The Glycemic Index was created in 1980 by the world-famous professor and physician, Dr. David J. Jenkins. This graphed theory apparently shows how long it takes carbohydrates to break down into sugar. His good intentions and clinical research has assisted many diabetics in regulating their blood sugar challenges.
But there was always something that made me uneasy about endorsing his findings and recommending this to my patients. I had too many questions. Why were all rice, cereals and breads lumped into one category? How could a nutrient-dense potato be as detrimental as a pastry with none? Raisin Bran is certainly better than Cornflakes and I don’t consider whole grain bread on par with enriched white. Nevertheless, unless the results have been ratified into more defined categories over the years, they were considered on the same level.
This fact wouldn’t actually make me more at ease because man’s ideas have always changed over time, but my God Never Changes. God’s Knowledge trumps man’s knowledge every time. I trust God. Each one of us is uniquely God designed. The glycemic index is intended to put each of us in a box. Well, sometimes a square peg can’t fit into a round hole no matter how diligently man tries to redesign it!
Regarding their clinical studies; I wanted to know how many participants were athletes as opposed to couch potatoes? What % of body fat were they? (muscle burns sugar) What was eaten before they attempted the test? How many hours before? (Carbohydrates remain in your system for 2-3 hours while protein stays for 4-5 and fat for 7 hours.) How did lifestyles factor into the tests? Each person has different daily stresses which affects our chemical make-up. Were some participants under family or work stress? Stress raises insulin with it’s “fight or flight” effect.
What about the fiber content of foods? I didn’t see where the glycemic index took that into consideration. Fiber allows insulin to be released more slowly into bodily systems so there are fewer blood sugar spikes. If one is following a low glycemic index, definite instructions must come with it! Long grain rice is more fibrous than quick cooking rice. I, along with the American Diabetic Association, recommends high fiber foods such as whole grains, beans, legumes while cutting down on unhealthy fats. According to the glycemic index however, one can head to Pizza Hut, consume half a pizza and then head to Ben and Jerry’s for some low glycemic ice cream. Whoopee, I like that diet!
Consuming LESS fibrous foods allows the body to release its water storage. Yes, one will lose weight. Not consuming carbs means less water weight, but it’s a mirage. Fiber attracts water to help with its digestive tract. As soon as you consume fiber, your body will absorb water naturally, but you’ll believe carbohydrates are the culprit.
Here’s another reason: Processed foods with all its artificial chemical ingredients are lumped alongside pumpkin with all its nutrients. Pumpkin contains vitamins A, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, C, E, K, calcium, iron, potassium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, copper, plus amino acids and more! How could they be equal?
To me the glycemic index doesn’t add up. So what other would I recommend? What’s my mantra again? Eat for nutrients: Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, herbs and lean protein will provide a healthy, balanced, joyful God-enriched life! (Genesis 1:29 & 9:3)
“But I would feed you with the finest of the wheat, And with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.” Psalm 81:16