Glycemix Index (GI) is a ranking of carbohydrate foods, from 0-100, according to their effect on blood glucose levels. Low GI foods cause a slower rise in blood glucose levels, which makes it easier for your body to control fluctuations in your blood glucose levels. High GI foods cause a large influx of glucose into the blood stream, which is then followed by a rapid drop – hence the “crashing” feeling after having had one too many lollies. Following a lower GI eating plan can assist in managing your blood glucose levels if you have diabetes and also plays a key role in assisting with weight management.
The idea is that your diet should be predominantly based around low GI foods – it’s not to exclude high GI foods all together. This is an important concept to remember when making your food choices, as some foods (eg certain fruits) are high GI, but this doesn’t make them a “bad” food. The best way to use GI in your diet is use it as a swapping tool within the same food group. For example – swap white bread for a grainy or sourdough bread, have porridge instead of cornflakes or use basmati rice instead of jasmine. The easiest and most effective swaps to make, are those which make up the staples of your diet (ie breakfast cereals, breads and rice).
Try looking up some of the common foods you eat on the Glycemic Index database (www.glycemicindex.com), and see if you can find a healthier option.
Remember – GI should not be used in isolation, but should be considered a component of a healthy diet. Aim to swap a high GI food for a low GI food, or be sure to simply include a low GI food in every meal! Enjoy.