Glycemic index

A diet with a low glycemic index and low glycemic load is an important element in the prevention of diabetes, insulin resistance, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. A menu based on products that have a low glycemic index and are rich in dietary fiber is particularly important for people with impaired carbohydrate metabolism or people with a predisposition to this type of disorder. The slower absorption of carbohydrates by the body results in a slower increase in the level of glucose and less insulin delivery by the pancreas in response to food intake. The lower the variations in glucose and insulin in the blood, the easier it is to control your appetite. It is also an effective way to get rid of sleepiness after eating a meal.

 Glycemic index – what is it?
Glycemic Index (IG) is a parameter that determines the rate of increase in blood glucose after consuming carbohydrate products in comparison with the increase that occurs after consuming the same amount of carbohydrates as pure glucose. It is a way to measure the rate of conversion of carbohydrates contained in the product into glucose circulating in the blood.

It was assumed that the intake of 50 g of available carbohydrates (glucose) causes an increase in blood sugar level by 100%, this means that glucose has IG = 100. The higher the IG of a given product, the faster it is digested and the faster the blood sugar level is raised, and this, in turn, results in a large discharge of insulin by the pancreas. As a consequence, glucose levels are reduced, often even to values ​​lower than those at baseline, which leads to reactive hypoglycemia.


Reactive hypoglycemia is a condition in which the glucose falls below 55 mg/dl within 4 hours after eating a meal. This usually manifests as weakness, fatigue, confusion, convulsions, dizziness, and fainting. In order not to allow such a phenomenon, one should base in the diet on low and medium GI products. Low GI products are absorbed much slower due to longer digestion and do not cause such rapid fluctuations in glucose and insulin levels.

Due to the postprandial increase in blood glucose concentration, food products were divided into three groups

– products with a low IG ≤ 55,
– products with medium IG 56-69,
– products with a high IG ≥ 70.

It is worth choosing mainly products with the low and medium glycemic index. Products with a high glycemic index may appear in the diet sporadically, in small amounts and it is best to combine them with those with low GI.
Factors influencing the reduction of the glycemic index

Factors lowering IG is
– a high ratio of amylose to amylopectin, e.g. in legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, peas, beans, and also in barley;
– fructose content (present in fruit) and galactose;
– high content of β-glucan (present in grains, mushrooms, and bamboo);
– cooling (boiled potatoes should be cooled in a refrigerator to create a resistant starch, which will reduce the glycemic index of the product, such potato preparation allows inclusion in the diet, although it is not recommended for people with diabetes and insulin resistance);
– low maturity, e.g. green bananas;
– high content of lectins and phytates (included, among others, in legumes, peanuts, tomatoes, aubergines, peppers);
– high content of proteins, fats, organic acids;
– low fineness (rice will have a lower glycemic index than rice flour made from it).

Fats and proteins delay gastric emptying, digestion, and absorption of carbohydrates in the small intestine, and this reduces IG. In practice, it is worth combining a product containing carbohydrates (eg oatmeal) with a protein product (eg cottage cheese) and fat (eg nuts), then the glycemic index of the entire meal will be reduced. Similarly, in the case of buns, which is characterized by a high glycemic index – to lower it, it is advisable to consume buns with cottage cheese paste (source of protein) and fresh vegetables (source of dietary fiber) sprinkled with sunflower seeds (source of fat).

The water-soluble fiber fractions slow down or even inhibit the secretion of the enzyme (amylase) digesting sugar, which also causes a reduction in IG. Insoluble fractions do not affect the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates. Products containing organic acids (lactic acid) have a lower GI, so fermented dairy products such as yogurts, kefirs, buttermilk are characterized by lower GI than milk.

Resistant starch may also reduce IG – the more it is in a given product, the better; also because it is a medium for bacteria of the genus Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, which have a positive effect on the microbiota. To increase the amount of resistant starch in the diet, prepare starch products at high temperatures without water or in a small amount (baking or steaming) and consume starchy foods cooled, poured with cold water. The glycemic index of potatoes is high, but if we cool them down, IG will decline. In practice, this means that it is better to cook porridge, rice or pasta a day before and the next day to reheat it than to consume such a product freshly after cooking.

