Over last 30 years, research into food and blood glucose response has completely changed our carbohydrate classification system.
It has been learned that it is impossible to predict impact on blood glucose levels by certain foods, instead people are fed carbohydrate foods and response measured.
This response is known as Glycemic Index (GI), it is a measure of how quickly carbohydrate foods are digested and absorbed, and ranks carbohydrate foods according to their impact on blood sugar (glucose) levels: as indicted by elevated blood glucose.
Foods with a high GI are absorbed quickly into blood stream and cause a rapid rise in blood glucose levels. While foods with a low GI are broken down more slowly over time and keep blood glucose levels more stable (Remember that low is slow!).
Some carbohydrate foods will maintain your energy levels for hours, while some may cause your blood glucose to rise and fall. Different types of carbohydrate can also affect feelings of fullness in stomach and this can influence hunger and your ability to control your body weight.
Why is GI important?
When our blood glucose levels are stable we have plenty of readily available fuel for brain and muscles. If our blood glucose levels drop too low (hypoglycaemia) we feel tired, dizzy and generally unwell. If our blood glucose levels rise too quickly a rapid drop usually follows this.
Include low glycemic index foods in meals and snacks to slow release of glucose into bloodstream. A low glycemic index snack a few hours before exercise will help maintain your energy levels for more effective training.
After high intensity exercise (strength training) a high glycemic index snack should be consumed within 30 minutes. This will help to replace energy and start recovery process.
Low-GI foods take longer to digest and help delay hunger pangs that little bit more and thus promote weight loss. So please choose your carbs carefully as this will lower your insulin levels and burn more fat. The secret is to swap high GI foods with low GI foods.
Simple steps to a low GI diet.
Step No 1
Start with a healthy, well balanced and varied diet based on a good nutrition program. The diet should be low in fats, moderate in carbohydrate and protein. The program should be high in fibre and contain a varied amount of foods to provide required amount of vitamins and minerals.
Step No 2
Look at type of carbohydrates that you consume during day. Look at carbs that you eat most, as these will have most dramatic impact on your diet.
Try to change carbs you eat most with at least one low GI one. (Replace potato with sweet potato, use noodles instead of rice) By substituting half of your daily carbohydrate from high GI to low GI will result in an overall reduction in GI of your diet.