ZocdocAnswersWhat does it mean if food is low on the glycemic index?

Question

What does it mean if food is low on the glycemic index?

I read an article that said these foods are good for you. They said brown rice is low on the glycemic index. I eat that a lot, does that mean its good for me? Will it make me healthier? I am very overweight.

Answer

It is great that you are trying to keep a healthier diet. Both an improved diet and increased exercise will help decrease weight and prevent future comorbidities. You should speak with your primary care doctor to discuss the best method of weight loss for you. The Glycemic Index (GI) refers to the effect carbohydrates have on blood glucose. If the carbohydrate increases blood glucose by a large amount, it is considered a high glycemic index food. If it increases blood glucose by a small amount, it is a low glycemic index food. A food's GI is determined by its rate of digestion and absorption of its carbohydrates. For example, foods that have a high degree of soluble fiber, such as whole grains, and a low amount of starch gelatinization, such as pasta, have lower GI values. A lower GI food will have a less profound effect on postprandial (post-meal) glycemic and insulinemic effects. Though the use of a low GI diet is still in debate, the thought is that through a diet of low GI foods there is more appropriate overall glycemic control. There is also thought that postprandial hyperglycemia, which may be increased with high GI foods, can lead to insulin resistance and in effect increase the risk of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. While it is great that you are eating foods with lower glycemic index, it is important to keep in mind that the total amount of food intake, regardless of its glycemic index, is also very important for your health. You should follow up with your primary care physician to discuss a healthy diet, the glycemic index, and other nutritional goals for you.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.