Published 2/01/2005 – www.metronews.ca
In one of our previous columns, we briefly discussed the Glycemic Index (GI) of foods, and how you can use it as a guide to help you achieve an eating plan consistent with a healthy lifestyle.
The Glycemic Index measures the impact of foods on your body’s insulin levels. High glycemic foods tend to spike up insulin production quickly and dramatically.
Insulin is a very important hormone, because it allows the body to break down and absorb glucose from the bloodstream into individual cell walls. This process gives you a rapid burst of energy.
Examples of high glycemic foods are soda pop, honey, pasta, most breads and milk chocolate. This is why kids who have eaten chocolate sometimes bounce off the walls.
But one of the immutable laws of nature is that what goes up must come down. That’s why those same kids will soon become tired and need a nap. It also explains why adults who have eaten lots of pasta or bread feel sleepy a couple of hours later. Their insulin level has crashed, making them want to snooze.
When your insulin spikes, it prevents the operation of another important hormone, Human Growth Hormone, or HGH.
HGH keeps you young. It helps regenerate lean muscle mass, increase metabolism and burn fat. It keeps your skin looking young and smooth, and keeps the colour in your hair.
It’s also very important for muscle growth, brain function, tissue repair, physical and mental health, bone strength, healing, sexual function, energy and metabolism. In other words, it’s critical to your vitality.
HGH secretion in the body is at its peak during adolescence. Our bodies do continue to produce it after that, but only during deep REM sleep or intense strength-building exercise such as weight training.
As we age, the body’s natural production of human growth hormone is diminished. From age 20 to 60, we lose about 75 per cent of our HGH production.
According to a study published in 1990 in the New England Journal Of Medicine: “Diminished secretion of growth hormone is responsible in part for the decrease of lean body mass, the expansion of adipose-tissue mass, and the thinning of the skin that occur in old age.”
Increased HGH levels make you feel young again, which is one reason why many call it the real fountain of youth.
What we eat can have a definite impact on our HGH levels. Eating a diet that is composed primarily of high glycemic foods is bound not only to make us fat, but also to age us prematurely.
According to our nutrition consultant Marina Zelenovic and expert Domo Kovacevic, who do a lot of work with our corporate clients, a good rule of thumb is to eat a well-balanced complement of foods that have a GI of 50 or less. This includes most proteins, dietary fats, and fibrous carbohydrates.