic types of carbohydrates using this index it might generally point you to better choices (pumpernickel bread has a lower index than a french baguette) but overall I don’t think it is really a direct path to good health. There are many foods (like ice cream and pound cake) that are low on the index yet aren’t exactly on everyone’s list of top healthy foods! The glycemic index is really most relevant for diabetics who are trying to keep their blood sugar under control. Foods that contain fat, protein, and fiber generally will lower the rate at which food is digested and sugar will enter the bloodstream, therefore lowering the glycemic index (hello big juicy steak), but these three components are not the only hallmarks of a healthy diet! I have heard people say that they stay away from carrots, bananas, and sweet potatoes because they are too high on the GI but I don’t think there are many people out there who became overweight by eating those foods!
What it boils down to is this, you don’t need lots of complicated charts and indexes to follow a healthy diet! This is the kind of thinking that sells a lot of books. If you are told you need to buy someone’s book or follow a ‘special’ diet to be healthy, don’t believe the hype! Your best bet is to load up your plate with vegetables and fruits, add some lean protein (including fish, nuts, beans and low-fat dairy), if you are going to have a grain make it a whole grain and wash it all down with plenty of water. Top this recipe off with plenty of whatever physical activity you like best and call it a day!