A minimum of one-day bread and immature fruits will also contain higher amounts of resistant starch, which becomes indigestible to the body, and thus – does not undergo conversion into glucose. Also, the dish becomes less caloric and more filling. Starch resistant will also reduce the need for insulin and will not cause fluctuations in the level of sugar.

Factors influencing the increase in the glycemic index
Factors increasing IG
– low amylose to amylopectin ratio, e.g. in rice, potatoes, and wheat flour;
– glucose content (both added to the food product at the stage of its production as well as resulting from the decomposition of starch as a result of long storage of vegetables or fruit);
– low content of β-glucan;
– roasting, extruding and cooking, e.g. corn, popcorn;
– high maturity, e.g. ripe bananas and grapes;
– low content of lectins and phytates;
– low content of proteins, fats, organic acids;
– high fragmentation;
– grain cleaning.

The traditional, long cooking of starch-containing products in the water causes a change in its structure. Under the influence of heat, bonds between molecules of starch start to crack and bind large amounts of water. Starch begins to swell and form gruel. The degree of pasting depends on the amount of amylose in the product. The fewer it is, the faster the product is digested, which means a rapid increase in blood glucose. How to apply this knowledge in practice?

A good example will be porridge prepared in two different ways. The higher glycemic index will have oatmeal prepared from instant oatmeal, which has been boiled for a long time in milk, than porridge prepared based on mountain oat flakes filled with yogurt. Several factors affect the increase in the first porridge of IG – cooking, product fragmentation and the lack of organic acids.

Too long storage of root and tuber vegetables also increases their glycemic index – young potatoes will have a lower GI than those stored a few months earlier. The time of day, the size of the meal and the speed of its consumption are also important. Fast food intake also increases its IG.

Glycemic load

If we use the glycemic index, we do not take into account the number of carbohydrates consumed in a given product, but only the quality and rate of glucose absorption. The parameter called glycemic load (LG) takes into account both the quality and the number of carbohydrates consumed.

The glycemic load is calculated by multiplying the number of available carbohydrates in a given portion expressed in grams by the IG of a given product. The value obtained should then be divided by 100.

LG = (carbohydrates digestible in a portion of g × IG) / 100

Due to the glycemic load, food products were also divided into three groups
– products with low LG ≤ 10,
– products with medium LG 11-19,
– products with a high LG ≥ 20.

The following values ​​are used to determine the daily intake of LHS
– low LG diet ≤ 79,
– a diet with an average LG 80-119,
– high LG diet ≥ 120.

It is not worth focusing only on IG, but also consider LAG, the following example may support this. Watermelon has a high IG (75), but due to the low carbohydrate content (about 8 g per 100 g of the product) is characterized by a low ŁG of 6 (ŁG = (75 × 8) / 100), which means that after consuming carbohydrates they will absorb quickly, but the blood glucose will not be high. The condition is, however, eating watermelon in an amount of about 100-150 g.

It is very important to properly compose meals. It is worth combining low IG products with those with medium GI to maintain balance in the meal. A diet with a low glycemic index and low glycemic load will help in weight reduction, glycemic regulation, and lipid profile. It will also reduce the risk of many civilization diseases and, consequently, improve quality and life expectancy.


How to take care of the appropriate level of sugar during training?

The level of sugar in the blood (glycemia) determines whether we feel good.

When it reaches the correct, moderate value, we are composed and full of energy. If you eat too much sugar, other simple carbohydrates or starch, too much sugar will be released into your bloodstream. We will feel really good for some time, but later, excessive amounts of sugar in the blood will cause insulin secretion, which usually ends in reducing the level of sugar to too low. In this state, we will feel a drop in energy, concentration disorders and problems with motivation. 


Here you can find sweeteners – CLICK 


When the blood sugar level stays stable throughout the day, we will be more motivated to exercise and we will be enthusiastic to welcome the possibility of a more active lifestyle. Just as food at different times of the day supports the metabolism, so the constant flow of balanced nutrients helps maintain stable blood sugar levels. 

