T Nation

GI index- Really Matters?

My question is this- Does GI index really matter for someone who is not trying to lose weight? I am in good shape, am working out and seeing strength gains and eating well. I am not trying to lose any weight or stay full for a long time to curb my appetite. I try to stick to low GI items like apples oranges oatmeal etc., but that stuff gets old after a while and I like to eat some raw carrots, tortillas, or air popped popcorn with my meals. Is there any real disadvantage to eating these types of carbs, assuming that I am happy with my looks and my progress? These are high quality foods with many vitamins and high fiber- so shouldn’t they be “part of my healthy diet”? Plus I like eating them and they add some variety. Anybody else eating anything besides oatmeal and beans?

Yes, it does to some extent. Type II diabetes is caused in large part to a high GI diet.
If you are combining things with meals it does change the profile. Variety is the key along with just eating foods that have not been processed alot.
I read somewhere that most modern diets only consist of about 50 diffent foods for the most part of meals.
Early hunter gatherer’s diet consisted of about 300 varied food stuffs.
We are missing out on alot of healthy ingredients.
So yes eat a large variety of items that either grow or come in a fur or skin wrapper, and less foods that have more than one ingredient on the label.

Yes. And you can lower the GI of high GI carbs by combing them with protein and fat.

true, but even though adding fat and protein to carbs will decrease the GI, it will produce a larger insulin response than if you hadnt added those

If you eat frequent (say every 3 hours)
meals each of which is reasonable in carb
content and in macronutrient profile,
I absolutely do not believe that high GI
foods are problems. They are a problem
if you arrange your diet so as to be
producing massive sugar spikes and crashes.

Variety is the key. It sounds like you should have no problem with adding higher GI carbs into some of your meals. If you are exercising regularly and eaten frequently with lots of protein and good fats, you are unlikely to have siginificant swings in insulin and blood glucose levels. As long as you avoid eating the high GI carbs alone or with significant amounts of fats, you should be fine.

Actually tortillas and raw carrots are fairly low GI. Cooked carrots are sky high, however, but the amount of calories is very low, so it’s probably okay in normal portions. Popcorns are very high GI, but also low calorie for most portions. GI was calculated using a set number of grams of carbs (50 g?), so the portion size for some carb sources like cabbage would be unrealistic, while some like pasta is fairly low GI, but no one eats such small portions.