Remember those Sugar Coated Cereal Bombs we ate as kids? We’d bounce off the walls for an hour or so, then collapse. What if we could manage that kind of impact now to get the most out of our food and training?
That’s the idea behind the Glycemic Index, or GI.
Think of the GI as a tool to help you quantify the sugar rush for every carbohydrate you eat. The GI ranks carbs according to their impact on our blood glucose levels. Low GI carbs produce small fluctuations in blood glucose and insulin levels, while high GI carbs produce those big sugar rushes we had as kids.
Picking the right kind of carb at the right moment can help you maximize your workouts and your health. For example, choosing a low GI carb like fruit before exercise gets you a steady stream of energy, while a high GI carb like a sports gel or drink can give you a quick mid-workout boost.
Knowing the difference – and picking low GI carbs for general nutrition – will help maximixe your race fueling and recovery, and to reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes.
For a guide to the GI ranking of your favorite (and not-so-favorite) foods go to http://www.glycemicindex.com.