Glycemic Profile is a Newer, Better Glycemic Index

For years and years, we have been told that foods with a low Glycemix Index (vegetables, whole grains, etc) are better for us than foods with a high Glycemic Index (soda, candy, white bread).

And they were right…sort of.

Researcher Liza Rosén has discovered that the Glycemic Index has a number of shortcomings when it comes to analyzing how sugar affects our bodies.

But have no fear my Type 2 diabetic friends, she has developed an improved method.

The Glycemic Profile.

While the Glycemic Index relies on a measurement of a food’s fiber content to determine it’s score and it’s effect on your blood sugar, Rosén “stresses that while fibre is always good, it is not always present in high enough levels to have a significant effect on the blood glucose response. In addition, not all types of fiber are the same”.

“There are a lot of high-fibre bread products in the supermarkets which gives the same blood glucose response as white wheat bread,” she says.

However, the GP measuring system which Dr Rosén has developed provides a more accurate picture of the blood glucose response because it takes the curve’s appearance into account. The flatter the curve the better the GP.

Food which produces an even and reasonably low curve scores the best values.

“White pasta is one example of a product which in some cases has received a bad reputation because of a high GI. However, white pasta produces just as good a blood glucose response as wholewheat pasta.”

The reason why wheat pasta has sometimes been assigned a confusingly high value is that GI only considers the entire area under the blood sugar curve. In contrast to what many believe, GI does not take fluctuations in blood sugar into account. This puts foods with a long and fairly low curve at a disadvantage. Not only pasta, but also many rye bread products have this type of curve.

“White pasta has just as dense a structure as wholewheat pasta and therefore takes a long time to digest. The structure of a food is actually the most important parameter for the glucose response.”

In order to calculate the Glycemic Profile of a food, a test subject’s blood sugar levels are measured for three hours following a meal.

“A food with a high GP indicates that the energy lasts longer. The absolute best situation is if the product has a low GI and high GP. This means it’s a really good product! One example is boiled rye kernels, which have a GI of 73 (where 100 is the GI of white wheat bread) and a GP of 94. In the same study, boiled wheat kernels had a GI of 68 but a GP of 51. The results suggest that the rye kernels produce a more stable blood sugar profile,” says Liza Rosén.

So…where do we go from here?

Glycemic Profile is brand new. You’re not going to find a list of GP ranked foods anywhere on the interweb just yet.

Dr. Rosén et al need to test a LOT more foods.

Research is ongoing – Rosén’s supervisor, Dr. Elin Östman said that “We are using the GP concept and will relate it to other parameters. For example, we suspect that products with a high GP keep you fuller longer, and that products with a high GP could improve blood sugar regulation not only in direct connection with a meal, but also at a later meal.”


to be continued…




Douglas Robb

Doug Robb is a personal trainer, a fitness blogger and author, a competitive athlete, and a student of nutrition and exercise science. He's also the co-founder of the Hive Health Media. Since 2008, Doug has expanded his impact by bringing his real-world experience online via the health & fitness blog – Health Habits.

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