What is the Glycemic Index?
Glycemic Index (GI) is a method of measurement used to calculate foods with the breakdown of carbohydrates into glucose and their effect on a person’s blood sugar. This is as opposed to merely determining the amount of carbohydrates in our food.
Evidently, foods with a high GI increases blood glucose more than those with low GI. With this, patients are better given the aid that they need to be more cautious and conscious of their food intake.
Foods with Low Glycemic Index (Source: bbcgoodfood.com)
- Choose brown (wholegrain) versions of foods like bread, pasta, rice and crackers.
- Always combine protein like fish, chicken and dairy foods with carbs like bread, potatoes and pasta – for example when snacking combine a handful of nuts (protein) with a piece of fruit (carbs).
- Use new potatoes instead of old and boil in their skins rather than mashing, baking or chipping.
- Thicken sauces using a little tahini or nut butter rather than high GI cornflour.
- Choose amylose-rich basmati rice instead of other varieties of white rice.
- Avoid ‘instant’ or ‘easy cook’ foods which tend to be more highly processed.
- Snack on unsalted nuts, seeds or oatcakes rather than sweet treats and biscuits.
Health benefits of having a Low Glycemic Diet
- Low-GI foods provide natural, slowly released energy.
- Generally, the less processed a carbohydrate, the more likely it is to have a low-GI score.
- Foods that are white, including processed foods made with white flour and white sugar, tend to have a high-GI.
- High fibre foods take longer to digest and therefore produce a slower rise in blood sugar levels. Fibre also keeps you feeling fuller for longer, which helps prevent overeating. Most vegetables, wholegrains, legumes, nuts, seeds and fruits are rich in fibre when you eat them whole. (Source: bbcgoodfood.com)
As mentioned above, having a low GI diet contributes to making you feel full faster. Hence, this would evidently result in weight loss.
Patients who are at a risk of type II diabetes and heart diseases are also encouraged to switch to a low GI diet in order to control their blood glucose levels, maintaining them at a balanced level.
Aside from preventing the aforementioned illnesses, a low GI diet is also known to help avoid adult acne. By lowering blood sugar levels, low GI foods stops the production of a hormone called insulin-like growth factor that increases oil production in your skin and eventually, the growth of pimples.
It is worth mentioning that food eaten together with low GI items also affects your overall glycaemic response – “Combining a high GI food like potatoes with some protein like chicken will mean you lower the overall GI of your meal. When a meal includes proteins and fat the impact of the carbohydrate foods will be minimized”