All food contains energy – that’s why we eat them, after all. This energy makes its way into our blood in the form of glucose, a simple sugar that our organs use to power their metabolism and support our own. When we look at different foods, one way to compare how our body will handle their energy is by calculating their glycemic index (GI).
Foods with lower GI values are likely going to be helpful in the maintenance of a balanced lifestyle. The reason for this is simple – rapid changes in blood glucose levels are harmful, so minimizing them is an essential component of a holistic health optimization plan. If you replace foods high in starch and have relatively high GI values with foods digested more slowly or have less starch to digest, the result will be a more even level of blood glucose over the day.
Typically, foods will change over time – hence why they have sell-by and eat-by dates. For fruits and vegetables, they are usually born with a lot of starch, but this starch will break down into sugars over time. In fact, as some of this sugar ferments, it forms alcohol. There are some hypotheses that we like alcohol because it’s associated with a more readily available source of sugar in nature. For our purposes, though, it’s just important to remember that an apple eaten at an orchard will be very different in terms of sugar than an apple left to ripen on a kitchen counter fully. If you’re looking at oven fries, most probably, the GI will be as advertised. But fruits and vegetables will do some digestion for us the longer they are left to ripen, and you can find a chat of different options and their GIs here.
Although a food’s GI conveys valuable information for planning your diet, we need to know more to understand the physiologic effects of nutrition on our blood glucose levels. At first, the GI is calculated as an average value over many individual people. For any individual, though, their unique responses to a given food are what matters for their health, not how the food generally affects other people on average. The GI is, of course, sound and valuable as a guide, but it would be even better to know how a food will affect a specific person.
There is also a wide range of nutritional information that can make food good or bad for us, or more specifically, for a person. Generally, foods that provoke smaller responses in blood glucose levels are also better for weight control, but not always. For example, vegetable oils can have a very low glycemic index but will also be very high in calories. Trade-offs like this are abundant in nutrition, and no one figure, however useful on its own, will be the definitive factor for every person.
The principal method for this calculation is by measuring the blood glucose levels in someone’s body for two hours after they eat a specific food. The total rise in blood glucose levels over those two hours is then compared to the effect of pure glucose on that same person’s blood glucose levels over two hours. The resulting ratio is the GI for that food, 100 for pure glucose, as the two levels would be the same. For something like a vegetable low in starch, it could be much lower. The sample size is at least ten people and the amount of food tested is typically fifty grams. Remember, the lower the GI of a specific food, the slower or lower the rise in blood glucose levels, so foods with a high GI will have a harsher effect on blood glucose levels.
A food is considered to have a low glycemic index if it has a GI of below 55, which would signify that it will release around half as much glucose into the blood over the first two hours. Likewise, a food is considered to have a high glycemic index if the GI is over 70, while values between 55 and 70 are considered moderate. For example, if you follow a keto diet, then using the GI can be a valuable point of departure for choosing foods that will work well for you. As we said above, the GI of a specific food is altered by many factors, including how it’s prepared, processed, and eaten in combination with other foods. Since the GI is calculated from a 50-gram sample, how much food will be eaten at a single meal is also relevant.
To try and address this last problem – that most people will not eat precisely 50 grams of a specific food at once – we can use the glycemic load (GL) to paint a more realistic picture of a food’s effect on blood glucose levels. To get this value, we start with the GI, which is accurate while remaining agnostic to the amount of food eaten. We then multiply the GI by the number of carbohydrates in the serving size and divide the result by 100, accounting for how starchy a particular food type is compared to others.
If a food has a low GI but a high proportion of carbohydrates, the GL will “correct” the value upwards to account for the high overall load of sugar in the food. Most foods will have similar GI and GL, at least relative to other foods, as starchy foods tend to be digested quickly as well. Some people prefer the GL for this reason, as it has the extra step to try and make sure nothing is missed. After all, you can always choose to be informed by both values. GLs of over 20 are considered high, those 10 or under are considered low, and those from 11 to 19 are considered moderate.
