Glycemic Index

The Glycemic Index (GI) is a measure of carbohydrate in foods according to how they affect blood glucose levels. Carbohydrates with a low GI value (55 or less) are more slowly digested, absorbed and metabolised and cause a lower and slower rise in blood glucose and insulin levels.

 Glycemic Load
Glycemic Load (GL) is a measure of both the quality  and quantity  of a carbohydrate in a meal. A food’s glycemic load is determined by multiplying its glycemic index by the amount of carbohydrate the food contains in each serve and dividing by 100. 

Importance of low GI food
Foods of  low GI will not cause your blood glucose levels to increase and decrease suddenly i.e. you get sustained energy from the foods you eat. A  low GI diet is easy to follow. It does not have any restriction , involves major food groups and is a healthy  way of eating and suitable for the entire family. Following a low GI diet will help prevent and manage overweight and obesity, which are the major underlying causes of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.For diabetic people, low GI diets have been proven to improve blood glucose management and to reduce the risk of complications.

Carbohydrates and their importance

Carbohydrates are one of the most important sources of energy  and are mainly found in plants (fruits, vegetables, grains & legumes).

Carbohydrates are divided into starches (such as potatoes, cereals, bread, and pasta) and sugars such as table sugar (sucrose), milk sugar (lactose), and fruit sugar (fructose).

Refined starches and refined sugars are not good for our health

 Does all sugars  have high gi and all starches  low GI ?

It is a common misunderstanding that all sugars have a high GI and all starches have a low GI. In fact, most sugar-containing foods do not have a high GI. Low GI examples include most fresh, dried and canned fruits, reduced and low fat milks, flavoured milk drinks and yoghurts. On the other hand, many starchy foods have a high GI including white flour and white flour breads, potatoes , Jasmine rice, rice crackers, low-fat popcorn and many crunchy breakfast cereals (puffed rice, flaked corn and wheat).

Factors determining if a food is high/low GI.

The factors which influence the GI value of a food including the physical state of a food (i.e., how it’s been processed), its fat content, acidity, the type of sugar, type of starch and particle size.Carbohydrate foods that are processed   have high GI values because processing makes the sugars or starches more easily digestible and so they are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. For example, finely milled white flour breads have a high GI compared to traditional wholegrain bread.

How to follow a low GI diet?

Eating a low GI diet is easy. Simply swap at least one high GI food for a low GI food at each meal. Replace highly refined carbohydrates such as white bread, sugary treats and crispy puffed cereals with less processed carbohydrates such as grainy bread, pasta, legumes, fruit and vegetables. There is no need to cut out any foods or food groups.

How to loose weight with a low GI  food?

A healthy low GI diet will help you to lose body fat by:
Overcoming hunger: Because low GI foods take longer to digest, they make you feel satisfied for longer and trigger natural appetite suppressors.
Burns fat: Reducing insulin levels over the span of the day  makes fat easier to burn and less likely to be stored.
Maintaining your metabolic rate: If there is a large drop in food intake,the body normaly shows a rapid fall in the metabolic rate. It is not the case with  low GI foods.