Glycaemic Index

With the term glycaemia index we mean the way the blood sugar increases in the blood after  a meal.  Foods which might influence the blood glucose are mainly carbohydrates containing meals such as pulses ,milk, fruits, milk products and sugar.  The range of increase of the glycaemia index depends on the kind of the carbohydrates, the way of preparation and  how well ripe the sources are.

Carbohydrates are divided in the simple ones  which are found in sugar, fruits, juices, milk products and honey and in the complex ones.   The complex ones are found in cereals, pulses, bread, rice, potatoes and pastas.   Simple carbohydrates  increase the blood glucose quicker than the complex ones.

Blood glucose increases quicker after the consumption of processed food with reduced fibre  e.g  white bread has higher glycaemia index than  brown bread. Fibre reduces the absorption of glucose and keeps the blood sugars in balance, however low fibre food stuff induce increase of blood glucose and an immediate production of insulin. Insulin is a hormone which regulates the sugar blood levels and the storage of fats.  A sudden drop of the blood sugar can cause weakness and make the person feel hungry more easily.

Glycaemia index is also influenced from how well ripe fruits are e.g a well ripe banana will increase the blood glucose more than a non ripe banana. Another important parameter is how well cooked a meal is e.g  al dente pasta have low index  than well cooked pasta, so they will increase the blood sugar less.

In conclusion the glycaemia index is defined by the degree certain food stuff influence the blood level. Processed foods without fibre, simple carbohydrates, well ripe fruit and over cooked meals increase the blood sugar contrary to the complex carbohydrates and food rich in fibre.

Yiannis Kerimis MSc RD

Clinical Dietitian


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