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Dance Health and Nutrition: The Glycemic Index

Dance Health and Nutrition: The Glycemic Index

Dancers! Your body is your canvas and it’s important to take care of it so you can dance your best. So, we’re starting a series of guest posts about fitness and nutrition from Melanie Bussiere of New Again Fitness. This month, we’re sharing her article about the glycemic index and what it means for your body.


You’ve probably heard of the glycemic index, but do you know what exactly it can do for your body, and how to use it to harness the optimum effects for your daily performance? Beyond just a measure of which foods cause high and low blood sugar, the glycemic index is a tool that you can use to power up your workouts, aid in muscle repair, help you sleep and digest better, and keep you energized throughout the day. Balanced blood sugar equals a balanced lifestyle.

The glycemic index is a scale that categorizes foods that contain carbohydrates according to how much, and how quickly, they make your blood glucose spike. The scale ranges from 0 to 100, with 100 being the score for pure glucose. Foods below a score of 55 are considered low GI, while those with a score of 70 or higher are labelled high GI. It’s important to understand how glucose interacts with the body for a few reasons.

Maintaining an overall blood glucose balance without allowing it to drop or spike too much is surprisingly critical to staying healthy, fit, and alert. Eating too many high GI foods, such as white breads and pastas, many breakfast cereals, instant oatmeal, candy, and starchy vegetables, will make your blood sugar surge. As the body responds by producing more insulin to lower it again, the insulin handles this job by converting the glucose to stored fat. A diet that is consistently too high in high glycemic foods will result in lethargy, poor weight maintenance outcomes, and a higher risk of type 2 diabetes. Not surprisingly, a high GI diet will also make diabetes harder to control for those who already live with it. This, however, doesn’t mean that you should avoid foods with a high GI at all costs and at all times. The key to maintaining healthy levels is to know what to eat when.

The best times to eat more glucose are before and after workouts, as the body will be in a prime circumstance to process glucose in a way that powers you up rather than bogs you down. When carbo-loading prior to a workout, try to eat low to medium GI foods, along with a protein, to keep you fueled up. Foods that are relatively low on the glycemic index include fruits like apples, oranges, grapefruits, pears, peaches, and most grapes. When looking for healthier carb alternatives to white breads and starch, try whole grains, high-fibre cereal and slow-cook oatmeal. Nuts and legumes are a great source of low-GI carbs, as are any non-starchy vegetables. After you exert yourself, you will want to go for higher GI foods, as your body’s insulin will convert to muscle instead of fat at this time, and help to speed recovery. If you have low blood sugar before bed, or if you have done a workout that day, it’s a good idea to give your glucose levels a bedtime boost with a low GI snack, like a fruit.

Keeping your blood glucose even throughout the day is key to maintaining good health, energy, and general well being. Understanding what kinds of carbs to eat at what times is half of the way to achieving your best life.


Article used with permission. Originally written and posted 30 December 2018 on their Facebook page:

Melanie Bussiere is CPR A, C and AED certified and is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), NSCA, and a Sports Nutrition Specialist. She is currently completing full certification in Trigger Point Therapy. She and her husband Lionel Doonan are professional ballroom competitors and teachers.

New Again Fitness trains clients for weight loss, muscle toning and strength, and improved mobility. They help clients prepare for and recover from hip and knee surgeries. They also address everyday aches and pains and ensure their clients leave pain free! They help prepare your body for the stresses of everyday life, work, and sport. They train amateur and leisure sports enthusiasts as well as top ranked competitors in ballroom. For more information, please visit their website:

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