It is important for the body to maintain optimal blood glucose levels. As I have indicated, this is 80- 120 ml/dl of blood. If blood glucose level falls low you may become lethargic, irritable, extremely hungry and unable to think clearly. If glucose level rises to high, you may become very sleepy. Either instance is dangerous, and can cause severe consequences.
The body normally regulates your blood sugar levels by releasing two hormones secreted by the pancreas. Insulin is secreted when blood sugar concentrations get to high, and Glucagon is secreted when blood sugar levels get too low. (Remember). Diabetes and Hypoglycemia are two conditions where glucose regulation is hindered.
Although our body regulates these responses, it is important for us to eat properly to maintain optimal blood sugar levels, and all body responses. Every cell in our body depends on glucose for fuel, especially the brain and nervous system, which I will discuss later.
So what can you do to maintain optimum levels? First, eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day. You should be eating approximately every 2½ hours. Second, when you do eat, make sure the meal or snack consists of carbohydrate, fat, and protein. Fats slow down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates. Protein triggers the release of many important substances including glucagon, which hinders the effect of insulin. By adhering to these practices, you prevent fluctuations of blood sugar level and help prevent surges of glucose in the blood .You will also feel much better both physically and mentally.
There are times when an athlete may want a surge of blood sugar to get nutrients into the cells quickly. The prime opportunity for this is directly after exercise when the “window of opportunity’ is the best. More glucose and nutrients will replenish deleted
stores used during exercise. The longer you wait after exercise the less amount is restored. How does this translate into something useful? Well, the more glycogen and amino acids that are replenished quickly, the better your recovery and preparation for the next bout of exercise. You will notice increased strength and more energy.
The glycemic effect of food is in relation to our blood sugar and insulin response. It is the effect of how fast and how high blood sugar concentrations rise, and how quickly our body lowers the levels back to normal.
Some carbohydrate foods are rated very high on the Glycemic index. This is another reason why carbohydrate foods often targeted for propaganda and fad diet claims. On the contrary to many fad diets that advocate you should not consume carbohydrates or carbohydrates eliciting a high glycemic index rating, most of these provide an excellent source of nutrients, and are healthy for you.
It is believed that these carbohydrates provoke hunger, food cravings, and cause too much of a release of insulin which claim to promote fat storage. By following special eating patterns, and consuming lower carbohydrates they claim you will lose weight, and fool the body into producing the right amounts of insulin.
Generally, it is wise to choose foods with a low glycemic rating if they are going to be consumed alone, to achieve sustained energy. However, as I have stated earlier, the overall glycemic response of a food is influenced by other foods eaten at the meal. Keep in mind, people take a little bit of validity, and manipulate others into believing.
THE GLYCEMIC INDEX:
The glycemic index is a physiological based method used to classify foods according to their response to raising blood glucose.
- The index compares how rapidly carbohydrates are converted to blood sugar compared to glucose, which is 100 %.
- The lower the rating, the less of a glycemic response.
- The glycemic response of a food is not dependent upon the sugar content or the content of simple versus complex carbohydrate. Carrots eaten alone will increase insulin more than a candy bar with nuts.
At present, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) has not endorsed the glycemic index for patients with diabetes. The ADA recommends that people with diabetes moderate their carbohydrate intake to keep their blood sugar low, eat less fat, more fiber, and fewer calories to lose weight, rather than attempt to follow a glycemic correct diet. Weight loss alone can bring blood sugar down to healthy levels in type II diabetes.
Glycemic Index Of Common Foods
100 % 80-99% 70-79% 60-69%
Glucose Maltose Bread Brown Rice
Parsnips Millet Bananas
Carrots Potato Raisins
Potato Chips White Rice Mars Bars
Corn Flakes White bread
50-59% 40-49% 30-39% 20-29%
Sucrose Oranges Apples Fructose
White spaghetti Peas Ice Cream Kidney Beans
All Bran Navy Beans Most Meats Lentils
Yams Oats Most cheese
Adapted from Source: Jenkins, D.J.A., Lente carbohydrate: A newer approach to the dietary management of diabetes. Diabetes Care, 5:634, 1982: as adapted by ISSA Performance Nutrition: The complete guide, 1997.