The glycemic index (GI) ranks carbohydrate foods according to their effect on blood glucose levels (Brand Miller): High GI foods are absorbed quickly and cause a rapid rise in blood glucose levels. Low GI foods are broken down gradually over time and keep blood glucose levels more stable.
Benefits of Low GI foods
- Stable blood glucose levels, resulting in improved energy levels and reduced cravings for sugar and sweet foods;
- Keeps you full for longer, reducing total daily kilojoule intake;
- Improved blood glucose control for people with diabetes;
- Research shows that a low GI diet can help to improve blood lipid profile;
- Active people can use a combination of high and low GI foods to ensure optimal energy stores for exercise performance;
- A range of low GI foods provide important vitamins, minerals and fibre.
Low GI Foods
- Oats e.g. porridge or natural muesli;
- Multi-grain bread;
- Low-fat milk and yoghurt;
- Most fruit;
- Sweet corn;
- Sweet potato;
High GI Foods
- White bread;
- Rice-based crackers;
- White rice;
- Wheat-based breakfast biscuits;
- Jelly lollies;
- White Potato.
Carbohydrates are found in many of the foods we eat each day and are an important consideration for weight loss. Low GI foods are a great source of carbohydrates when trying to lose weight as the slow release of energy will help increase satiety levels.
It is important to remember that although low GI carbohydrates are a preferred choice, this does not mean you can eat as much as you like! A mistake that many people make is replacing fat in the diet with carbohydrates, often in unlimited and excessive volumes. Eating too much of any nutrient, including carbohydrates, can lead to over consumption of kilojoules and this will prevent body fat break down and result in subsequent body fat gain. Portion sizes should be appropriate for activity level and individual energy requirements.
A reduction in carbohydrate intake or total calorie intake may be warranted in many situations, however severe restriction of carbohydrate has a number of negative consequences!
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