Since it’s exceedingly rare to find a person who eats 50 grams of pure glucose, we’ll take the common step of setting white bread as the baseline value. So, for this chart, when you see a GI of 25, for example, it means there will be a quarter as much blood glucose level rise over the first two hours of digestion compared to white bread. Along with the other limitations of the GI mentioned above, this is one reason we consider it a good starting point but by no means the end of the journey towards discovering which foods work best for you.
Some people use a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) to provide a more precise readout of their blood glucose levels. This device measures the interstitial fluid in your arm to estimate the glucose level in the blood over a set period, usually ten days or two weeks. You can even see how a specific food works for you relative to the sample population from which the GI is derived by comparing your glucose results of the first two hours after eating the food to the reported GI. You can also alter how you prepare food, how quickly you eat it, the portion size, and similar techniques to calibrate your blood glucose levels within a healthy range.
GI is a valuable tool, but different people have different responses to the same foods. Other people also eat different quantities of food, while the GI is calculated with a defined serving of a single food. CGMs let you see exactly how your body responds to foods with different GI values. CGMs have been used in diabetic populations for many years and from the first marketing have been considered very safe and effective by the FDA. NutriSense is proud to offer the same CGM technology for the first time for the public to use alongside their team of world-class Registered Dietitians. NutriSense CGMs come with an innovative app that lets you track your blood glucose levels, and every meal is different, after all. For example, a specific food’s effect on a person’s blood glucose levels will be changed by how it is prepared and what other foods are combined with it at the time of eating.
Tracking nutrition has never been easier due to instant access to nutrition tracking apps. Here are the best ones.
Learn more about irritable bowel syndrome, and see what popular IBS-friendly diets people follow to ease their symptoms.
Fermented foods have a range of health benefits. Read on to learn more about what they are and why you should be adding them to your diet.
Stress can negatively affect your entire body. Here are thirteen different ways to reduce stress in your life.
Here are the eleven best physical and mental health apps available in the app store.
In this episode of Rejuvenaging with Dr. Ron Kaiser, Carlee explains how to cut through the online nutrition industry's noise, why we shouldn't look for a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to nutrition, and how CGMs work.
Should you be drinking your fruits? Read on to find out more about juicing, whole fruits, and why one may be better for you than the other.
Do you know what a rambutan is? Learn more about this blood-glucose-friendly tropical fruit and why you should add it to your diet.
Learn about the health benefits and risk factors of adding organ meats to your meals, and try our favorite recipes using these nutritional treasure troves.
Read on to learn more about five of the most promising developments in cancer research.
Learn more about meditation, how it positively impacts blood sugar, and how you can start incorporating it into your routine.
Salads don't have to be boring! Our Nutrition Team recommends nine delicious, nutritious salads to help you find your favorite.
Can't decide on the perfect gift for Mother's Day? Pick from a list of ideas to find a healthy, but still exciting gift this year.
Some research suggests that eating soy may reduce your risk of developing diabetes. Read on to learn whether that's true and find out more about the other health benefits of soy.
Did you know that 23.5 million Americans live with autoimmune conditions? Learn more about the symptoms and causes of celiac disease and what you can do about it.
It's no secret that positive thinking can improve your mood and help you cope with difficult situations. Review our article to see how a positive outlook may also benefit your physical health.
When it comes to your menstrual cycle, what you eat can significantly impact how you feel. Read on to learn more about the best foods to add to your diet to help during that time of the month.
Though most of us may never encounter these, these health conditions are still fascinating to learn more about. Read our article to find out more about nine of the most fascinating, unusual health conditions.
Here is everything you need to know about the relationship between weight lifting and blood sugar.
In this 20-minute conversation, Dan shares how he’s putting a Rockstar in every seat. And mistakes to avoid along the way.