No sugar mixed in the head

We should not allow the blood sugar level to reach an incorrect value. Low blood glucose loads the whole body and literally blends in our head. The brain is fed with sugar transported by blood, so when the supply of this fuel is reduced, the psychological load increases. 

If we do not eat anything for several hours before training, we will feel the intensity of negative messages saying that we have too little energy to exercise. 

A snack of something for a maximum of 30 minutes before training (the snack should contain simple carbohydrates and approximately 20% of protein) will reduce negative influences, improve our attitude and help us to go outside. Whether we have a snack at hand that will help us raise blood sugar levels will determine whether we decide to go to training or not. 

Fluctuations in blood sugar levels 

Eating a snack containing too many calories or simple carbohydrates can have a negative effect on your blood sugar level. When it is too high, the body begins to secrete insulin, which results in a drop in the level of sugar. Then there is an impulse to eat something else, which results in an excessive number of calories consumed, which are processed into fat. If we refrain from eating, then we will be hungry and quite unhappy – completely in the wrong mood for exercise and to use the movement. 

Frequent meals are the best 

When practitioners experiment with different snacks, the majority are convinced that they achieve a more stable blood sugar level through the use of an individualized combination of small meals. In order to achieve this result, it is best to use a combination of complex carbohydrates with proteins and a small amount of fats. 

Do you need to eat before training?

Only if our blood sugar is too low. People who train early in the morning usually do not have to eat anything before starting exercise. 

If you have low blood sugar in the afternoons and it’s almost time for your workout, it may be helpful to eat something about 30 minutes before you start exercising. If we feel that a morning snack would also do us good, then no problem, but let’s not overeat ourselves so that our stomach does not hurt. 

In order to get the best effect when increasing the level of sugar in the blood when it is too low (up 30 minutes before the workout), about 80% of the calories contained in the snack should come from carbohydrates and 20% from protein. This will lead to the secretion of insulin, which increases the availability of glycogen for the muscles. If we eat an energy bar containing nutrients in such proportions, let’s remember to drink 0.15-0.2 l of water. 

Food during training 

Most of the trainers do not have to worry about eating or drinking during exercise until they last longer than 60 minutes. Most people wait at least 40 minutes of training before they reach for their first energizing snacks, but how quickly this moment arrives depends on individual circumstances. Let’s try different nutrition strategies during long trainings and choose the one that works best. 

Find out more What meal to eat before the competition? 

Energy gels – they are packed in small bags and have the consistency of honey or thick syrup. The most convenient way to consume them is to squeeze one or two packages into a small plastic bottle. Every 10-15 minutes, squeeze a little bit into the tongue with water. 

Energy bar – cut it into 8-10 pieces and eat it one by one every 10-15 minutes with water. 

Sweets (especially jelly beans) – the usual dose is 2-4 small jelly beans every 10-15 minutes. 

Energy drinks – they are not recommended too much, because a large percentage of people who consume these drinks during training complains of dizziness. 

It is important to refuel after training within 30 minutes. After finishing a hard or long workout, you will always need a 100-200 calorie snack that will help you regain your strength faster. Also in this case, the combination of carbohydrates and protein in proportions of 8020 is the best. 


You can read also: The influence of blood sugar on weight loss


Diet in insulin resistance – what to eat?

In this article, we will focus on changes in nutrition with insulin resistance (colloquy is said to be an insulin diet). Remember, however, that the varied physical activity including strength and cardio training significantly increases the number of insulin receptors in your muscle cells. Therefore, under no circumstances should you overlook this aspect of insulin resistance treatment. 

If you are not sure if you have insulin resistance, check what symptoms may indicate it! Insulin resistance develops quietly. 16 symptoms of insulin resistance that you can not miss 


Here you can find supplements supporting insulin sensitivity – CLICK


Diet in insulin resistance – basic principles 

The most important goal of an insulin-resistant diet is to stabilize the blood glucose and insulin levels to prevent them from falling sharply and increasing. There are no official recommendations regarding changes in nutrition with this hormonal disorder. Every person with insulin resistance should look for the best solution for themselves. See what is worth knowing! 

