Understanding Glycemic Index and Its Link to Heart-Related Issues

Back in the days, people dealing with diabetes were the only ones who used to deal with complicated terms that involved their health condition. They paid great attention to words like insulin levels and glycemic index (GI), all while consulting with a physician regularly.

It was only until recently when even those that didn’t have diabetes began to show great concern each time GI appeared on the food they ate and products they consumed. At present, you can find the phrase labeled on the packaging of almost any food item, be it in bread, sauces, or snacks.

The GI on products indicates that they can significantly affect an individual’s blood sugar levels when failing to take them in moderation. It used to be said that various foods holding a low ranking on the GI meant it reduces the possibility of health concerns, such as type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and hypertension. However, based on research, that may not be the case after all! 

Keep reading below to learn more about GI and the recent studies surrounding it.

What Is a Glycemic Index?

The glycemic index was first created to serve as a food guide for people with diabetes to help monitor specific carbohydrates and how they can increase one’s blood glucose levels. The types of food are ranked based on their comparison with other reference food, like glucose or white bread.

Long before the term GI was developed, doctors and other professionals came up with meal plans which targeted total carbohydrate content for patients with diabetes. Meanwhile, the GI acts as a measurement of the amount of carbohydrates present, including those you can digest, absorb, and metabolize. 

Unfortunately, available carbohydrates have greater chances of affecting a person’s blood sugar directly, unlike other types of carbs, such as fiber, which you can get from fruits and vegetables. Based on the scale, potatoes, white, rice, and other high-GI food are more likely to increase your blood sugar levels. Meanwhile, broccoli, couscous, and other non-starchy vegetables are considered low to medium-GI food.

The Link Between Glycemic Index and Diabetes

According to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, experts wanted to know the effects of food containing carbohydrates and the health risks they come with. Their concerns involved diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, focusing on blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and insulin sensitivity.

The study comprised 160 participants that were diagnosed as overweight, obese, or had mild hypertension. The chosen people were prepared to undergo one of four diets for five weeks, with the routines involving various takes on the Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (DASH). 

A DASH diet is a food program that aims to reduce a person’s blood pressure. It works by minimizing one’s sodium intake and instead replacing it with healthy nutrients, such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium.

The various plans researchers developed were a low-GI and low total-carb diet, low-GI and high total-carb diet, high-GI and low total-carb diet, and lastly, a high-GI and high total-carb diet. Based on the test results, they could not prove that kinds of food containing low-GI are connected with a significant reduction in specific health risks.


Even though the study couldn’t prove the relation of low-GI food to cardiovascular diseases enough, people with diabetes and those worried about their health should still make some lifestyle changes. Eating healthy and exercising daily are both integral to living a better and longer life free from health conditions. You should also make an effort to see your family doctor regularly to keep track of your overall well-being. 

Are you looking for a primary care doctor in North Bergen, NJ, to keep you informed about diabetes and how to manage it? Garden State Medical Group is made up of board-certified physicians and specialists offering premier personalized services focused on healthcare. Get in touch with us today to request a telemedicine call!

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