Kara, registered dietitian, and co-founder of NutriSense, discusses how blood glucose levels are a core marker of metabolic health. She dives into the health consequences of fluctuating blood glucose levels, and what levels to look fasted compared to post-meal.
Today on the podcast, Kara Collier, RDN, LDN, CNSC, discusses revolutionizing preventative healthcare. It’s her mission to empower people with the knowledge to effectively monitor, optimize, and sustain their own metabolic health.
Losing weight is typically easier for men than women, biologically speaking, but it's still challenging! Here are 11 simple yet effective tips for losing weight for men.
Review our helpful article where we discuss the best times to eat if you are trying to lose weight.
Whether you're looking for weight loss tips or to learn more about metabolism, a little reading material can go a long way. To help you get started, here’s some books on metabolic health, recommended by our Nutrition Team.
NEAT can’t replace the benefits of intense cardio or strength-training workouts but like any physical activity, it has many overall health and fitness benefits. Read on to find out everything you need to know about NEAT.
On this week's episode, Shannon describes the comfort, cost, usability, and education she experienced using the continuous glucose monitor program from NutriSense.
On this episode of the Making Bank podcast, Dan Zavorotny discusses how he started the company “NutriSense” and how it reached a 150 million dollar valuation in 26 months.
Carlee Hayes talks to This Podcast Burns Fat! about the important role blood sugar plays in weight management.
Meal prepping can help reduce the amount of time you spend on meal planning without sacrificing dietary goals—and it can help maintain healthy blood sugar levels too. Read on to find out more.
Since the right foods can prevent memory loss and improve cognitive function, it’s a good idea to focus on what you’re feeding your brain. Read on to see what foods to add to your diet for good brain health.
Continuing our series on beer, here's what you should know about how beer affects your blood glucose levels, whether low-carb beers are better for blood sugar control, and much more.
By keeping your teeth and gums healthy, you not only lower your risk for various oral health problems, you may even be able to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Read on to find out more.
It can be challenging to start a conversation with a loved one about their health, but it’s often crucial to do so. Read on to see how to help a family member or loved one identify and manage a health condition like diabetes.
Do you have enough celery in your diet? This humble green stalk is rich in nutrients that can support various health concerns. Read on to learn more.
Looking for a delicious, high-protein breakfast option? Pick from this list of protein-filled pancakes, recommended by the dietitians at NutriSense.
It’s time to indulge in chocolate bunnies and Easter eggs—Easter Sunday is right around the corner! Read on for tips and tricks for a delicious (but still healthy) Easter, from healthy egg hunts to nutritious Easter baskets.
Because nerve damage can have many silent symptoms, it often goes undiagnosed in the early stages. Read on to learn more about what causes nerve damage and some warning signs to watch out for.
April brings in a new season and a host of holidays, one of which is Passover, or Pesach in Hebrew—a widely celebrated Jewish holiday. Learn more about the holiday and how to enjoy its traditional foods while sticking to your health goals.
In this episode, find out about metabolic health and CGM technology with Dan Zavorotny. Dan is the co-founder of NutriSense—a metabolic health company that utilizes Continuous Glucose Monitoring (GCM) technology to provide real-time data to clients.
In this episode, meet Dan Zavorotny, the Co-Founder and COO of NutriSense, a platform focused on improving metabolic health. Dan and his team are on a mission to personalize nutrition using CGM and Machine Learning.
Remote work can mean less movement, which can lead to weight gain! Here are eight tips to avoid gaining weight while continuing to adapt to working from home.
In the first of a two-part series on beer, read on to learn more about beer making, how beer may be beneficial for your health, and what types of beer you should try.
Did you know that adding certain foods to your diet can help you manage your cholesterol levels? Here are 13 cholesterol-lowering foods we recommend.
Macro and micronutrients impact everything weight loss to blood sugar levels. Read on to learn more about these nutrients and why you need them.
