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Perspective-Food Technology: Introducing Glycemic Index For Healthy Food Consumption

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e-Foodtech Future – The glycemic index is one of the things that need to be considered in developing a food, especially functional food. This relates to its ability to affect human physiology. The glycemic index (GI) is a measure developed to classify carbohydrate foods based on their physiological effects on blood glucose levels. In this case, glucose or white bread is used as a standard with a value of 100 and the GI value of the food being tested is a percent of that standard. This was conveyed by Kavadya Syska, Coordinator of the Food Technology Study Program, Faculty of Science and Technology, University of Nahdlatul Ulama Purwokerto.

The glycemic index (GI) is a measure used to indicate how quickly the carbohydrates in food can be converted into sugar by the human body. This measure is a scale from 0-100. For example, pure sugar for example has a glycemic index number of 100, this means that the carbohydrates in pure sugar are very quickly converted by the body into sugar for energy for the body. The glycemic index can also inform how food affects blood sugar and insulin levels. The lower the glycemic index value, the less effect it will have on insulin levels and blood sugar levels.

At first, carbohydrates were classified into two namely simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates depending on how much simple sugars contained in the molecule. Carbohydrates consisting of one or two simple sugars (such as fructose or sucrose) are called simple carbohydrates. While starchy foods are called complex carbohydrates because starch is composed of long chains of simple sugars, namely glucose.

The suggestion to eat more complex carbohydrates than simple carbohydrates stems from the assumption that starchy foods raise blood sugar levels only slightly after digestion than simple sugars. This assumption is considered less appropriate because the blood sugar response to each type of complex carbohydrate food is different. Therefore, the concept of the glycemic index was initiated in which each food is measured how much influence it has on blood sugar levels.

To determine the value of the glycemic index of a food, volunteers in good health will be asked to eat the food for which the glycemic index is measured, this food must contain at least 50 grams of carbohydrates. Then volunteers will be asked to eat a control meal (in the form of bread or pure glucose) with the same amount of carbohydrates. After that, blood sugar levels will be measured periodically. Changes in blood sugar levels after consuming the two types of food will be calculated and compared until the glycemic index number is found.

The lower the glycemic index number, the less impact it will have on your blood sugar levels. The glycemic index was grouped into: <55: low, 56-69: moderate, and >70: high.

Examples of the glycemic index value of some foods include: Bread: every 30 grams the glycemic index value is 71 (high). Bananas: every 120 grams the glycemic index value is 60 (medium). Honey: every 25 grams the glycemic index value is 61 (medium). Canned tomato juice: every 250 ml the glycemic index value is 38 (low). Oatmeal: every 250 grams the glycemic index value is 55 (low). Apples: every 120 grams the glycemic index value is 39 (low). Soybeans: every 150 grams the glycemic index value is 15 (low). Carrots: every 80 grams the glycemic index value is 35 (low).

The glycemic index of a food is not always the same value. Several factors that affect the glycemic index value are: How to process or prepare food: some components in food such as fat, fiber, and acid (found in lemon or vinegar) generally lower the glycemic index level. The longer you cook starchy foods, such as pasta, for example, the higher the glycemic index will be. Maturity level: especially for fruits, the level of ripeness will greatly affect the glycemic index value. For example, the more ripe a banana is, the higher the glycemic index value will be. Other foods you eat: the glycemic index value is determined by each type of food. But in reality, we tend to eat several types of food more often at once. This can affect how the body digests carbohydrates. If you eat foods that have a high glycemic index value, it is recommended to mix them with foods with a low glycemic index value. Body condition: age, physical activity, and how quickly your body digests food also affect how your body digests and reacts to carbohydrates.

Although the glycemic index is a parameter that can be used to control your blood sugar levels, the glycemic index should not be used as the only parameter to choose the type of food you will consume. For example, potato chips have a low glycemic index value but if you look at the saturated fat content, potato chips have a fairly high saturated fat content. So in addition to the glycemic index value, you also have to pay attention to the other nutritional content contained in the food you consume.

Sources: interviews and references analysis

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