In this health video you will learn factors that affect of the Glycemic Index (GI).
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Raena Morgan: Hi. I’m Raena Morgan and I’m visiting with Sherry Torkos, a pharmacist and the author of The GI Made Simple. Sherry, tell us some of the factors that affect the GI. Ms. Sherry Torkos: Well, the glycemic index tells us a lot about how a carbohydrate will process in our body and how quickly or slowly it will break down into sugar. And some of the factors that affect the glycemic index are, first of all, the type of starch that it contains. For example, certain rice—white rices will have different glycemic indexes, depending on how much amylose versus amylo pectin they contain. And that’s one of the types of starch that is present in these grains. How a food is cooked and processed will also impact its glycemic index. For example, if you have white pasta and you cook it al dente, the way the Italians eat it, it’s actually low to moderate. But, if you cook that pasta until it’s really soft and mushy, then it becomes very high glycemic because the starch has already started to break down in the cooking process. The acidity of a food will also impact its glycemic index and that’s the reason why sourdough and pumpernickel bread, which contains more acids, are lower in the glycemic index compared to other types of bread, such as white bread or even some of the 60% whole wheat breads, which tend to be higher in the glycemic index. Raena Morgan: So, the sourdough and the rye are better? Better choices. Ms. Sherry Torkos: Sourdough, rye and pumpernickel bread are lower in the glycemic index. Also, whole grain breads—the amount of fiber in a produce will affect its glycemic index. In particular, foods that are high in soluble fiber will break down more slowly into sugar. And that’s why in my book, I recommend boosting your fiber intake, getting more soluble fiber that you find naturally, by eating fruits, vegetables, oats, flaxseed; all of these types of foods that are high in fiber. Raena Morgan: What about other acidic foods, well, like vinegar, for example? Ms. Sherry Torkos: Yeah, it’s a good point. In fact, adding some balsamic vinegar and maybe some olive oil—if you’re going to have a slice of bread—that will actually act to reduce the overall glycemic impact of the bread. If you’re in a restaurant and they have the oil and the vinegar on the table, you sometimes see people dipping their bread in it, and that’s actually a better way to enjoy your bread because the mixture of the fats in the olive oil and the acids in the vinegar will slow the rate of digestion of the bread. Raena Morgan: Thank you for that healthy information. Ms. Sherry Torkos: You’re welcome.