Are nightshade vegetables good, bad, or something in between? Read on to learn more about their health benefits, risks, and what a NutriSense dietitian thinks of them.
Losing weight can sometimes be challenging, but it doesn't have to be! Here are eight common challenges to losing weight and a few ways to overcome them.
On this episode, Jillian Ceasrine, a registered dietitian nutritionist at NutriSense specializing in glucose, metabolism and weight loss, talks metabolic health and CGMs.
Music therapy services are gaining popularity, and research suggests they can help improve overall wellness. Take a look at what they are and how they may be able to benefit you.
People with diabetes need to be extra careful about meal frequency and the food that they're consuming. Read on to see what the most ideal meal spacing is.
Struggling to lose weight? Here are 15 simple yet effective tips to lose weight brought to you by a dietitian.
Before you resign yourself to a season of sniffles and sneezes, consider modifying your diet to manage your allergic responses during spring. Read on to learn more.
Here are eight breakfast options we love that can help you control and regulate your blood sugar levels.
If you like your breakfast meats, here’s some good news for you—some can be a great source of protein. Find out more about how some popular breakfast meats fare on the health scale.
Review the reasons that continuous glucose monitoring continues to grow in popularity amongst the world’s top athletes.
On episode #130 of the Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast, Kara Collier, co-founder of NutriSense, talks continuous glucose monitors, average blood sugar levels, interpreting glucose spikes, food combination experimentation, cold therapy, and much more.
Catherine is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with NutriSense. On this episode, she discusses what a continuous glucose monitor is, why it's important for women's health and what the data can show midlife women.
If you want to make the most of your CGM, it's helpful to know how to use it correctly. This involves learning more about what the device is, how to calibrate it if you ever need to, and what precision and accuracy mean in regards to it. Read on to learn more.
If you're one of the millions of Americans who suffer from seasonal allergies, you know how important it is to find ways to make yourself feel more comfortable during this time of year. Read more about springtime allergies and what you can do to manage them.
From April 2 to May 2, people worldwide observe Ramadan, a time of fasting and spiritual reflection. Learn more about the traditions, and how to healthily break a fast during this holy month with tips from one of our dietitians.
Obesogens are in everything, from the products we use and the food we eat, to the air we breathe! Learn more about what these endocrine-disrupting chemicals are and how you can avoid exposure to them.
Are eggs and beans bad for you? Should you forgo the fruit juice with your cereal at breakfast? The NutriSense Nutrition Team tells you more about how healthy some common food pairings are for you.
Learn everything you need to know about eating if you are an endurance athlete.
Heart rate variability is the variation in time between your heartbeats. Learn more about it, why tracking your trends matters and how it can give you insights into your fitness, stress, diet, and overall health.
Living with an autoimmune condition can be challenging. Continuing our series on these conditions, learn more about detecting, treating, and managing Multiple Sclerosis.
When you're looking to buy a specific food product, the nutrition facts label can help you make informed choices about the foods you eat. Our dietitians put some tips together on what to look for on nutrition labels to make the best choices for your health.
Molly Downey, RDN, LDN, nutrition manager at NutriSense, delves into all things glucose and wellness, and how devices like these can inform us about our health, on this episode of FUELED with Molly Kimball.
Sardines are small, but they pack a big nutritional punch! Learn more about the health benefits associated with eating them and check out some fun facts about this flavorful, nutrient-dense food.
Most fitness tracking metrics involve stepping on the scale, but they don't always have to! Here are nine other ways to track your fitness.
There are many food items that can worsen the effects of prediabetes. Here are some foods you should avoid or limit your intake of throughout your day.
What's the perfect time to eat, and how many meals should you eat in a day? Explore how eating at different times and frequencies each day impacts your body and blood glucose.
Looking for a way to add apple cider vinegar into your diet? Start with some of these delicious glucose-friendly ACV drinks, recommended by our Nutrition Team.
