Glycemic Index (GI)

All carbohydrates are not created alike. Some raise blood sugar levels faster than others after they are eaten.  The Glycemic Index (GI) is a measure of just how fast a given food affects a persons blood sugar levels. Foods that have a high GI raise blood sugar quickly. Foods that have a low GI index raise blood sugar more slowly.
Why is this important? A quick rise in blood sugar produces a strong insulin response. The insulin causes the body to removes the sugar from the blood and storing it as fat.

Atkins dieters seek to avoid producing strong insulin responses and, will make a life long switch away from foods with a high GI  to those with a lower GI.

When choosing cereals: choose whole grain cereals. These are not ground so fine and also contain fibre. Fibre slows the absorption of sugar into the body, and coarse ground foods have lower surface area and so are digested more slowly.

When choosing bread: chose whole grain breads. Same goes for pasta, choose whole wheat pasta.

The potato, however is one to avoid. This has a GI rivalling that of sugar. The starches in the potato are absorbed very quickly, same goes for white bread.

For an excellent discussion of the Glycemic Index, see the Harvard School of Public Health article at:

Last Modified: Tue, 01 May 2007 08:43:30 GMT