What is G.I?
What is the glycaemic index you say? Who is it for? Let’s cut to the chase.
The glycaemic index (G.I) is a measurement of how different carbohydrate foods affect blood glucose levels. This index is highly important for those who have diabetes and need to control their blood sugar.
How does it work?
Basically, all foods are ranked from 0 -100 according to the effect they have on blood glucose. Foods which are high in G.I have a score of 70 upwards. Medium foods are ranked between 55 and 70, where lower foods are 55 or less.
This index helps people who deal with diabetes & lowering blood sugar levels figure out which food to include in their diet and which foods to avoid or watch their consumption levels.
What’s the difference in high & low GI foods?
Although there are foods that are considered to be in the same food groups (for example watermelon and apples – in the fruit category) it doesn’t mean that they are the same in G.I levels. Foods with a higher G.I are those that are quickly broken down into sugars and absorb into the bloodstream which in turn results in a rapid peak in blood glucose levels. In comparison to Low G.I foods, which are low in fat which is great for people controlling diabetes. The reason why this is better for people with diabetes is they produce a gradual rise in blood sugar & insulin levels – which is due to their slower digestion, which means the glucose in the foods are released gradually rather than a rapid peak.
How can it help my diet?
If you’re susceptible to getting diabetes (due to family members having it) or have diabetes having a low-GI diet could actually benefit your health in the long run! A low GI diet can fill you up and keep you satisfies for longer – which reduces overeating yay! It helps improve cholesterol levels by lowering LDL Cholesterol (not good) and raising HDL Cholesterol (Good). Obviously, it helps manage blood glucose levels and reduces many more risks – type 2 diabetes, heart disease, some cancers. It also can improve mental performance, sustain energy levels for longer AND improve acne.
How do I use the GI?
Well, we now know WHAT GI is but HOW do we use it? Something to note is that the glycaemic index alone should not be your guide in selecting what to eat. The total amount of proteins, carbohydrate, fat, fibre and salt content of foods are also incredibly important! Something you should watch for is fat content. As you will notice that a lot of foods which have a low GI can also have high-fat content which is not ideal as it can help attribute to the development of heart disease and nobody wants that! So pick out some foods from the lower end of the GI spectrum and mix it with other ingredients which are in the medium to high range but keep in mind to watch your sugar levels and eat balanced meals.