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Ask The Pro Body Builder

Question iconWhat is the Glycemic Index?

Answer IconOne of the building blocks of bodybuilding is good nutrition-you are what you eat, as the saying goes. I am constantly getting questions about what foods to eat, and what foods to avoid. So this edition of "Ask the Pro" is dedicated to the Glycemic Index ("GI"), which everybody-not just bodybuilders-should know about.

Question iconWhat is the "Glycemic Index" I've heard so much about? I know it's a measurement of how fast foods metabolize, but I don't know what's high, average, or low. 
Jerry Porter, Indianapolis, Indiana

Answer IconThe "Glycemic Index" you have heard so much about is a scale ranking of foods based on their immediate effect on blood sugar levels. The Glycemic Index measures how much your blood sugar increases over a period of two or three hours after a meal. Carbohydrate foods that break down quickly during digestion have the highest glycemic index. The benchmark is white bread, which has a GI of 100. The higher the score, the greater the extents of blood sugar raise. E.g. Dextrose scores 138 (HIGH) whereas fructose 31 (LOW).

Question iconDo whole fruits (as opposed to fruit juices) have a high or low GI? 
Del Anderson, Port St. Lucie, Florida

Answer IconDue to the amount of fiber they contain, whole fruits tend to metabolize more slowly than do straight fruit juices, which do not contain the pulp or skin that whole fruits do. See the table below for a guideline on several sample fruits:

  • Apple GI is 38
  • Banana GI is 55
  • Cantaloupe GI is 65
  • Cherries GI is 22
  • Grapefruit GI is 25
  • Grapes GI is 46
  • Kiwi GI is 52
  • Mango GI is 55
  • Orange GI is 44
  • Papaya GI is 58
  • Pear GI is 38
  • Pineapple GI is 66
  • Plum GI is 39
  • Watermelon GI is 103

Question iconWhat kinds of carbs are OK for me to eat in-between meals or snacks? 
Dave Ziencina, Staten Island, New York

Answer IconStick with low glycemic index foods-generally the "browner" breads have more fiber, and thus break down more slowly. The three (3) tables below will give you an idea of which crabs to avoid-and which ones you can eat-when you are watching your carbs:

  • Low Glycemic Index Carbs (40 and below)
  • Apples = 38
  • Barley = 25
  • Cherries = 22
  • Chocolate Milk = 35
  • Fettucini = 32
  • Skim Milk = 32
  • Soy Milk = 31
  • Spaghetti (boiled 5 minutes) = 35
  • Vermicelli = 35

Mid-Level Glycemic Index Carbs (41-60)

  • White Pasta = 41
  • Brown Rice = 55
  • White Rice = 58
  • Sweet Potato = 55
  • Special K = 54
  • White Pasta = 41

High Glycemic Index Foods (61-100)

  • Rice Cakes = 77
  • Pretzels (No Salt) = 81
  • Rice Krispies, Corn Flakes, Rice Chex = 82-89
  • Baked Potato = 85
  • Mashed Potato = 70
  • Graham Crackers = 74
  • Golden Grahams = 71

Till Next Time,

Joe Silzer

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