Get to know the glycemic index and load 

The glycemic index and load are very important indicators for composing a diet in insulin resistance. Both talk about how fast blood glucose is raised after eating a given food. The glycemic load is more modern and more useful. The basis of the menu in insulin resistance should be products with low and medium glycemic load. You do not have to learn all these digits by heart. Download the index or glycemic index tables from the Internet – print and hang on the refrigerator. You can also use one of the many mobile applications to keep your data at hand. 

Do not unnecessarily eliminate gluten and / or dairy products 

If you have already read a few articles about diet in insulin resistance, you have certainly come across a recommendation suggesting the resignation from gluten and / or dairy products. Know that there is no scientific basis for this, provided you choose whole-grain gluten products and unsweetened dairy products. The exception is, of course, the situation in which you suffer from celiac disease or have allergies / food intolerance to gluten or dairy products. 

Remember about dietary fiber and good quality fat! 

While composing meals, pay special attention to the addition of vegetables. Vegetables should be half of each of your main meals. Supplement with a small addition (1 teaspoon) of rapeseed oil, olive oil, linseed oil or soy oil. Why is it so important? Vegetables are a source of dietary fiber, which in combination with fat slows down the rate of absorption of carbohydrates and thus lowers the level of glucose in the blood. 

Lose weight if you are overweight 

It is suspected that one of the main causes of insulin resistance is abdominal adipose tissue. From fat deposits from the thighs or buttocks, it is distinguished by the secretion of compounds that intensify inflammation. This one favors insulin resistance. So if you are overweight or obese, you should normalize your weight. 

How many meals to eat with insulin resistance? 

Do not go below 3 meals a day! Should you eat 3, 4 or maybe 5? It depends on individual circumstances. Check what system suits you, there is no one scheme! 

Do not snack! 

In insulin resistance, the most important thing is not to snack between meals. Each, even the smallest snack unnecessarily stimulates the pancreas to secrete insulin. 

Watch out for reactive hypoglycemia 

Some people with insulin resistance have a phenomenon called reactive hypoglycaemia. This is a sudden, sharp drop in blood glucose that leads to confusion, hand tremors, and even fainting. If you have a tendency to occur, plan meals less in volume, but more often. Some people need up to 6-7 meals during the day. 

Insulin resistance diet – recommended products 

See a list of products that should form the basis of a diet in insulin resistance 

raw and cooked vegetables, 

fruits up to 2 servings a day (a portion of about 150 g), 

Rye bread, 

coarse groats, 

wholemeal pasta, 

unsweetened cereal, 

fishes and seafood, 


lean red meat, 


dairy products without sugar, 

legume seeds, 

nuts, seeds, seeds, 


green, red, herbal, fruit tea. 

Insulin resistance diet – contraindicated products 

Ruthlessly avoid these products by using an insulin resistance diet 


fast-food products, 

sweet drinks, 

sweetened dairy products, 

purified cereal products white rice, white pasta, 

white bread from purified flour, 

sweet rolls, cakes, 

sweetened cereal, 

ready dishes, 

sweet sandwiches for sandwiches, 

salty snacks (crisps, sticks) 

alcohol with the addition of sugar – beer, sweet and semi-sweet wines, drinks. 

A menu in insulin resistance 

We will not show you a ready-made menu appropriate to insulin resistance. Why? Such a menu should be prepared under the supervision of a dietician who will take care of you. On the basis of your results of fasting insulin and glucose measurements and the glucose load test, the specialist selects the composition and number of meals. An insulin-resistant diet is a very individual way of feeding! 


You can read also: 10 products supporting insulin sensitivity


Glycemic response

Briefly about the response and glycemic index is already mentioned in the article on carbohydrates. From this text you will learn how the glycemic index differs from glycemic load and you will learn the mechanism of action of insulin hormones and leptin and their effect on the body.


