The Glyx method: Does it make your body happier?
Have you ever heard of the Glycemic Index? This index classifies foods containing carbohydrates according to their blood-sugar-increasing effect. According to the Glycemic Index (GI), also called glyx, it is not only the carbohydrate content per se that is decisive for the increase in blood sugar after the consumption of carbohydrate-containing foods, but also the type and speed of the increase in blood sugar.
If you take the same amount of white rice and lentils as an example, rice will cause a rapid rise in blood sugar, whereas lentils cause blood sugar to rise only slowly. To find out why these different effects of certain foods on blood sugar rise, click here.
The GI indicates the blood-sugar-increasing effect of carbohydrates in numbers. To determine the GI, the duration and level of the increase in blood sugar after consumption of 50 g carbohydrates from a foodstuff are measured.
The reference value is the increase in blood sugar after intake of 50 g glucose, which is set to 100%. Carbohydrate-containing foods that trigger a rapid and/or high increase in blood sugar therefore have a high glycaemic index.
Foods with no or low carbohydrate content such as meat, fish, fats and oils influence blood sugar only indirectly and therefore have no GI. In other words, a GI of 50 indicates that the increase in blood sugar in the rated food is only half the increase in glucose.
In addition to GI, another term, Glycemic Load (GL), was defined to take into account the amount of carbohydrate-containing food consumed. GL is defined as the product of the GI (%) of a food and the carbohydrate content (g) of the portion. For example, carrots have a GI of 71, comparable to that of white bread.
However, as they contain only 4 % carbohydrates, a GL of 4 results per portion, which is a negligible value. Expressed in numbers, 1.6 kilograms of carrots would have to be eaten in order to exceed 50 grams of KH. For white bread, taking 104 g is enough to give the desired 50 g KH.
As already mentioned, foods with a high GI cause blood sugar to rise rapidly and highly. High blood sugar levels and frequent blood sugar peaks put a strain on the metabolism and in the long run lead to damage to blood vessels in the eyes, feet, kidneys, etc. These findings have led to this classification:
- Bad: GI greater than 70 – white flour products, cakes, cornflakes …
- Medium: GI values between 50 and 70 – potatoes, rice, corn, banana,…
- Good: GI less than 50 – vegetables, pulses, wholemeal bread, dairy products, nuts,…
More and more people suffer from obesity, fat metabolism disorders, high blood pressure and elevated blood sugar levels. If several of these factors come together one speaks of the metabolic syndrome in medicine.
In order to prevent this illness and/or to therapieren it a healthy balanced nutrition plays an important role. With the suitable nutrition an insulin resistance and predominance can be worked against.
If blood sugar levels are already high, it is advisable to select foods with a low GI or GL. In practice this means carbohydrate-containing food always with a high fiber content select.
These are whole grain products, pulses, vegetables, most fruits and nuts. Since a healthy diet cannot be limited to just one nutrient group, the selection of high-quality fats and protein sources must also be taken into account.
Since the GI describes the rise in blood sugar after 50 g of carbohydrates and not 50 g of pure food, some healthy foods are classified as unhealthy because they have a high GI.
Good examples are carrots, beetroot and watermelon. This approach makes food difficult to compare. In addition to GI, it is also important to consider the glycemic load, which also takes into account the carbohydrate content of the individual foods.
In addition, the actual blood sugar reaction depends strongly on which foods are consumed together. If one prefers foods with a low GL as part of a healthy balanced diet, this helps to keep the blood sugar and thus the insulin level at a more moderate, even level.
High carbohydrate foods with a low glycemic index are an appropriate high carbohydrate choice, provided that the other ingredients of the foods are appropriate. GI values should not be seen in isolation but in relation to other factors such as
Energy content, content of other macro- and micronutrients and fibre. For example, some foods may have a low GI but still contain high levels of saturated fats and free sugars, such as butter biscuits. If the food is considered holistically, the GI can be a helpful additional evaluation criterion for suitable carbohydrate-containing foods.
If GL is also used in addition to GI, it can help to assess carbohydrate-containing foods in terms of their effect on blood sugar.