How To Lower The Glycemic Index Of Any Meal
Pick up any popular diet book written in the last 20 years, and you'll probably
find a section on the glycemic index in there somewhere.
Books such as The Montignac Method (known also as Eat
Yourself Slim), The South Beach Diet, The
Atkins Diet and The
Zone Diet all promote the idea that foods with a high glycemic
index raise blood sugar levels. In theory, these foods cause large
amounts of insulin to be secreted, leave you feeling hungry, and
make it more difficult to lose fat.
The glycemic index is a tool used to rank different types of food
according to the effect they have on blood sugar levels. Foods that
lead to a rapid rise in blood sugar levels are known as high glycemic
index foods. Foods that lead to a slower rise in blood sugar levels
are said to have a low glycemic index.
However, there are other ways besides eating only low GI foods to lower the glycemic index of a meal...
Add vinegar or lemon juice to your meal. Studies show that
a few teaspoons of vinegar added to a meal lowers the glycemic index
by 20-40% .
Vinegar (along with foods such as pickled cucumber)
also helps to lower the insulin response to a starchy meal, possibly
by slowing the rate at which the meal leaves your stomach [3, 4].
Vinaigrette dressing (one tablespoon of vinegar and two teaspoons
of oil) works just as well. You can also use lemon juice if you
Include fresh fruit or vegetables in your meal. Including
fresh fruits and vegetables in a meal also lowers the glycemic index
At breakfast, rather than filling your bowl with cereal, cut
the serving size in half, and replace the cereal with fruit such
as blueberries or strawberries. Including vegetables such
as celery, broccoli, onions, spinach, tomatoes or peppers
with your lunch or dinner works in the same way.
The glycemic index is not the only, nor the most important, criterion
by which to judge a food. But when it's used to supplement
other information about food (rather than replacing it),
using the glycemic index is a step in the right direction for anyone
wanting to improve the quality of their diet.
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About the Author
Christian Finn holds a master's degree in exercise science, is a certified personal trainer and has been featured on BBC TV and radio, as well as in Men's Health, Men's Fitness, Muscle & Fitness, Fit Pro, Zest and other popular fitness magazines.
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1. Jenkins, D.J., Kendall, C.W., Augustin, L.S., Franceschi,
S., Hamidi, M., Marchie, A., Jenkins, A.L., & Axelsen, M. (2002).
Glycemic index: overview of implications in health and disease.
Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 76, 266S-273S
2. Sugiyama, M., Tang, A.C., Wakaki, Y., & Koyama, W. (2003).
Glycemic index of single and mixed meal foods among common Japanese
foods with white rice as a reference food. European
Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 57, 743-752
3. Liljeberg, H., & Bjorck, I. (1998). Delayed gastric emptying
rate may explain improved glycaemia in healthy subjects to a starchy
meal with added vinegar. European
Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 52, 368-371
4. Ostman, E.M., Liljeberg Elmstahl, H.G., & Bjorck, I.M. (2001).
Inconsistency between glycemic and insulinemic responses to regular
and fermented milk products. American
Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 74, 96-100