Eat Low Glycemic Index Foods to Support Healthy Insulin Resistance, Blood Sugar Levels and Inflammatory Responses


Inflammation is an essential physiological function. It’s your immune system responding to repair injuries and fend against infections. Localized redness, swelling, and discomfort are all exterior indicators of acute inflammation. These signs mean your body is boosting blood flow and delivering additional inflammatory immune cells to areas that require repair.

Occasionally, this process might go into overdrive, which causes an excessive amount of inflammatory cells to be produced and increases the risk of chronic inflammation. Once this occurs, you’re at a greater risk of developing chronic disorders like asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, and inflammatory bowel disease (e.g., Crohn’s disease). Chronic inflammation is also implicated in the development of heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, obesity can set off a chain reaction of inflammation that might have negative health effects.

How Diet Can Contribute to Inflammation and Unhealthy Blood Sugar Levels

Although no single food can trigger inflammation, your diet as a whole can. How? Consuming a diet rich in refined or “unhealthy” carbohydrates, high-glycemic-index foods, added sugars, and meals heavy in unhealthy fats can lead to elevated blood sugar and insulin levels. This can trigger and increase inflammation in the body. How, how does this work exactly?

After consuming a carbohydrate-containing food, a person’s digestive system converts the carbohydrates into sugar (glucose), which is then absorbed into the blood. The pancreas produces and releases insulin, which is a hormone, into the bloodstream. This hormone is designed to signal to the cells in the body to absorb (take in) circulating blood sugar.

The insulin then transports the glucose into cells where it will be used immediately as an energy source to fuel cellular activities. The other scenario (when blood sugar levels are high and cellular energy needs are met) is that insulin will still transport glucose into cells, but it will be stored for later energy use by the cells when needed.

When the cells begin to absorb and utilize glucose for energy, glucose levels in the blood will start to decline. As this is happening, the pancreas will begin to produce and release glucagon, another blood sugar related hormone. Glucagon is designed to signal to the liver to release stored glucose from its reserves. Both hormones, insulin and glucagon, function to maintain stable and healthy blood sugar levels in the body, especially in the important tissues like the brain and liver.

That said, when blood sugar and insulin levels remain elevated for an extended period of time, the body’s cells, including those in the muscles and other tissues, stop responding to the effects of insulin.

Insulin resistance is the medical term for the condition that causes blood sugar and insulin levels to remain elevated for hours after eating as the cells are not responding to insulin’s signals to absorb glucose from the bloodstream. The high demands placed on the pancreas cells that produce insulin gradually wear them down, which worsens the condition of being insulin resistant.

It has been demonstrated that eating a high-glycemic-index diet not only leads to elevated blood sugar and insulin levels but increases inflammation in the body. This is because inflammation can be triggered by the rate at which glucose enters your system.

Americanized “western” diets that are rich in processed foods, refined carbs, and added sugars lack essential nutrients like fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that the body requires to function optimally.

They also tend to include high caloric foods that are high on the glycemic index and glycemic load scales. Unsurprisingly, research indicates these diets are highly correlated to elevated inflammatory markers in the blood, indicating low-grade inflammation in the body. 

Western/Americanized diets also increase the risk of blood sugar spikes and insulin resistance and chronic health conditions like obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease – all of which are correlated to inflammation in the body. How? We’ll tell you.

Regular consumption of diets rich in high glycemic foods and unhealthy fats are shown to increase blood levels of the “bad” cholesterol, LDL, and increase free radical activity in the body. The body responds by activating the immune response to fight damage by free radicals. As a result, the body enters into a proinflammatory state and is held at a chronic “low-grade” inflammation when the diet is not modified to lower inflammation. 

In addition to this, diets high in fat, sugar, and high-glycemic foods can cause fatty acids to accumulate in body tissues, especially fat tissue. This is another major underlying factor of chronic “low-grade” inflammation in the body. When fatty acids accumulate in body tissues, it triggers an immune response as the cells signal to the immune system to deal with the harmful considered “foreign invaders.” 

Once the body sends inflammatory mediators to these cells, it triggers inflammation as a normal physiological response. This inflammation can also occur in organs, including the pancreas. When the pancreas becomes inflamed, it increases the risk of developing health conditions like insulin resistance, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. 

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that foods like fatty meats, fast and fried foods, and sugary beverages are not only unhealthy but also promote inflammation. Additionally, these types of foods can increase the risk of excessive weight gain and further encourage an inflammatory state. This is why nutritionists and health experts advise modifying diet to lower the risk of developing chronic health conditions.

Eating Low Glycemic Index Foods Can Support Healthy Insulin Resistance, PCOS, Blood Sugar Levels and Low Inflammation.

By using the glycemic index (GI), you have the ability to determine how much a food will increase their blood sugar levels. How does this work? We’ve got that covered. 

Traditionally, carbohydrates have been categorized as being either “simple” or “complex.” 

Sugars with simple chemical structures, like fructose and glucose, make up simple carbohydrates. Foods that fall into this category generally consist of bagels, white bread, crackers, instant oats, bars, pasta, and sugar/sweets. These are all examples of foods that are also high in carbohydrates, thus ranking high on the GI. 

