The glycemic load of any food impacts the body, particularly when working out at a high intensity. The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how food affects your blood sugar and insulin. The higher the glycemic index, the more it affects your levels. A GI of 70 and above is considered high and should be avoided for those wanting to maximize the potential of their diet. Some high GI foods include:
- White bread
- White rice
- Corn flakes
- Most breakfast cereals
- Glucose (sugar)
This is important because many will choose a high GI food right before starting their workout; however, a study published in the Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition indicates that eating a high GI food 30 minutes before intense exercise raises insulin levels but does not improve your exercise performance. As you can see from the list above, most high GI foods are also refined carbs which provide your body with a double whammy. Carbs impact the body like no other macronutrient. When these foods are digested they quickly hit the blood stream sending glucose levels skyrocketing. To combat this, the body releases insulin which works to move the blood sugar into cells where it can do its work. The problem becomes when there is too much sugar and instead of being used it is stored as fat. This leads to weight gain and a more challenging time leaning out.
What does this mean for the Syracuse Crossfit athlete? There is no benefit of eating foods with a high GI; therefore sticking with a combination of protein, fat and low GI carbs is best for performance.Low GI foods are those with a measurement of 55 or less and include foods such as:
- Beans (white, black, pink, kidney, lentil, soy, almond, peanut, walnut, and chickpea)
- Small seeds (sunflower, flax, pumpkin, poppy, sesame)
- Most whole grains (durum, spelt, kamut, wheat, millet, oat, rye, rice, barley)
- Most vegetables
- Most fruits
Learn more about your options in Central New York at a local CrossFit Syracuse fitness center.