GI stands for glycemic index and provides a measurement of how quickly glucose (blood sugar) levels rise after eating particular foods. Each food has a rating on the GI scale and the effects they have on blood sugar levels vary considerably. GI measures the amount each gram of carbohydrates (minus the fiber) raises a person’s glucose level relative to the intake of pure glucose which has a glycemic index of 100.
Low GI Foods (55 and less)
· 100% stone-ground whole wheat bread
· Butter beans, yams, sweet potato, corn, legumes and lentils
· Converted rice, pasta, bulgar, barley
· Steel-cut or rolled oatmeal, muesli, oat bran
· Carrots, vegetables (non-starchy), fruits
Medium GI (56-69)
· Pita bread rye and whole wheat
· Couscous, brown rice
· Quick oats
High GI (70 and more)
· White rice (short-grain), macaroni, rice pasta and cheese
· Puffed rice, instant oatmeal, corn flakes
· Saltine crackers, rice cakes, pretzels, popcorn
· Pumpkin, russet potato
· Melons and pineapple
How is the Glycemic Index useful?
Unlike diet fads that appear now and again, low GI foods are essential for the prevention and treatment of many chronic diseases according to many scientific studies. These foods influence physiological processes in the body that affect physical activity, appetite, cognitive functions as well as energy balances. Low GI foods are an indispensible part of a healthy diet.
Prevention of Diseases
Increased intake of primarily low GI foods can reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes, gall bladder disease, coronary heart condition and breast cancer. Combining with foods that pack fiber will be more beneficial to your overall well being. The traditional Mediterranean diet, which is well-known for its cancer preventive properties, is a typical low GI diet with its seafood, vegetables, olive oil and low processed grains.
Increase of Energy
Professional athletes commonly follow diets with a low glycemic index. They base their exercise routines with the proper intake of nutritional food to maximise performance and quicken recovery times. Even if you have a regular job spending the day stuck in an office, understanding and having foods with low GI can help maintain energy levels and keep you focused throughout the day.
The human body’s way of digesting low GI foods is very slow. This provides a continuous flow of energy to muscles. Foods with high GI ingests quickly. The higher rate of metabolism seen with high GI foods is best used by athletes that require short, lasting spurts of power that gives a quick boost, but dies down faster.
Improved Mental Outlook
Serotonin is one of the most important neurotransmitters that determine a person’s mood. High levels boost a feeling of fulfillment with decreased food cravings and better sleep. Low serotonin levels makes you feel drained of energy, cranky and moody. The amount of serotonin in your brain and bloodstream is dependent on your food intake. Take care specifically of foods filled with carbohydrates. Eating sugar laden snacks when feeling down might perk you up initially but this lasts only for a short while and serotonin levels soon come crashing down.
According to recent studies by researchers at the University of Sydney, people who had higher percentages of low GI foods were found to lose weight and keep it off compared to those who had high GI foods. They reported a change in five percent of total body weight.
If that sounds low, consider those with insulin resistance who can reduce the risk of diabetes by 60 percent with this amount of slimming. GI diets have been found to be especially effective for women. Women not only regained energy and gained more muscle with this diet; their LD cholesterols levels remained low.
Combine a low GI diet with regular exercise and regular sports massages to ensure your body is always in peak physical condition.
Image Credit: John Hart Fitness