Simple carbs are quickly metabolized and broken down into glucose, which rapidly enters the bloodstream and triggers noticeable fluctuations in blood sugar levels. When blood sugar and insulin levels are held consistently at an elevated level, blood sugar is often stored as fat and increases inflammation in the body. 

Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, have more complex chemical structures with links between three or more sugars (known as oligosaccharides and polysaccharides). This carb category tends to have foods that rank low on the GI. These include steel-cut oats, brown rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes, apples, berries, legumes, and milk. 

Foods with complex carbohydrates, which generally have higher amounts of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, are metabolized (digested) in the body at a slower rate. Because they take longer to digest, they have a less immediate effect on blood sugar levels. So, consuming complex carbs causes a more gradual increase in blood sugar and insulin levels and less risk of inflammation in the body. 

Additionally, beneficial nutrients often found in low-glycemic-index foods, including antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and phytochemicals, are known to have anti-inflammatory properties that promote general health and low inflammation levels in the body. 

Eating a low-glycemic-index diet to support healthy blood sugar and inflammation levels is backed by research as findings show that this diet lowered inflammation in study participants classified as overweight. 

So, how can you support low inflammation levels with low glycemic foods? We have a few tips for lowering your dietary glycemic load.

Apply Common Sense

Typically, foods that are fresh and whole will rank low on the glycemic index. Conversely, foods that are highly processed and include a significant quantity of sugar typically rank high on the glycemic index. 

Add Low-GI Foods

Incorporate a minimum of one low GI food every meal. You can also make sure that at least two of your meals are composed of low GI foods. There are tons of foods that are not only low-GI but also nutritious and add great value to a balanced diet.

  • Cereals: Steel Cut Oats, Bran Flakes
  • Dairy (+ Dairy Alternatives): Almond Milk, Cheese, Coconut Milk, Cow Milk, Soy Milk, Yogurt
  • Grains (Bread): Whole Grain, Multigrain, Rye, Sourdough
  • Grains (Other): Barley, Buckwheat, Couscous, Freekeh, Quinoa, Semolina
  • Fruits: Apples, Apricots, Grapefruit, Kiwi, Oranges, Peaches, Plums, Pears, Strawberries, Tomatoes
  • Legumes: Baked Beans, Chickpeas, Kidney Beans
  • Pasta: Whole Grain Pasta, Soba Noodles, Vermicelli Noodles, Rice Noodles
  • Rice: Basmati, Brown, Long Grain
  • Vegetables: Broccoli, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Zucchini, Sweet Potatoes, Corn, Yams, Winter Squash
  • Protein: Beef, Chicken, Eggs, Lamb, Pork, Salmon, Tuna, Trout
  • Nuts: Almonds, Cashews, Macadamia, Pistachios, Walnuts
  • Fats: Avocado, Butter, Olive Oil
  • Seasonings: Basil, Dill, Garlic, Pepper, Salt

Watch Carb Types

Be aware of bread and cereal intake as these foods are the main culprits in the Western diet’s high glycemic load. 

Limit High-GI Foods

Limit (or eliminate altogether) snacks that rank high on the glycemic index.

  • Cereals: Instant Oats, Sugary Cereals (e.g., Cocoa Krispies, Froot Loops, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, etc.)
  • Dairy (+ Dairy Alternatives): Rice Milk, Oat Milk
  • Grains (Bread): White Bread, Bagels, Naan, French Bread
  • Fruits: Watermelon
  • Gluten Free Pasta: Corn Pasta, Instant Noodles (Ramen)
  • Rice: Arborio, Jasmine, Medium-Grain White
  • Vegetables: Instant Mashed Potatoes
  • Snacks/Sweets: Corn Chips/Crackers, Pretzels, Rice Cakes/Crackers, Jellybeans, Licorice
  • Bakery Items: Cakes, Cookies, Cupcakes, Donuts, Scones, Waffles
  • Beverages: Gatorade, Fruits Drinks

The low-GI diet does not technically “forbid” any foods. That said, with the greatest possible efforts, try swapping the foods listed above for low-GI foods. Let’s take a look at what a sample menu for a Low-GI Diet may look like of a few days.

Seek Nutritional Support

Try LWC Balance Program, which is a style of eating that incorporates low glycemic index and inflammatory foods to support low levels of inflammation in the body and optimal health. 

Final Thoughts

All in all, one of the most important things to remember is that not all carbohydrates are created equal. This is especially true when it comes to supporting healthy blood sugar levels and lowering the risk of developing chronic health conditions. Start by making appropriate dietary modifications, such as adopting a low-GI diet that does not trigger drastic fluctuations in blood sugar levels throughout the day.

Science shows that a variety of health-related risks can be reduced by lowering inflammatory factors. This can be done by choosing to eat low-GI as this type of diet has been found to drastically lower inflammatory markers that are an underlying cause of the developing of chronic diseases. It may seem impossible at first, but the outcome of improved health is worth it. If you find yourself in need of a little extra support or guidance, Lisanne Wellness Center is here for you.



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