Glycemic Tips & Tidbits
Here’s some interesting information about carbohydrates and their Glycemic index.
Hydration and heat raise food’s Glycemic Indexes. Carrots, for example, have a 20 GI when raw. The moment they are boiled, their GI rises to 50 as a result of the gelatinization of it starch content.
Cooking at home also affects our food’s Glycemic Indexes.
Cooking al dente (5 to 6 minutes), for example, allows us to keep spaghettis GIs as low as possible while prolonged cooking (from 15 to 20 minutes) will raise GIs since it accelerates starch gelatinization.
With coolness gelatinized starch gradually begins to reorganize its macro-molecules. This is what is known as retrogradation, a return to its former molecular structure. Retrogradation becomes more intense as time passes and temperatures go down.
Preserving these foods for long periods at low temperatures (41° Fahrenheit) stimulates retrogradation. Something similar occurs with food drying processes. Dry bread, for example, loses its humidity and stimulates starch retrogradation, as in the case of toasted bread.
Although retrogradation does not wholly reverse food gelatinization, it does contribute to lowering foodstuffs’ Glycemic Indexes. Spaghetti (even white refined), for example, will have a 35 Glycemic Index if cooked al dente and eaten cold (in salads).
When starchy food are ground, their particles become much finer and raises their Glycemic Index. This is what happens to cereals when they are ground into flour. Rice flour has a higher GI than rice itself.
Fruits have higher GIs the riper they get. Green bananas have low GIs (approximately 40) but when they are ripe they will have a much higher GI (approx 65) since as bananas ripen, their starches are transformed and become less resistant.
Protein, fat & fiber all slow the speed at which carbohydrates break down and enter the bloodstream. That is why all your meals/snacks should have a good balance of lean protein, healthy fats and a variety of fiber filled, healthy carbohydrates. All except the one immediately following your workout. That is when you need fast loading carbs and protein to replace what you used during the workout and to repair your muscles. Keep your fat intake at this meal as low as possible as it will slow the absorption rate too much.