Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Glycemic Index

You've probably thought about, if not heard lots of advice about what you should eat before, during and after a run. If you followed the marathon I just ran, clementines were my energy preference during the race. However, there is a bit of science behind the choices you make. Some foods are easily and quickly broken down into glucose (your muscle's fuel); these foods have a high glycemic index. Other foods break down slowly and are released more gradually into you bloodstream; these foods have a low glycemic index.

Before your run or race (especially longer than an hour), you are better off eating foods with a low glycemic index. These will provide a prolonged and steady supply of glucose for your working muscles. During a run, a high -glycemic food is a good source of quick energy. High-glycemic foods are also your best choice for after a workout to help refuel muscles and begin repair.

So, here's the list:

High Glycemic Index

Glucose 100
Gatorade 91
Potato, baked 85
Cornflakes 84
Rice cakes 82
Cheerios 74
Cream of Wheat, instant 74
Grahm crackers 74
Bagel, plain 72
Bread, white 70
Bread, wheat 69
Raisins 64
Oatmeal 61
Ice Cream 61 (another good reason to indulge!)

Moderate Glycemic Index

Muffin, bran 60
Bran Chex 58
Orange Juice 57
Rice, white long-grain 56
Rice, brown 55
Sweet Potato 54
Banana, ripe 52
Lentil soup 44
Orange 43
Spaghetti (no sauce) 41
Apple 36
Pear 36

Low Glycemic Index

PowerBar 30-35
Yogurt, low fat fruit 33
Milk, skim 32
Apricots, dried 31
Banana, underripe 30
Lentils 29
Kidney beans 27
Barly 25
Grapefruit 25
Fructose 23
(taken from "Sports Nutrition Guidebook")

I found this list to be pretty interesting. Apparently I should start carrying a bowl of Cream of Wheat with me instead of my trusty Clementine!

From "The Complete Book of Running for Women" by Claire Kowalchik

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