Whenever you eat carbohydrates or sugar, your glycemia, or blood sugar level, goes up. How much and how quickly your blood sugar rises depends on the type of sugar ingested and insulin of course.
Developed in the early 1980s to help diabetics make wise food choices, the glycemic index concept has given rise to a new way of classifying carbohydrates.
Gone is the old terminology of fast and slow sugars. Now it’s all about the glycemic index (GI).
All carbohydrates are now classified on a scale of 1 to 100, 100 being the glycemic index of glucose.
A high-GI sugar has a strong hyperglycemiating effect and vice-versa.
Virtually all weight-loss diets are now based on the GI concept, which I think is entirely logical.
The protein-sparing diet, as I recommend it, follows the GI logic completely. As a matter of fact, it’s the diet with the lowest GI and, consequently, the most effective diet.
However, I do express a slight reservation on an approach based solely on the glycemic index because it, too, fails to take account of the individual.
The definition and classification of glycemic indices are based only of types of foods, and do not take into account each person’s unique reaction to a food.
For example, if you and I both eat the same chocolate bar, our pancreases won’t react exactly the same way. Consequently, that chocolate bar will not necessarily affect your weight the same way it does mine.
When in doubt, I continue to recommend that carbohydrate intake be minimized during the weight-loss phase. Selecting foods based on their glycemic index is crucial only for nutritional education during the maintenance phase that follows weight loss.