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[IP] Do You Take Glycemic Index Into Account



Kelly Wrote:
For those of you that count carbs and calculate your bolus at mealtime,
do you factor in the glycaemic index of the food you're about to eat?
Or, do you just correct for it later?

Ricardo Responds:
YMMV, but my viewpoint and experience with glycemic index mirrors the
viewpoint in this excerpt from an article in the Washington Post, May
2001.

...there are a lot of sugary dessert and snack foods that have little
in the way of fiber and nutrients yet are low on the glycemic index
scale. For instance, a baked potato has a glycemic index of 93, while
the glycemic index of jelly beans is only 80. And whole wheat bread has
a much higher glycemic index than frosted flakes. Furthermore, carrots
have a super-high glycemic index of 95, while sweet potatoes come in at
51. How do you begin to construct a healthful diet with numbers like
those?

You can't. Even proponents of the glycemic index theory seem a little
confused. For instance, page 54 of "The Glucose Revolution" says not to
worry about how many carrots you eat  or get bogged down in any
numbers when it comes to various vegetables and fruit  because produce
has so few calories to begin with that the amount of carbohydrates it
adds to the glycemic load isn't enough to worry about. Yet on page 132,
the book recommends substituting sweet corn for carrots because of the
corn's lower number. The same sticking-to-the-numbers thinking has the
book calling a hot chocolate an equivalent breakfast to a cup of
fat-free plain yogurt with peaches and raspberries.

Making matters more confusing still is that the glycemic index is not
set in stone; numbers are generated by a variety of research facilities
and do not necessarily match up. In one study, for instance, honey had
a moderate glycemic index of 58; in another, a high index of 87. It's
not surprising when you consider that glycemic indices are determined
by taking the average blood sugar responses of about 10 people after
they've eaten various foods. One group's average might differ
significantly from another's. Glycemic index may vary even in the same
person from one day to the next. And when you combine foods (after all,
who eats carrots, or even cereal or bread, in isolation?), the glycemic
index of the mixed dish or meal becomes much different than the
glycemic index of any one of the items. And no one has figured out a
way to carefully account for that. Comments Richard Mattes, a nutrition
researcher at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., "As soon as
you put two foods together, it makes the prediction of glycemic index
almost impossible," rendering the system practically useless in
real-world eating.

Even the physical state of a food can affect its glycemic index. At a
National Academy of Sciences meeting convened to discuss the amounts
and types of carbohydrates people should eat, Xavier Pi-Sunyer, a noted
obesity researcher at St. Luke's/Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York,
said that "subtle differences in a banana's ripeness can double its
glycemic index." And "the glycemic index of one-inch cubes of boiled
potato can be increased 25 percent by mashing them. How do you make a
rationale to patients?" he asked rhetorically. "Are you going to tell
the American public to cut out potatoes? Eat more sugar?" (Sugar has a
lower glycemic index than potatoes.)

Most health professionals agree and feel that trying to eat the
glycemic index way will only distract people from the key goal of
becoming thinner and fitter. Consider that losing excess weight is the
single most important thing people can do to stave off diabetes as they
age  but the American Diabetes Association says "the glycemic index
may be a difficult diet concept to follow," has questioned "its
clinical utility" and makes no recommendation about using it.

Ricardo
Dx'd 1967, Pumping since 1/14/2004 w/ Animas IR1000 and since 7/2/2004
w/ the Animas IR1200
.
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