Low glycemic index diet and its benefits and effects

Low glycemic index diet

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The concept of the glycemic index (GI) was first conceived and developed in 1980-1981 by Dr. David J. Jenkins and his colleagues at the University of Toronto while working to find the optimal diet for people with diabetes. To put it in simple words, eating a low glycemic index diet or foods that have a low GI has various health benefits for the body.

Low glycemic diet food infographic

Low GI foods take longer to digest and glucose takes longer to be absorbed into the bloodstream. This means that blood glucose levels do not rise after eating a low glycemic index diet. On the other hand, eating foods with a high GI causes glucose to be immediately released into the bloodstream, leading to high blood sugar levels.

What is the glycemic index (GI)?
Benefits of the low glycemic index diet
What affects the GI of food?
Low GI foods
High GI foods
diet plan
Frequent questions:

What is the glycemic index (GI)?

What is the glycemic index (GI)?

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Carbohydrates are an essential part of a healthy diet. They are mainly found in cereals, bread, fruits and vegetables, and dairy products. none type of carbohydrate your intake has to be digested and broken down into simple sugars like glucose. This then enters the bloodstream. Now all carbohydrates are different and affect blood sugar differently.

The glycemic index or GI of any food is the measure of its effect on blood glucose, which is the concentration of glucose in the blood. As mentioned, foods with a low glycemic index prevent blood sugar from spiking, while foods with a high glycemic index cause high blood sugar levels.

Low glycemic index value

The infographic above shows the different GI ratings and values. Please note that the average GI values ​​for different foods are based on values ​​obtained for 10 humans. The rates at which foods raise blood sugar are compared to the absorption of 50 grams of pure glucose. In other words, the absorption of pure glucose is used as a reference point and has a GI value of 100.

Advice: Foods that do not contain carbohydrates are not assigned a GI value. Examples are spices and herbs, eggs, and meat.

Benefits of the low glycemic index diet

Benefits of the low glycemic index diet

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Eating a low GI diet benefits your health by controlling blood sugar levels and reducing your risk of diabetes. Other health benefits are as follows:

  • A low GI diet can lower total cholesterol and LDL or bad cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is associated with the risk of heart disease and stroke, so eating right can keep your heart healthy.
  • Low GI foods can help you lose weight by promoting fat loss.
  • Studies suggest that foods with a high GI may increase the risk of certain types of cancer, such as endometrial cancer, colorectal cancer, and breast cancer. Following a low GI diet can help you prevent these ailments.

Advice: If you have diabetes, eating foods that take longer to digest will benefit your health.

What affects the GI of food?

What affects the GI of food?

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Several factors affect the GI value of foods. These are listed below.

  • The type of sugar: not all sugars have a high GI; the GI of fructose is 23 while that of maltose is 105.
  • The type of starch: Starch is a carbohydrate made of amylose and amylopectin; the former is difficult to digest and the latter is easy to digest. Foods with more amylose have a lower GI.
  • The type of carbohydrate: Milling, rolling, and other similar processing methods alter amylose and amylopectin, raising the GI of foods. The more processed a food is, the higher its GI.
  • Fruit Ripening: Complex carbohydrates in unripe fruit break down into simple sugars as the fruit ripens. So ripe fruits have a higher GI than unripe fruits.
  • The preparation method: The longer you cook a food, the faster the body will digest its sugars, which will increase its GI. At the same time, adding protein or fat to food slows down digestion and can help lower the glycemic response.

Advice: Understanding the factors that affect the glycemic index of foods will help you make better choices.

Low GI foods

Low GI foods

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Add these low GI foods to your daily meals:

  • Fresh fruits
  • Green vegetables
  • garbanzo beans
  • Beans
  • lentils
  • bran flakes
  • steel cut oats
  • soba noodles
  • quinoa
  • Barley

Advice: Add a mix of good carbohydrates to your diet for maximum benefits.

High GI foods

High GI foods

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Avoid or control your intake of these high GI foods:

  • White rice
  • White bread
  • Potatoes
  • beet root
  • Sugary drinks and foods

Advice: Limit your intake or avoid eating these foods for better health.

diet plan

low glycemic index diet plan

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To get started on the low GI diet, make a note of all the low-glycemic index foods. Build your diet plan to include different low GI food sources.

Here are some low-glycemic index eating principles to keep in mind:

  • Eat non-starchy vegetables, fruits, and beans.
  • Eat grains that are less processed or non-breakable, like whole grain bread or brown rice, or traditionally processed items like plain granola or steel cut oats.
  • Limit starchy foods like white potatoes and refined grain products. If you love white bread or pasta, have them as side dishes with limited portions.
  • Avoid sugary drinks, choose whole fruit over fruit juices, and limit your intake of high-calorie, sugary treats like candy and ice cream.

Low glycemic index diet: limit starchy foods

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  • Eat quality protein, like beans and lentils. Also add healthy fats to your diet, such as nuts and seeds, fruits like avocados, and olive oil.
  • Limit your intake of saturated fats, such as those found in dairy and animal products. Avoid partially hydrogenated fats (trans fats); these are found in packaged foods and fast foods.

Advice: Also adopt healthy eating habits, such as having three meals and two snacks per day, exercising portion control, and eating slowly and stopping when you feel full.

Is low carb diet good for everyone?

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Frequent questions:

Q. Is the low carbohydrate diet good for everyone?

A. Yes, low-carb diets benefit everyone by increasing good cholesterol levels, lowering blood pressure, and lowering triglyceride levels. Make sure you eat a variety of healthy carbohydrates like whole grains and unprocessed foods.

Q. What is a high protein, low GI diet?

A. On the high-protein, low-GI diet, you eat foods that increase the gut hormone signal in your brain. This triggers the ‘stop eating’ signal, helping you feel full and preventing you from overeating. By choosing satiating foods such as quality proteins, you will feel full and avoid snacking between meals. The diet involves increasing protein in your diet, eating carbohydrate foods with a low glycemic index, reducing your intake of fats and sugars, and eating more fruits and vegetables.

diet

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Q. Do diabetics benefit from a low glycemic index diet?

A. Yes, a low glycemic index diet is beneficial for people with diabetes. This is because low GI foods keep your blood sugar levels from spiking, giving you a steady stream of sugar and energy.

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