Glycemic index

The foods that we eat, containing the same amount of carbohydrate carbohydrates, have different effects on the level of glucose in the blood. This difference is expressed in numbers as the Glycemic Index. It is calculated by dividing the blood glucose level after consuming any product containing 50 grams of carbohydrate available by blood glucose after consuming 50 grams of glucose. The result is multiplied by 100.

The Glycemic Index is determined by giving the product to a group of people and then examining their sugar level every 15 minutes for 2 hours. The value of the Glikemic Index is the average of these results. Despite the fact that these values ??are reproducible, the reaction to some products may be different in different people. It is worth to observe your body and pay attention to how we react to particular carbohydrates.


The Glycemic load

The Glycemic Charge is influenced by two variables of the glycemic index (IG) and the size of the portion (W – the content of carbohydrates in a given basis weight). It is expressed by the formula £G = (W * IG) / 100. The idea of Glycemic Carry is based on the assumption that by consuming a small amount of a product with a high GI, there is no negative increase in the level of glucose in the blood.

Compare the two products consumed in standard low and high GI portions. Watermelon, high GI of 72, contains 29 g of carbohydrates in a 300 gram portion and therefore has a glycemic load of 20.9. Quinoa, with a low IG = 35, contain in a 100 g portion 58.5 g carbohydrates and a glycemic load of 20.5 and therefore very similar.

In order to avoid sudden spikes in blood sugar, it is worth taking into account both the Index and the Glycemic Load.


Insulin and Leptin

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas to regulate the level of sugar in the blood. How it’s working? After eating food containing carbohydrates, there is an insulin release and the sugar level is reduced. The amount of insulin ejected by the pancreas depends on the Glycemic Index. The higher the IG, the faster the absorption and digestion of carbohydrates, the faster and more rapid jump of sugar and the greater the discharge of insulin. Conversely, the lower the IG food, the slower, gradual increase in sugar and the small insulin release. Unfortunately, the rapid release of insulin is associated with a drop in sugar below the norm. This causes hypoglycemia (hypoglycaemia), which means faster inbound, strong feeling of hunger, and even weakness.

Leptin, is a hormone produced by … adipose tissue. The role of this hormone is to send information about the energy reserves to the brain. Excessive amounts of leptin unfortunately lead to resistance, and as a result, despite the excessive amount of adipose tissue (and thus leptin), the brain stops recognizing its signals.


Impact of nutrition on the body

Frequent consumption of high GI foods causes frequent insulin ejection and deposition of energy reserves in the form of adipose tissue. Due to the frequency of this event, the brain also stops receiving signals sent by leptin and does not disable the starvation center. Thus, the body has no information on energy reserves, it places fatty tissue on each excess of caloric demand. Unfortunately, eating foods with a high Index and Glycemic Load, snacking between meals and excessive sugar supply in the diet cause glycemic jumps and excessive hunger. In this situation, it’s easy to eat more than we really need.


At a time when access to food is virtually unlimited, and white sugar added to most processed products, many people suffer from insulin resistance and appetite disorders. Long-term maintenance of high insulin levels can cause diabetes, cardiovascular disease, being overweight, and also speeds up the body’s aging process. It should be noted that in nature there is no product that would raise glucose in the blood like refined sugar or purified flour. Fruit or even high-carb cereals naturally also contain fiber, which significantly slows down the release of glucose into the bloodstream.


So what can we do to avoid unnecessary blood glucose fluctuations?

  • eat 4-6 meals regularly, do not snack, do not sweeten drinks between meals,
  • avoid cleaned cereals (wheat flour, white rice flour),
  • avoid sweets, possible dessert is better to eat just after lunch than as a separate snack,
  • avoid processed food,
  • check the composition of products and added sugar content,
  • read the table of Indexes and Glycemic Cargoes – avoid products / dishes from IG over 60 and £G above 20.
Health & Beauty

Glycemic response

Briefly about the response and glycemic index is already mentioned in the article on carbohydrates. From this text you will learn how the glycemic index differs from glycemic load and you will learn the mechanism of action of insulin hormones and leptin and their effect on the body.