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What Is Glycemic Response?

10 May 2022

You’ve probably heard that Supplant sugars from fiber causes a low glycemic response in the body. What is that anyways?


A glycemic response is what happens in your body after you eat any type of carbohydrates, including sugar: basically, your body’s blood glucose increases in concentration.


Many people indulge in too much sugar occasionally, and our bodies handle it by telling the pancreas to release extra insulin; a hormone that helps us process sugar. But over time, sugar spikes are hard on your body. As experts at Johns Hopkins University explain, if your blood sugar stays high, you are more at risk for stroke, heart and kidney disease, and even vision loss. 


Fortunately, these health problems can be avoided by following a diet of low-glycemic foods. According to Harvard Health, “A low-glycemic diet can help you control your weight by minimizing spikes in your blood sugar and insulin levels,” and “low-glycemic diets have also been linked to reduced risks for cancer, heart disease, and other conditions.” 


Low-Glycemic and High-Glycemic Foods 


Foods that cause a higher glycemic response tend to have a higher glycemic index rating, which is a numerical score on a scale from 0 to 100, that describes how much and how fast that food makes your blood sugar concentrations go up. Pure glucose has a glycemic index score of 100, while the lower the number, the less impact a food has on blood sugar. Foods scoring higher than 70 are considered high glycemic, while foods scoring below 55 are considered low glycemic. 


Highly processed foods tend to have higher glycemic index scores, as do foods like refined cane sugar. Foods that are less refined, or have more fat, protein, or fiber, typically score lower on the scale. Because these additional macronutrients give the body more to digest, it takes longer for the energy the foods contain to reach the bloodstream.  


Essentially, foods that are higher in fiber or other macronutrients slow down that energy spike, also sometimes known as a glucose spike or blood sugar spike, that comes with highly refined or processed carbohydrates. A lower glycemic response, therefore, indicates that your body is taking its time to process the sugars, and isn’t experiencing the sugar spike—something that is better for everyone, and particularly for those who live with diabetes. 


Low-glycemic foods help manage diabetes 


In the United States, about one in 10 people have diabetes, and of those, according to the US Centers for Disease Control, 90-95% have Type 2 diabetes, which develops later in life and has been associated with excessive blood sugar. In addition, more than 88 million people are prediabetic — which means they are at risk of developing diabetes.  


It’s estimated that 1 in every 4 American healthcare dollars spent annually goes to diabetes care, which averages $16,752 per person per year.  


Clearly, there’s a huge savings for health and healthcare spending that could come from people following low-glycemic diets. By eating foods that won’t cause an insulin spike, so the thinking goes, a person can take the strain off their pancreas, while also losing weight and controlling appetite. 


Low-glycemic foods help prevent obesity 


Because diabetes and obesity are often linked, a diet of foods that are lower on the glycemic index makes sense for those who want to manage or avoid these conditions.  


Various studies have shown that low-glycemic foods are preferable for those who want to lose weight. For example, researchers in Brazil explained that diet is key for managing obesity, and that “the consumption of two low-GI daily meals may lead to beneficial effects on body weight and body composition.”  


By eating foods that take longer to digest, and have a lower glycemic index in the first place, people can manage their appetite and weight, the researchers said. Foods that have more fiber are ideal, because they help us feel fuller longer, so we don’t eat as much.  


Fibers, like those found in Supplant™ sugars from fiber, result in a much lower glycemic response compared to glucose, and tend to pass through the stomach undigested. 


As the study concluded, “the consumption of low GI foods can promote beneficial effects for the prevention and treatment of obesity; whereas, high GI foods has an opposite effect.” 


Clearly, eating well is an important part of maintaining our health, which is why we’ve developed sugars from fiber, which has a lower glycemic response, and is lower in calories than cane sugar.   Try for yourself in Supplant Milk and Dark Chocolate.


You can try our variety of Supplant chocolate bars and shortbreads made with sugars from fiber, available from our store and on Amazon.