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Understanding the Scoring System


We all know that the foods we eat affect our sugar levels. You may do your very best to follow healthy eating habits and keep those levels under control, but you may still be frustrated by high blood sugar readings. Your answer lies in the glycemic index – and understanding how this GI is scored is the first step in feeling less hungry, lose weight and improve your cholesterol levels.


Glycemic index, or GI for short, measures carbohydrates that will help you make better choices. These choices can improve daily blood sugar levels as well as your overall health. The GI can also help you feel better because you will avoid dramatic swings in your blood sugar levels by providing you with a consistent level of energy… the kind you need when you need it.


Some people use the term blood glucose, others use blood sugar; both terms refer to exactly the same thing – the amount of glucose (the sugar the body uses as its food) that’s present in your blood. This is not difficult once you understand the scoring system of the GI.


The GI covers only carbohydrates – most of the foods we eat such as fruits, juices, potatoes, rice, pasta, breads, cereals, etc. that contain sugars, starches and different types of fiber. The reason is simple… carbs have the greatest impact on your blood sugars. Other foods, such as fats and proteins, have little effect on blood sugars. 


These carbs are broken down and used as fuel for the body. Sugar fuels are called glucose. Glucose supplies power to every cell in our body. Without it, you would not live long. When diabetes becomes a threat it means the glucose cannot get into the cells easily and build up in the blood. This should be your red flag – here’s where the GI comes in!


Whenever you eat foods that contain carbs, they are completely digested, releasing glucose into the bloodstream. Scientists have learned however, that different carbohydrate foods cause blood glucose levels to rise at different rates. Some cause levels to rise quickly after you eat them, the result is a virtual “gush” of glucose into the bloodstream.


Other carbohydrate foods cause glucose levels to rise more slowly – a “trickle”, if you will. The GI is a system that separates the “gushers” from the “tricklers” so you can keep your after-meal blood glucose levels more in check.


For simplicity, the GI is a number scale that ranges from 1 to 100 and you can compare this to driving your car: when you eat, the higher the GI of your food, the faster your blood sugar level will rise, the lower the GI of your food, the more slowly your blood sugar level will rise. High (gushers) = more than 70. Intermediate = 55 to 70. Low (tricklers) = less than 55. How easy is that to learn?


So how do they score these carbs? All GIs are ranked by referencing food to pure glucose. Glucose is what’s known as “simple” sugar. If you were to eat glucose, your body would not have to break it down because it would go directly to your bloodstream. The GI of pure glucose has been set at 100.


As we calculate any food’s GI, volunteers eat a carefully measured amount of a test food containing 50 grams of carbs. Over the next 2 or 3 hours, blood samples are taken to measure how high the volunteers’ blood glucose rises. They are tested again, in the same way, only this time they consume 50 grams of glucose, the reference food. The total rise in blood glucose levels for the test food and pure glucose are noted and the test food is then expressed as a percentage of the rise from glucose.


As an example, a hard roll has a GI of 71; this means that when you eat a hard roll, the rise in blood sugar is 71% as great compared to the rise in blood sugar when eating a similar amount of glucose. Sinkeyce the GI measure of pumpernickel is only 41, you can lower the rise in blood sugar if your choice is pumpernickel bread instead of the hard roll.


Now that we understand the Glycemic Index scoring system, we can improve our health and feel stronger, more alert and less fatigued. Nobody wants diabetes with all its complications – head it off at the pass and it will never be your concern.


Esther Smith, author

Smith is more than fascinated by health, nutrition and weight loss; she is a holistic believer and avoids prescription drugs whenever possible. For more great Glycemic Index information for losing weight and keeping it off, visit=>

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