I ALWAYS have to be careful of my blood sugar. But I eat things at times that have a higher glycemic index... and they don't hurt me one bit. At other times, I have awful reactive hypoglycemia as a result of having something that has a lower glycemic index.
OK... so maybe some of it is because my biology is "weird". Because certainly, especially after having weight loss surgery, I shouldn't even be able to eat something with a high glycemic index without dumping, right?
Well, it's really not that simple.
So when I see graphics like this going around I'm torn, because I think that the information is helpful, but not necessarily entirely accurate.
The idea here is to categorize high carbohydrate foods into "good" and "bad" carbs. I'll tell you, however, that when my blood sugar starts to dip there's nothing "bad" about popping a hard candy, which is so "bad" it isn't even on the list.
So if this were totally accurate, I should be able to look at that food list and draw a line through it. Everything above the line should be those things that cause trouble when I eat them, and everything below the line is "safe".
and, I'm here to say, that's just not the case.
While this is a wonderful tool, the whole concept of rating foods by glycemic index is flawed because only looks at the foods in isolation. There are a number of factors that can impact glucose absorption, including the kinds of foods and supplements you take, and the time of day you eat those foods.
Except for Spinach, Tomatoes and Peanuts, there isn't anything on that food list that I could eat just about any time with no blood sugar concerns (although I do have digestion concerns with spinach from time to time)
I also find that I'm less likely to have difficulty with pretzels than a Snickers Bar, although the chart would seem to indicate that the opposite should be true.
In part it has to do with what I eat with it, and why I'm eating the carb. If I'm eating it as part of a meal, we know that fat and protein have an effect on carb/sugar absorption. If I'm eating it alone in the evening, I'm more likely trying to boost my blood sugar a little before going to bed, or because of a post meal dip, and the higher glycemic index helps out a little. And of course because of my gastroparisis, all bets are off when it comes to figuring out how long it will take to digest anything most days.
Of course there are many many people out there who don't have hypoglycemia, have never had weight loss surgery, and don't even know what gastroparisis is, much less have it... but they still have different digestion times at different times of the day, and will eat different foods (and take supplements) which will alter the absorption of sugar... rendering the glycemic index little more than a general estimate of sugar absorption... a rough guestimate... rather than the be-all and end-all to understanding changes in blood glucose levels as a result of food intake.