Living in a time when diabetes is on the rise, knowing about the glycemic index can help you make healthier food decisions. A diet with low glycemic factors means you deposit and convert less sugar into your body. While the word "diet" seems to imply a sense of deprivation, a low glycemic diet actually leads the way to being more energetic with vitality to spare.
What is the Glycemic Index?
The glycemic index (GI) is the rating system used to determine the ability of your body to break down carbohydrates. If the GI for a food is high, it means that the response of your blood sugar is fast. Therein lies a sugar rush. If the GI is low, it allows for a more gradual glucose release into your body.
Purpose of Glycemic Index
Eating foods with a lower GI helps control diabetes. Using the GI, you can also lower cholesterol while losing weight. And for those who love to exercise, foods with a high GI will refuel us if you overexert yourself.
Low GI Diet
One of the main philosophies of a low glycemic diet is to minimize hunger and the need to "cheat." If you eat foods higher in glucose, you typically tend to consume an extra 200 calories at each meal. In general men need a minimum of 1,650 calories per day, women a minimum of 1,200. Just changing to foods with a lower GI can cause weight loss in some body types. See your health practitioner to determine the amount of caloric intake that works for your body.
Using a scale of 1 to 100, the lower GI number is the healthiest choice. The optimum is below 40. Foods that contain a low GI are wheat bran, oats, barley cereals and whole grain breads. Instead of potatoes, choose whole grain pasta or sweet potatoes. Substitute high GI salad dressings with lemon and vinegar.
Since sugary food has no other value than empty calories---a coke will give you a GI of 77, table sugar 68---switch to eating foods that add energy without a high GI. Nuts, beans and seeds range very low at 10 to 30 GI; they are great fuel for the mind and body. Try skim milk with a GI of 34, instead of whole milk. For a snack, eat an apple, 38 GI.
To try a low glycemic diet, here is a example of daily options:
For breakfast: muesli, porridge, whole grain toast, eggs, bacon
Morning snack: whole grain bagel, seeds, nuts, legumes, tea, corn chips
Lunch: chicken, pasta, salad, sandwiches with whole grain bread
Dinner: same as lunch, but add variety with vegetable soups, wheat tortillas and lean meats.
Dessert: fruit salads, low-fat yogurt, low-carbohydrate desserts