Before I jump into explaining high glycemic foods and how they relate to Insulin Resistance, let me refresh your memory.
High glycemic foods are either processed to have their fiber content removed or are high in sugar and low in fiber. This causes the sugar in them to be absorbed into your blood stream more quickly, spiking your blood sugar and insulin levels.
High Glycemic Foods:
On the other hand, fibre-rich foods generally have a low glycemic index (55 or less), although not all foods with a low glycemic index (GI) necessarily have high fiber content.
Fibre slows down the breakdown of carbohydrates and releases sugar into your bloodstream more slowly, elevating insulin levels gradually. Eating meals with the right amount of low glycemic carbohydrates helps you burn fat faster, control cravings and keeps you feeling full longer.
For an overview of the GI of over 100 foods, you can visit this page.
Glycemic Index and Insulin Resistance
A high-GI diet appears to increase insulin resistance after meals. British researchers compared the effects of a high-fat diet, a low-GI diet, a high-GI diet and a high sucrose (table sugar) diet on insulin resistance in middle-aged men with heart disease risk factors. Despite containing the same number of calories, the high-GI diet caused greater fluctuations in blood sugar and insulin levels (not all calories are created equal!).
Insulin Resistance and Heart Disease
In a Harvard study, researchers explain that high-GI carbs may boost heart disease risk by aggravating pro-inflammatory processes like insulin resistance. Insulin resistance means glucose from food is not effectively cleared but lingers in the blood stream triggering inflammation. Eating lots of rapidly digested high-GI carbohydrates increases the risk of heart disease, particularly in overweight women who are already prone to insulin resistance.
Numerous studies have shown that overweight adults on low-GI diets have lower levels of inflammatory markers and lower blood levels of bad LDL cholesterol than their overweight peers who eat high-GI diets - even if they didn’t lose weight on the low-GI diet.
Inflammation in Type 2 Diabetes
Another study from Harvard showed that diets high in low-GI whole grains and portion-controlled carbohydrates may have a protective effect against systemic inflammation in diabetic patients. Portion control of carbohydrates – even when you’re eating low-GI carbs – means you’re eating the controlling your glycemic load.
In this 2007 report, long-term, epidemiological studies were reviewed to reach the conclusion that low-GI diets reduce oxidative stress and guard against system-wide inflammation that may mark the beginnings of type 2 diabetes.
Wrapping up, I want today’s takeaway for you to be: focus on eating low glycemic carbohydrates that are high in fiber to manage your weight more easily, feel full for a longer time, reduce inflammation in your body and help prevent insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes.
Although the glycemic is not an all-around perfect measure (read all about the glycemic load here), it is a great start to help you eat meals that will help balance your blood sugar – the key to successful, long term weight loss.
What does a balanced meal look like? I’ve made a 3-Day blood sugar balancing meal plan available for you here.
Leave your questions in the comments or share with a friend if you found this useful!
In health & happiness,
Natalie McCrae R.H.N.
I transform women's body's by teaching them to eat balanced meals so that they can quickly lose weight, without giving up 🍫 & 🍷