What You Should Know about Carbohydrates and Heart Disease
You may not need to worry about glycemic index after all. Choosing whole foods is still the key to a heart-healthy diet.
If you are up-to-date on food fads, you may have read about diets built around the glycemic index (GI). GI is a way of measuring how much your blood sugar rises in response to eating carbohydrates. Foods with a high-GI are absorbed quickly and cause blood sugar to rise higher in the two hours after consumption than foods with the same amount of carbohydrates that have a low or medium GI. Because low-GI foods are digested more slowly, they help maintain consistent blood sugar levels. This is important for people with diabetes. But if you don’t have diabetes, and you are already eating a heart-healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, a recent study found that GI doesn’t matter. “You don’t have to be concerned about GI any more. A heart-healthy diet doesn’t have to be that complex,” says Cleveland Clinic dietitian Kate Patton, MEd, RD, CSSD.