AustinPUG Health

AustinPUG Health

Because they digest rapidly, high-glycemic foods cause blood sugar levels to spike, resulting in inevitable crashes and fatigue. That said, these popular foods also have the power to harm our bodies in some disturbing ways. Before you head to the grocery store, learn three ways high-GI foods can destroy your health.

Liver Damage

A study out of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center found that high-fructose diets can cause liver damage even when no weight gain occurs. Published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the research demonstrated that high amounts of sugar prompted bacteria to exit the intestines and enter the bloodstream, resulting in fattier livers and an increased risk of diabetes.


Since they tend to have high glycemic indexes, high-GI foods can cause us to have substantial energy crashes. Research also suggests that they can actually cause physical addiction. A study out of Boston Children s Hospital found that high-glycemic foods tend to stimulate substantial activity in regions of the brain which play a big role in addictive behavior.

According to Dr. Mark Dunayer, many of his TMD patients arrive at his office, because they are worried that diet restrictions will ruin their long-term health.

“Since temporomandibular joint disorder causes chewing difficulties, a lot of my patients are forced to eat softer foods, which have higher glycemic indexes,” he said. “Fortunately, with treatment, they can return to eating tough lean meats, nuts and fibrous vegetables, which have low glycemic indexes that promote better health.”

For people without diet restrictions, will-power may be the key to smarter eating. Sadly, however, since high-glycemic foods have the potential to spur addictive behavior, they can be difficult to resist.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Research appearing in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that high-glycemic diets cause damage to arterial walls, resulting in a dramatically increased risk of sudden death due to cardiac arrest. To reach their findings, the researchers fed subjects corn flakes and white bread. As they digested the foods, the participants demonstrated reduced arterial functioning as well as endothelium dysfunction, which resulted in circulatory problems.

Identifying High-GI Foods

When most people think about high-GI foods, they picture sodas, sugary cereals and fast food. In reality, however, many of the common foods we eat have high glycemic indexes. Processed cereals, white bread and other low-fiber foods all have high GIs. On the other hand, because they take much longer to digest, lean meats and fibrous nuts and vegetables have low GIs which promote better health.

It may be impractical to memorize the glycemic index of every food; however, you can get a good estimate by assessing the protein and fiber content of every meal. Generally, if it’s high in fiber or protein, they GI will be low. On the other hand, if it’s high in sugar or simple carbohydrates, the GI is probably going to be high. You can also decrease the glycemic load of a meal by mixing low-GI foods with higher GI-foods.

To learn which foods have high and low glycemic indexes, consult this helpful chart from the Harvard Medical School.

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