Why a Low Glycemic Index is Still Relevant

The Glycemic index is a measure of how much a specific food increases blood sugar levels. It was established in 1980 by a Canadian professor, DR. David Jenkins. A healthy meal replacement should be designed to have a low glycemic index.

Vitaminfood meal replacements are a low glycemic index diet designed to help with weight loss and healthy glucose intake. This makes them healthy and suitable for breakfast, lunch or supper meal substitution.

The Glycemic index is a comparison of the effect of food on blood sugar to the effect of 50 g of pure glucose on blood sugar level. Pure glucose is the reference food and as a glycemic index of 100. Pure glucose is fully absorbed into the bloodstream. 

In recent light, a low glycemic index has become a desirable diet plan. Although it is not a comprehensive measure of nutrition on its own, it is all the same very important, especially for waistline freaks. This is an easy and efficient way to control your blood glucose levels from the plate.

The glycemic scale runs from 0-100. 0 is the lowest and closer to preferred values and 100 the highest. GI is used to rank only foods that contain carbohydrates like cereals, fruits, vegetables and legumes. Most meats are not ranked because they don’t contain a significant amount of carbs to be ranked.

The glycemic index separates the foods into 3 groups. The low, medium and high.

             Low GI ranks below 55

             Medium Gi is between 56-69

             High GI ranks above 70


Low glycemic value is the optimum and healthy position. Having said so, high glycemic also serves its function though rare, depending on the situation.

GI is important because it determines the blood sugar levels. The easier food sugar is to digest and absorb, the faster it will be absorbed into the body and cause a higher rise in the blood sugar levels. Vitaminfood is designed for the slow release of sugar into the bloodstream to help you avoid the spikes and crashes.

Glycemic index varies from food to food, depending on a couple of variables. The factors affecting this include:

  1.       Type of sugar
  2.       Structure of starch
  3.       Nutrient composition
  4.       Amount of processing and refining
  5.       Cooking method
  6.       Ripeness


Type of sugar:

 Contrary to popular belief, not all sugar has a high glycemic index. It varies depending on the food. Fructose for example is as low as 23 while maltose as high as 95. The sugar type varies across our foods and so does the GI.

Structure of starch:

There are two molecular structures for starch. The first one is amylose which is more difficult to breakdown and digest. Consequently, its GI is low as the impact it has on glucose absorbed is limited. Amylopectin, on the other hand, is easier to digest and is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream hence a high GI for foods with this structure.

Nutrient composition:

Foods with nutrients such as protein, fiber and fats have their GI lowered. These foods are broken down more slowly and also do not affect blood glucose. A composition including these alongside the sugar and carbs will take longer to create significant changes in the blood. Mixing these food types in a meal helps lower the GI.

Protein, fat and fiber are digested slowly, less is absorbed and cause slower and smaller increases in blood glucose if any at all. The combination of nutrients in Vitaminfood healthy shakes greatly lowers its glycemic index value.

Amount of processing and refining:

 The processes involved in refining strip the food off the complex carbs which take longer to digest. Whatever carbohydrates are left are easily and quickly broken down releasing a lot of glucose quickly. More simple sugars are added as sweeteners and flavors further increasing the GI of refined carbs.


Cooking method:

This will affect the ratio of easy to digest and difficult to digest foods. Boiling, for instance, increases the amount of resistant starch retained than other forms of cooking lowering the GI. Frying likewise, because of the fats added to the food, lowers the G; fats take longer to break down.

Roasting and baking break down the complex carbs and resistant starch producing simpler structures that are sweeter. Baked and roasted foods have a higher GI than their raw forms.

The time spent cooking is also worth noting. For certain foods as pasta and rice, cooking for longer increases the digestibility of the food thereby increasing its GI with time.


The ripening process involves the formation of sweet simple sugars that are easier to digest. For fruits like bananas, ripening raises the GI.


Foods with a low GI:

Mostly includes veggies, whole grain and legumes(have the lowest GI as a class of foods in general, because of their very high protein content)

Soy – 16, Kidney beans- 24, Chickpeas- 28, lentils-32




Foods with a high GI:

More refined foods

Bread, rice cereals, pasta and noodles, starchy vegetables, baked goods, snacks, sugar-sweetened beverages.

Others include watermelon- 76. Pineapple – 59, pumpkin-74, potatoes- 79.

This list doesn’t state that our favorite options are unhealthy. GI has its shortcomings and is undependable for assessing all health benefits of food. Read on to find out more and how to deal with it.

But first, let us establish its importance:

  1.       Weight loss

Controlling the carbohydrates intake undoubtedly controls weight gain. So a low GI is recommended for those looking to weight gain.

 Slow-release of sugar enables insulin to regulate it well enough and to burn the most calories at a time with no excess being directed to fat reserves.

  1.       Cholesterol levels maintenance

Low GI foods promote the breakdown of fats. Usually, they contain more fiber which reduces the low-density lipoprotein(bad cholesterol) content of the diet.  

  1.       Blood glucose control

 Blood glucose controls our energy levels and the risk of getting type 2 diabetes. In the case of repeated high glucose levels, the pancreatic action is impaired and the situation easily gets out of control. This gradually grows worse ending in type 2 diabetes.

A recent study indicated that those living on high GI diets are at a 33% higher risk of getting this chronic illness than their medium and low GI diet counterparts. Low GI foods take the day again.

Where are high GI foods useful?

Foods with a high glycemic index, however, are beneficial in rare occasions such as offsetting hypoglycemia and recovery from certain surgeries to provide a quick boost to blood glucose levels. Athletes and high-intensity trainers and workers also tend to favor such high GI for the energy boost it gives. In the case of extra energy requirements, foods that rank higher can be a suitable option.

Otherwise, it might increase your risk of breast, colorectal, pancreatic and prostate cancer.

The shortcoming of glycemic index.

  1. i) The shortcoming is that, as an independent measure, it does not provide a full nutritional profile but only focuses on the impact it has on blood glucose and how immediate that effect is.

But as we know, health goes way beyond just glucose and blood sugar level. Despite being crucial, there are toxins, vitamins, minerals, additives and more to watch out for in our diet. Glycemic index is very useful in only one of these areas and might give a false representation of the health of food if viewed separately.

It is important to consider more than just the glycemic index to get the best nutrient portfolio or else we will be trading unequal diets, all to our ruin.

  1. ii) GI doesn’t also indicate the amounts to be consumed. Take the example of watermelons, high GI but very low distribution density. You would need to eat a lot of watermelon to get a sugar crash despite its high GI.

The glycemic load measure was established to solve this dilemma. It indicates the quantity that affects blood glucose. Taking into account the amount of food, low glycemic load is any below 10, the medium is between 11- 20 and high is anything above 20.  One unit is an approximation of how much 1 gram of that food will raise the blood sugar level. It is more accurate and credible.

Your total daily glycemic load should be kept below 100.

How Vitaminfood helps you with your glycemic index and glycemic load.

We create shakes that transpose you to better health. Weight loss being a major goal for us, a low glycemic index diet is a necessity to achieve that result. Our calculated amounts take into consideration the rate of consumption.

Vitaminfood will help on your weight loss journey. Set up an account and subscribe to your low GI diet.