Dr. Marcus Iken is Manager Research & Science at the joint PM-International laboratories at the Luxembourg Institute for Science and Technology and an essential member of the Scientific Board. He is with PM-International and FitLine for almost 8 years and if you ever attended one of our many events, like a Business Academy or a National Congress, you might have seen him speaking on stage, talking as an expert in Science of Nutrition. As a scientific expert and former bodybuilder (IFBB member and trained competition judge since 2000. Participating in state, national, and European championships), Dr. Marcus Iken knows nutrition in theory and in practice and how it can affect the metabolism of the human body and the overall well-being. For Dr. Iken, one of the most important factors for getting in shape is how your blood sugar level can affect your habits and your moods and how it might disrupt your discipline and routines.
Glycemic Index (GI)
One of the most important factors when trying to get in shape is the glycemic index. The glycemic Index (GI) is a number, which shows how certain types of carbohydrates affect blood sugar levels. The higher the GI of a food is, the faster the body absorbs it, which leads to an abrupt rise of blood sugar levels. This can be beneficial when the body needs energy quickly, but usually, it ends up in just as a fast drop in blood sugar levels as it rose, and consequently causes hunger pangs, sugar cravings, feelings of exhaustion and nervousness.
As you can see in the graph above, eating food with a low glycemic index, (most vegetables, fruits, bread, dairy products, …) takes longer to digest and sugars are released into the blood more slowly. A balanced blood sugar fluctuation results in a longer feeling of fullness and suppressed appetite. The ingredients in the graph above are just some examples of food categories. Because the glycemic index can also vary with ripeness and cooking method, there is no definite list of foods you can eat, but fresh vegetables with lots of fibres usually always do the trick.
Glycemic Load (GL)
It is not just about the glycemic index per food product, but it is just as much about the quantity that is provided to the body. The so-called Glycemic Load (GL) describes the relative glycemic impact of a typical serving of the food.
The glycemic load is the product of a food product’s GI and its total available carbohydrate content:
GL = [GI × (g of) carbohydrates] / 100
While GI and also GL are useful tools to control blood sugar levels, it is not only useful for diabetic patients. Choosing the right carbs (GI) in the right amount (GL) with a little bit of experimental attitude in the kitchen will definitely support not only your body shape regulation but also the maintenance of improved well-being!
In consequence, what you want to strive for, when trying to get in shape, more easily and consistently, is a balanced blood sugar level throughout the day. And to achieve this you have to make sure to choose low GI and low or medium GL foods:
Please note that the glycemic index is not the only factor you have to take into consideration. Unsaturated fats and monotonous, unvaried nutrition can and will hamper your progress to a fitter, body and more well-being. If you want to test it yourself, for inspiration and for sharing, check out our amazing breakfast and lunch recipes!