Glycemic Index- Mastering our Master Hormone Insulin for Every Aspect of our Health
The Glycemic Index, the creation of Dr. David Jenkins, revolutionized the health industry. I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Jenkins back in 2010 – and given that it is still popular on iTunes – thought I would share it again here on Best In Health Radio.
Insulin is truly the master of our metabolism – this master hormone is produced by the pancreas and used by the liver, muscle cells, and fat tissue to absorb glucose from the blood (from the food consumed) and is stored in the muscle & liver cells as glycogen. Therefore, insulin controls the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood by taking it up into the cells. Insulin our of control reeks havoc on every cell and every organ system in the body. Now you know why it has earned the name “the master hormone”.
Of course at the top of everyone’s list of concerns is weight management. When we eat carbohydrates (sugar) our bodies release insulin in order to take that sugar out of the blood and into the cells.
I urge everybody not to think strictly about weight management. Managing our insulin by respecting the Glycemic index, is proving repeatedly to be a key aspect of chronic disease prevention and management – yes – including cancer. Insulin management is one of those tasks that truly reigns as an omnipotent factor in our health including:
- menopausal weight gain
- breast cancer, colon cancer…….
- heart disease, kidney disease…….
When there is no insulin in the blood – body uses fat as an energy source.
Most of us want to burn body fat. Therefore, don’t have insulin surging through our blood. Therefore, ditch the empty sugar, keep it complex – carbs that is.
Type I diabetes = the pancreas is unable to produce insulin
Type II diabetes = (aka insulin resistant) body does not respond effectively to insulin
This use to be called “adult onset” diabetes, however, with the obesity epidemic & horrible eating habits & yes “move” has become a four letter word- many kids are now dealing with diabetes.
Insulin allowed to flow wildly destroys the heart, kidneys, liver, cognitive ability, sexual performance, nervous system, high blood pressure, stroke, cholesterol, and can lead to certain cancers. Insulin resistance can reduce our bodies ability to absorb magnesium – a critical mineral – one of its many responsibilities is the relaxation phase of the heartbeat. Insulin resistance can also lead to osteoporosis & Alzheimer’s. Insulin controls all of our other vital hormones – ghrelin, leptin, thyroid, growth hormone, cortisol….you get the message. Therefore it is the master control behind much of our metabolic function.
OK – so hopefully we get it and we have to control our insulin levels.
Enter the Glycemic Index: We all owe tremendous thanks to Dr. David Jenkins, from right here in our beautiful Toronto. Not all carbs affect blood sugar levels. The genius of Dr. Jenkins – he came up with a ranking of how different carbohydrates manipulate the release of insulin into our bodies.
Low GI = below 55
Medium GI = 55-69
High GI – Above 70
Clearly, we want to aim for eating lower GI foods. FYI= white bread = 100GI. The Glycemic Index is the MOST logical way to choose the foods we eat. The GI not only helps us manage our weight, but helps protect us against disease of every system in the body. Hint: eat high fiber foods – that’s a really good start!
And……don’t forget those muscles! Strength training – cherishing your muscle mass – is a co-powerhouse with the glycemic index for blood sugar control an every aspect of our health.