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.