GI: The Glycemic Index Explained
The Glycemic Index (GI) measures the effect of foods on your blood sugar levels. Eating foods with a high glycemic index value will raise the blood sugar level more dramatically than foods with a low glycemic index value.
Traditional thinking has told us that complex carbohydrates like rice and potatoes were absorbed slowly, and that simple and refined carbohydrates, like candies and jams resulted in a sharp rise in blood sugar. However recent research has indicated that this is not necessarily the case. There are more factors involved than just simple vs complex or refined vs natural.
The GI values are a measure of 1 to 100 where pure glucose has a value of 100. Many carbohydrate-rich foods have been tested and applied against the index. A value of 50 (for example) indicates that the food has an effect on blood sugar equal to half that of glucose.
Glycemic Index and Weight Loss
The GI has had a pronounced affect on the health community, with many Doctors now recommending the GI to patients with diabetes and/or obesity. A number of nutritionists are no longer educating people on complex vs simple carbs, but tend to favor the GI index.
Eating foods with a low GI value tend to provide a feeling of fullness for longer and therefore assist those trying to eat less or lose weight. Diabetics can now choose their foods in a more controlled manner.
The GI factor is not the key to all weight loss, but it is another excellent another tool. A diet rich in low GI foods is a good diet, provided that there is nutritional variety.
Glycemic Index Food List
|LOW GI (< 55)||MEDIUM GI (55-70)||HIGH GI (> 70)|
Apple and apple juice
Bread (white and brown)
Pineapple, mango, melon
Crackers and crisp breads
Low GI eating
Here is a guide to forming your own low GI eating habits.
- Choose Basmati rice instead of normal rice.
- New potatoes have a lower GI than older potatoes. Sweet potatoes also have a low GI.
- Unrefined cereals such as oats or muesli are lower in GI than processed cereals.
- Bread with lots of grains and seeds are lower in GI than other breads.
- When eating biscuits and crackers, those with whole grains in them are lower in GI.
- Cakes and muffins made with fruit, oats, and seeds can supply more low-GI ingredients.
- Fruits - Stone fruit (peaches, nectarines), apples, citrus are lower in GI than tropical fruits such as bananas, melons, pineapple, etc.
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