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Low Glycemic Foods & Cheese

The glycemic index, or GI, was developed to help people better understand how carbohydrate-containing foods influence blood sugar levels. Consuming high-glycemic index foods results in a sharp rise in your blood sugar levels and is associated with obesity, Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and certain cancers. On the opposite end, low-glycemic index foods can help you keep your blood sugar levels more stable after eating, which is associated with a healthier body weight and improved blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

How the Glycemic Index is Measured

The GI value of food is measured by first giving volunteers a dose of 50 grams of pure glucose, which is assigned a GI value of 100, and measuring their blood sugar response over two hours. A serving providing 50 grams of available carbohydrates of the food to be tested is then given to volunteers, and their blood sugar levels are tested over a two-hour period. The GI value of a food corresponds to the increase in the blood sugar levels it induces compared with glucose. For example, if the blood sugar level increase of white bread corresponds to 70 percent of the response seen with pure glucose in these volunteers, white bread will be given a GI value of 70.

Cheese

An ounce of cheddar cheese contains only 0.4 gram of carbohydrates, which makes it impossible to measure its GI value. Volunteers would have to ingest 7.8 pounds to get the 50 grams of carbohydrates required to do the test. However, it is safe to say that because cheese has such a low carbohydrate content, it shouldn't significantly influence your blood sugar levels. The GI value of cheese should correspond to zero, making it a good food to include in your low-glycemic-index diet.

Other Foods Without a Glycemic Index Value

Other foods with a very low carbohydrate content, such as meat, eggs, avocado and salad vegetables, are in the same situation. The glycemic index is only designed to measure the glycemic response following the consumption of carbohydrate-containing foods. Considering the lack of carbohydrates in these foods, their GI can be estimated to be zero, or very close to zero, making these foods suitable for a low-glycemic-index diet.

Including Cheese in Your Low-Glycemic-Index Diet

Cheese can be paired with many low-glycemic-index foods to enhance the taste and diversity of your low-glycemic diet. For example, you can add cheese to a mushroom frittata at breakfast, serve cheese with a vegetable soup or salad at lunch, enjoy cheese with an apple, grapes or nuts for a snack or sprinkle cheese over your whole-grain pasta for dinner. All these foods have low GI values and can be part of your healthy low-glycemic meal plan.

Photo Credits:

  • food ingredients image by NiDerLander from Fotolia.com

This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.