GI (Glycaemic Index) is a term that describes the speed at which dietary carbohydrates break down in the digestive system to form glucose (sugar).
Foods that break down rapidly reach high levels of glucose in the blood quickly. They therefore have a higher GI than do foods that break down slowly and reach a lower level of glucose in the blood.
In a nutshell, a healthy diet is a low GI diet - one where glucose is distributed into the body slowly and to low levels. Individuals who follow a mainly low GI diet over many years are at a significantly lower risk for developing type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease than others. They also tend to be a healthy weight, as a low GI diet leaves you feeling fuller for longer after a meal than a high GI diet does, thereby reducing the urge to snack.
When it comes to the numbers, high GI foods are considered to have a GI greater than 55. There are many resources on the internet to help you to find the GI of specific foods. But, if like me you want to keep it simple, here are the easy key points to a low GI diet.
Pile half of your dinner plate with vegetables or salad.
Minimize processed foods
Be careful with potatoes. Reduce your consumption, replace with Sweet Potatoes or choose low GI varieties such as Carisma
Minimize and replace white starches ...
Trade white bread for whole grain or whole wheat bread.
Trade white rice for basmati or brown rice.
Trade white pasta for al dente whole wheat pasta.
Trade white cake for carrot cake.
Bake with low GI flours
Fresh fruit, vegetables, legumes and protein such as meat, fish and chicken are all low GI.
Some healthy foods have high GI, such as melon. But as melon is mostly water, you need to eat a bucket of it at one sitting for it to be a problem.
Some unhealthy foods have low GI, like chocolate. However, chocolate is high in oil and therefore bad for your cholesterol if consumed as more than a delicious, occasional and well-deserved indulgence.
“...Individuals who follow a mainly low-GI diet over many years are at a significantly lower risk for developing Type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease than others. They also tend to be a healthy weight...”