What does "low-glycemic" mean, and why is it important?

Maintaining a low glycemic diet is about eating foods that help you sustain a relatively even blood sugar and insulin level, without the spikes and drops that simple carbohydrates cause. Why is that important? When your blood sugar spikes after eating, your body is in prime fat-storage mode (1), as well as making you more vulnerable to illness such as coronary heart disease (2) and type 2 diabetes (3). In addition, a LG diet means eating foods higher in fiber and healthy fats, allowing you to feel comfortably satisfied by your food, as the fullness lasts longer.

My Experience

Before I began eating this way I regularly experienced energy crashes throughout the day. They were sometimes so severe they were accompanied by shaking, weakness, nausea and sweating, and only subsided when I ate something sugary. Happily, they’re completely gone now, as I eat well, maintaining even blood sugar. What a relief.

I’ve also noticed that I feel more satisfied by my food, and no longer have the urge to overeat in order to feel full. As a recovering sugar-aholic (referring not just to refined sugar, but high glycemic foods too), this is a totally new sensation and I love it. Feeling satisfied and comfortable, without the post-meal feeling of yuck. My body thanks me daily.

Which foods are high glycemic? 

Added sugar is one major culprit, and easily spotted. We all know to avoid soda, most desserts and candy. But it’s not just about the added sugar, it’s also about how our bodies process certain foods once we’ve swallowed them. For example, if you eat white bread, as far as our blood sugar is concerned, you may as well be eating pure table sugar. Amazing. That’s just how our bodies see it, based on it’s effect on our blood sugar.

Less obvious, most common high glycemic foods to look out for:

  • Processed and "whole" grains (like those in most bread, crackers and pretzels)

  • Potatoes

  • Corn

  • Most rice

As prevalent as those foods are in the average American diet, you can live without them, or learn to incorporate them in careful moderation. And my sincere hope is that this website will give you practical tips and yummy recipes that make living a more healthful life, not just possible, but preferable.

Here’s a straightforward article by Dr. Andrew Weil about glycemic index and blood sugar, if you’re interested in reading more: What is the glycemic index?