How Glycemic Index Values are Measured [ADD ADHD]

Spikes, rushes, controlled release… These are all terms that are associated with the release of sugars into the bloodstream following the digestion of different kinds of foods. For some people a discussion of these effects may be mildly interesting but for those who are faced with ADD/ADHD it is of vital importance.

This is why studying Glycemic Index and the way that it can influence moods, behavior and general wellbeing should be a top priority for those who are investigating ways of overcoming ADD/ADHD.

Last week we had an introductory look at how knowing the GI values of different foods can help us to lose weight, and can also improve our general and emotional health.

This week we will focus on how GI values are determined and measured. This information will clearly show that a) The Glycemic Index is not just some kind of faddish concept like so many ‘miracle diets’ out there but that it is built on solid scientific facts and testing, and b) That it is possible to control, to a great degree, the release of sugars into the blood stream by paying careful attention to what you eat.

Interestingly enough GI values cannot be determined by simply looking at the composition of certain foodstuffs. The main reason for this that the human digestive system is very complex and often respond in different ways to seemingly similar foods. This means that GI values can only be accurately determined in trials using live human guinea pigs! The most common way in which this is done is the following:

  • 10 Volunteers are asked to eat a portion of food containing 50 grams of carbohydrates that are readily digestible (also known as ‘available carbohydrates’). This means that the portions that they will be asked to eat can vary from relatively small for food with lots of carbohydrates (like pasta), to very large for foods with low amounts of carbohydrates (like carrots).

  • The participants in the study will then be asked to submit to a finger-prick every 15 minutes over a two hour period (Don’t feel too sorry for them, they are normally very well compensated for their troubles!) and the sugar content in the blood that is drawn will then be analyzed.

*The data gained from the blood analysis will then be used to construct a ‘glucose response curve’ for every person over the two hour period. This curve will reflect the level of glucose in that person’s blood over that time.
*The same ten people will be asked to come back on another occasion where they will take part in the ‘control leg’ of the test by consuming a portion of pure glucose sugar (the ‘control food’ used as a reference point for determining GI values) with the same amount of carbohydrates as the food that is being evaluated. Blood sugar samples will again be taken and a glucose response curve drawn up for each person.

*As a last step the scientists will then average out the sugar response curves for all ten people in both tests. The GI value for the test food will then be determined by contrasting the average blood sugar response to the test food to the average response to pure glucose. The value is normally plotted on a sliding scale from 1 – 100.

The remainder of this module is available inside the “3 Steps To Conquering ADD” Member’s Only Area.

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