The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly a food or drink spikes your blood sugar, which depends upon how quickly the food turns into sugar after you eat it. The Glycemic index chart runs from 1 to 100, and in this case, the lower the score, the better.
Foods and drinks that score low on the GI scale are healthy sources of steady, long-term energy. These are the foods that you should be eating the most of.
High GI foods and drinks, on the other hand, make your blood sugar behave like a bottle rocket – it shoots up, then crashes to earth. Simple table sugar, for example, has a GI of about 150!
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition defines “low glycemic” as foods with a GI of less than 55, and “high glycemic” as foods with a GI of 70 or more. A GI value tells you how rapidly a particular carbohydrate turns into sugar. Mid-range GI foods, which have a rating of 56 to 69, can be included in your diet in moderation, and the great thing is that you can even have your favorite high GI index foods on occasion.
There are many reasons why you should strive to eat Low GI foods…
Here are a few:
- Low GI foods mean a smaller rise in blood glucose levels.
- Low GI foods keep you feeling full longer.
- Low GI foods can help you lose weight.
- Low GI foods can improve your body’s sensitivity to insulin.
- Low GI foods can help to control diabetes.
- Low GI foods can prolong physical endurance.
- Low GI foods remain in your system long enough to refuel your body with carbs after you exercise.
One of the other bad aspects of having your system flooded with insulin after a high GI meal is that insulin suppresses the release of glucagon in your body.
Glucagon is a hormone that pulls fat out of your cells and gives it to your muscles to burn for fuel. If you’re trying to lose weight, you want glucagon circulating in your body. This is yet another reason why you DON’T want your system flooded with insulin. You can find a list of the GI scale foods below. Alternatively, you can see our Low GI Recipes for healthy nutritios meals.
Low GI Diet Foods List
This is by no means a comprehensive list however, here is a list of Low GI Foods that you can use as a guide to what you can eat. The foods below all have a glycemic index rating of under 55 which means that these foods will have a reduced effect on your blood sugar levels.
WHAT IS A GLYCEMIC INDEX?
Food Intake and How It Affects Your Body
When you eat, you take in vitamins and minerals that help your body. You also take in elements known as biomolecules. For example, proteins and carbohydrates are biomolecules. These are essential elements for your health, but it’s also important to know how different foods affect your body.
Carbohydrates are used first and foremost to power your body. Energy is derived from the intake of carbs. Carbohydrates also bring other benefits, such as good reproductive health, improved immune systems, and growth and development. Carbohydrates also bring into your body an important natural sugar known as glucose.
When you ingest carbohydrates, it raises the glucose level in your blood. Your blood sugar is not stable then, as it rises after a meal and diminishes until you eat again. When the glucose rises, your body produces insulin to help you absorb glucose to expend it as energy.
What Is the Glycemic Index?
Of course, too much blood sugar can be a bad thing. With repeatedly rapid rises of glucose in your blood stream, your body may become insulin-resistant, which can lead to many health-related issues. This is where the glycemic index can help.
The glycemic index is a measurement of how quickly your blood sugar will rise in response to different foods. Each food is categorized as having a high or a low glycemic index. To remain healthy, you’ll want to maximize the carbohydrates in your diet that have a low glycemic index. This means that these foods will provide you with the energy you need without spiking your blood sugar too rapidly.
Simple vs. Complex Carbohydrates
When carbohydrates break down quickly and transfer to your bloodstream as glucose, these are simple carbohydrates. They are good for people who need a quick burst of energy and can even help if someone is feeling faint. However, they are less healthy for you in the long run.
Complex carbohydrates are the ones that have a low glycemic index. These foods take longer to break down, so the glucose is slowly released into your bloodstream.
How the Glycemic Index Helps
Knowing whether your foods have a high or low glycemic index will help you make smart dietary decisions. You can prioritize healthier foods and keep the others for special occasions.