What Is The Glycaemic Index?

The glycaemic index is a rating system for any food that contains carbohydrates. It also shows how quickly food impacts your glucose level whenever it is consumed on its own.

High GI Foods

Carbohydrates are broken down quickly in your body which causes a significantly rapid increase in the glucose levels within your blood. Foods that have an abundance of carbohydrates have a high GI rating as a result. These foods are:

  • Sugary sodas
  • White bread
  • Potatoes  
  • White rice
  • Sugary foods.

Low & Medium GI Foods

Foods that are considered to be low and medium GI are normally broken down at a far slower rate than high GI foods. These foods cause a more gradual rise in blood sugar levels that occurs over a certain period of time. Some examples of low GI foods are:

– Pulses
– Some vegetables and fruit
– Whole grain foods like oats.
Low carb vegetables.

Are Low GI Foods Always Healthier?

There are some foods like wholegrain rice, fruit, beans, lentils, and vegetables that should be consumed as part of a balanced diet. However, it is misleading to simply use the glycemic index to ascertain what food combinations should be consumed,

Foods that have a high GI are not always unhealthy. For instance, watermelon is considered to be a high GI food, while chocolate cake is considered to have a lower Gi value. It is also important to note that foods that contain protein and fat will slow down the process of absorbing carbohydrates. This lowers their GI by proxy.
For example, crisps have a lower GI than potatoes as they are cooked using fats. However, crips should always be consumed in moderation. Thus, if you only consume foods that have a low GI, your diet will become incredibly unbalanced and high in fat.

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Will Consuming Low GI Foods Help Me To Lose Weight?

Consuming low GI foods will inherently cause your glucose levels to rise and fall at a slower pace which helps you to feel fuller for a longer period of time. This may be helpful to control your weight if you are trying to lose weight. However, not all foods that are considered to be low GI are healthy. Thus, relying on the index is not the best means of deciding which food combinations to implement into your lifestyle.

Can The Glycaemic Index Help People Who Have Diabetes?

The glycaemic index is an incredibly useful tool for those who have type 2 diabetes. This is because eating foods that have a low GI rating will help to control glucose levels in the blood. However, some factors also need to be taken into consideration. This is because research has indicated that the amount of carbohydrates consumed has the greatest influence on blood sugar levels after eating. This applies regardless of the GI level of the foods that are consumed.

Thus, it is crucial that you consume a healthy and well-balanced diet that is low in fat, salt, and sugar. A diet that consists of an abundance of vegetables and fruit is also key. If you have been advised to make dietary changes, a diabetes dietitian will be able to help you follow a diet plan.  You should always consult with your GP in order to be referred to a diabetes specialist or dietitian.

There are also numerous articles available online that outline what is required in order to establish a healthy and well-balanced diet. While this balance does not need to be achieved in every instance, it is crucial to aim to get the right balance as much as possible.

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Conclusion

To conclude, this article has outlined everything that you need to know about the glycemic index. The GI index states how quickly your blood sugar levels rise after consuming foods that contain carbohydrates.

While consuming foods that are considered to be low GI may help you to lose weight as these foods tend to make you feel fuller for a longer period of time, it is not always the case that low GI foods are healthier for you. Crisps and chocolate cake are considered to be low GI whereas potatoes that are cooked without fat are considered to be high GI.

If you diabetic, it is best to consult with your GP who will be able to refer you onto a diabetes dietician who will be able to outline a diet plan that is specifically tailored to your needs. While it is advisable to consume low GI foods, it is the amount of carbohydrates that are consumed overall that will have the most significant impact on your diabetes.

I hope that you have found this article to be insightful and informative. Thank you for reading.

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