What is the Glycemic Index?
Not all carbohydrate foods are created equal, in fact they behave quite differently in our bodies. The glycemic index or GI describes this difference by ranking carbohydrates according to their effect on our blood glucose levels. Choosing low GI carbs – the ones that produce only small fluctuations in our blood glucose and insulin levels – is the secret to long-term health reducing your risk of heart disease and diabetes and is the key to sustainable weight loss. The main reason we focus on the carbohydrate content of foods is because the other two main food types â€“ fat and protein â€“ donâ€™t have any appreciable effect on blood sugar. In fact, I recommend you eat some fat and protein with your carbohydrate because this will further lesson the GL score of the carbohydrate you eat.
So for balancing your blood sugar there are only three rules.
Â Rule 1 â€“ Eat 40 GLâ€™s a day to loose weight, 60 to maintain it.
Rule 2 â€“ Eat Carbohydrates with protein.
Rule 3 â€“ Graze donâ€™t gorge.
The third rule means eating little and often. Always eat breakfast, lunch and supper â€“ and introduce a mid morning and mid afternoon snack. This way youâ€™ll provide your body with a constant supply of fuel.
What are the Benefits of the Glycemic Index?
Eating a lot of high GI foods can be detrimental to your health because it pushes your body to extremes. This is especially true if you are overweight and sedentary. Switching to eating mainly low GI carbs that slowly trickle glucose into your blood stream keeps your energy levels balanced and means you will feel fuller for longer between meals.
- Low GI diets help people lose and manage weight
- Low GI diets increase the body’s sensitivity to insulin
- Low GI carbs improve diabetes management
- Low GI carbs reduce the risk of heart disease
- Low GI carbs improve blood cholesterol levels
- Low GI carbs can help you manage the symptoms of PCOS
- Low GI carbs reduce hunger and keep you fuller for longer
- Low GI carbs prolong physical endurance
- High GI carbs help re-fuel carbohydrate stores after exercise
How to Switch to a Low GI Diet
The basic technique for eating the low GI way is simply a “this for that” approach – ie, swapping high GI carbs for low GI carbs. You don’t need to count numbers or do any sort of mental arithmetic to make sure you are eating a healthy, low GI diet.
- Use breakfast cereals based on oats, barley and bran
- Use breads with wholegrains, stone-ground flour, sour dough
- Reduce the amount of potatoes you eat
- Enjoy all other types of fruit and vegetables
- Use Basmati or Doongara rice
- Enjoy brown pasta, noodles, quinoa
- Eat plenty of salad vegetables with a vinaigrette dressing