April 27, 2005

Keeping The Glycemic Level Low

The glycemic index (often abbreviated as GI) is an older concept, and refers to something I often just call "blood sugar impact" - it refers to how quickly a given carbohydrate is absorbed. This is important because the faster a carbohydrate is absorbed, the quicker and higher your blood sugar will spike, making a big insulin release and blood sugar crash more likely. With that crash will come fatigue, irritability, hunger and cravings.

How is glycemic index calculated? A test group of people have their fasting blood sugar tested. They are then fed a portion of the food to be tested, measured to contain 50 grams of carbohydrate. Blood sugar is tested at regular intervals for several hours, and the results are averaged. The result is assigned a number from 1-100, with 100 equaling the impact of pure glucose or commercial white bread, depending on who is doing the rating. GI lists should specify which "reference food" they're using. (Glucose has a higher impact than white bread; on the glucose scale, white bread is a 70.)

This testing has turned up some surprises. We've learned that complex carbohydrates (starches) do not necessarily have a gentler blood sugar impact than simple carbohydrates (sugars.) For instance, rice cakes - you know, those styrofoam things that people only eat because they're supposedly healthy - have a higher GI than an equivalent amount of table sugar. Baked potatoes without butter, pushed at us as "diet food," have a GI far higher than premium ice cream, albeit with more vitamins.

Protein and fat content influence glycemic index, which means that eating a carbohydrate with a higher GI in the context of a meal that also includes proteins and fats will gentle the impact. This also means that eating bread, pasta, and potatoes with no added fat actually makes the impact of these foods harder on your body.

Research is linking glycemic load to more and more health problems, including high LDL/low HDL cholesterol and high triglycerides, stroke, some cancers, and diabetes. However, I can find very little in the way of hard recommendations for daily glycemic load. The concept is so new, no one is quite sure. One thing is clear: By keeping your total carb intake low, and choosing carbs with a modest GI, you'll keep your glycemic load low, and reap whatever health benefits there are to be gained.

Go to http://www.steviva.com/gi_index.html for a complete list of glycemic indices and loads.

Here is a recipe that has is relatively low on the glycemic index.

Yogurt Smoothie
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla whey protein powder
1/2 cup frozen, unsweetened berries (any kind) or peach slices
1/4 teaspoon Steviva Brand Stevia Blend

Put all of the ingredients in a blender and combine until smooth.

The usable carb count will depend on what sort of fruit you use but should be about 20 grams. (This assumes 4 grams of carbohydrate per cup of plain yogurt. The label will not say this; it will say 12 grams, but this is the amount of carbohydrate in the milk from which the yogurt is made. Most of it is converted to lactic acid by the yogurt bacteria.) And figure 24 grams of protein. This sits around a 45 on the glycemic index.

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Thank all of you for your patronage. Have an excellent day.

Thom King
Steviva Brands, Inc.

Amazing Low Carb Sugar Free German Chocolate Cheesecake Bars
Makes approximately 20 servings


1 cup pecans crushed fine
1/2 cup gluten free soy flour
1/2 cup Steviva Blend or equivalent
1/2 cup butter

Combine ingredients to make crust and press into 10 X 15-inch pan.

Three, 8-ounce packages cream cheese
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup Steviva Blend or equivalent
3 eggs
2 bars unsweetened chocolate bars melted
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream cream cheese until fluffy, slowly add the heavy cream, Steviva Blend or equivalent and eggs. Add remaining ingredients and spread over crust. Bake at 350-degrees for 30 minutes or until set. Cool.

1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup Steviva Blend or equivalent
3 egg yolks
1 can chopped pecans
1 cup unsweetened coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cook cream and egg yolks over medium heat for eight to ten minutes, until thick and bubbly. Stir in coconut, pecans and vanilla. Cool for ten minutes and stir in Steviva Blend or equivalent, then spread over cooled cheesecake.


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