What is Soylent’s tested Glycemic Index?

Soylent’s ready-to-drink shakes1 have a Glycemic Index of only 18!

What is Glycemic Index and why does it matter?

Glycemic index is a number assigned to a specific food that reflects how much, and for how long,  it increases blood sugar. Foods with a low glycemic index cause smaller fluctuations to the blood glucose levels and can help manage more stable blood sugar levels. Managing blood sugar is important to help control weight and may help combat chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes2,3.

What causes Blood Sugar to spike?

As the body digests carbohydrates in food, it breaks down sugars and starches into a type of sugar called glucose. When we consume foods higher in these sugars or refined starches like soda, white bread, or pastries, the body can quickly break them down into glucose. The glucose from these foods readily enters the bloodstream and causes a steep spike in blood sugar. Foods that result in this higher blood sugar spike are considered high glycemic index. Overtime, chronic high blood sugars can be linked to the development of diabetes or heart disease. 

Fiber is digested more slowly than sugars and starches. The body takes more time to break down high fiber foods, thus releasing glucose more gradually and causing a smaller rise in blood sugar. Higher fiber foods that elicit this smaller increase in blood sugar are considered low glycemic index carbohydrates. This gradual blood sugar increase is more favorable for overall health. 

How are foods classified?

Foods are classified as low, medium, or high glycemic index and assigned a corresponding number on the GI scale: 

  • Low: 55 or less
    • Examples: Soylent shakes1, whole wheat pasta, yogurt, old fashioned oatmeal, chickpeas, blueberries, and non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, spinach, and asparagus
  • Medium: 56–69
    • Examples: carrots, sweet potatoes, beets, and popcorn 
  • High: 70 or above
    • Examples : white bread, soda, white rice, and potato chips

NOTE: Pure sugar itself has a glycemic index of 100 on the scale indicated above.

Is Soylent Safe for Diabetics?

While we now know that Soylent’s shakes have a verified low Glycemic Index, everyone should check with their doctor before making food choices that could impact their health.

References

  1. Creamy Chocolate Soylent was tested by Inquis Clinical Research Lab, under the guidance of Lead investigator, Thomas Wolever, MD, PhD, DM in August 2020.  The Subjects in the study were non-pregnant females aged 18-75 years and in good health.
  2. Augustin LS, Kendall CW, Jenkins DJ, et al. Glycemic index, glycemic load and glycemic response: An International Scientific Consensus Summit from the International Carbohydrate Quality Consortium (ICQC). Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2015;25(9):795-815. 
  3. Salmeron J, Ascherio A, Rimm EB, Colditz GA, Spiegelman D, Jenkins DJ, Stampfer MJ, Wing AL, Willett WC. Dietary fiber, glycemic load, and risk of NIDDM in men. Diabetes Care 1997;20:545-50.

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