Find out how taking a walk after your next meal can benefit various aspects of your health, including your blood glucose levels.
Molly explains how using a continuous glucose monitor is what personalized health care means. If you want to fine-tune your health, tune in to this special episode of I Think, I Can.
My Day | My Life explores the lives of people who have, in one way or another, mastered the art of aging. In this episode, meet Carlee Hayes, dietitian and Nutrition Manager at NutriSense.
Worried about getting injured during your next workout? Learn about the most common workout injuries, how they can affect blood glucose levels, and some tips to help you prevent them.
Would eating the same meal, at the same time, have the same blood glucose response for three different people? See what our team found out after sampling a delicious corned beef and cabbage dish in preparation for St. Patrick's Day!
Do you know what you're giving up for Lent this year? For those who observe it, this can be a good time to give up bad habits, and add healthy ones into your routine! Read on to find out more about how to build healthy habits this season.
Cereal is one of the most popular breakfast foods out there—but how healthy is it, really? Review the nutritional content of some popular breakfast cereals, and learn how to choose a healthy option for your individual needs.
Did you know that more than two in five adults have obesity? Find out more about the pressing public health issue, review some new research that is shedding light on the condition, and learn how to diagnose and treat it.
Purim, a joyous occasion celebrated around March or April every year, is just around the corner! Read on to learn more about the holiday and the delicious foods that accompany it.
Read on to find out what impact, if any, vinegar really has on our body’s ability to balance blood sugar.
If you have insulin sensitivity, is eating two large meals a day or three to five smaller meals better? Find out more about the relationship between meal frequency and insulin sensitivity, and how many times you should be eating in a day.
Endometriosis is a common yet often ignored condition. Learn more about the symptoms to watch out for, how you can seek treatment, and read first-hand accounts from two women who have dealt with endometriosis.
Ayurveda is an ancient Indian holistic healing system that dates back over 5,000 years. In the second installment of our series on the practice, review the benefits and risks associated with popular Ayurvedic herbs and spices.
Pizza can be challenging to enjoy eating without worrying about how it affects your health. But while it may be indulgent, it is possible to prepare or order it in a way that won’t wreak havoc on your health or blood sugar levels. Read on to find out more!
Review our post on the impacts artificial sweeteners have on blood glucose, insulin, and other areas of your personal health.
Recent research has shown that sleep and blood glucose are intricately connected. Read on to learn more about what this means for your blood sugar levels and overall health.
Did you know that menopause can affect your metabolic health, and vice versa? Read on to understand the relationship between metabolic health and menopause, and how to manage metabolic health during your menopausal journey.
In this episode learn the truth about how we react to certain foods in regards to our blood sugar response and how you can tailor your diet according to your CGM results.
This week, dive into how to eat your carbs and manage your blood sugar, too with Molly Downey, RDN, LDN.
Food can be fun, pleasurable, and nutritious all at the same time. Read on to learn more about the two nutrient-dense kitchen staples one of our dietitians swears by to help optimize her health!
Instead of the type or amount of food you eat, you should focus on the amount of nutrients you're adding to every meal. Here are some of our favorite nutrient-dense foods from around the world to help you get started.
Learn everything you need to know about pineapples, your health, and your blood glucose levels, and see how our dietitians like to eat the sweet, tropical fruit.
Learn more about the relationship between prediabetes and your diet, and see how to build a diet plan that works for you with some great tips, tricks and recipes from our nutrition team!
Learn more about the research on, as well as the benefits and risks of acupuncture, a form of alternative medicine that involves inserting needles into your body for pain and stress relief.
Learn everything you need to know about the relationship between triglycerides levels and blood glucose.
From acupuncture to chiropractic treatments and homeopathy to holistic healing, complementary and alternative medicine is increasing in popularity. Read on to learn more about Ayurveda, a healing system that originated in India thousands of years ago.
Learn about the impact sugar has on your cholesterol levels and ways to manage your sugar intake.