There is a lot of buzz surrounding low G.I diets, as many low G.I foods are in fact healthy and favourable choices to include in your diet!
Using the G.I system can be useful for anyone that wants to really get a grip on their blood glucose level management, and is especially useful for those suffering with diabetes – although it does have its limitations.
What is the Glycaemic Index?
Basically, the glycaemic index of a food is a ranking that places carbohydrates in order of how fast the body converts them to glucose. The highest G.I score would be 100, and white bread is used as a reference food.
The glycaemic index scale compares foods with the same amount of carbohydrates, gram for gram. If a food is ranked highly on the scale such as foods with a score over 70 this means they will break down quickly through digestion.
Foods with a lower score, such as those under 55 break down slower and are classed as low GI foods. These foods help you feel fuller for longer and tend to release energy slower, making them sensible choices to include in your diet.
However, it is not quite as black and white as this in the context of everyday life. This is because when you eat other foods, such as fats and protein and combine differently ranked G.I carbohydrates, the speed in which the body converts these foods to glucose is changed.
The Glycaemic Index Diet | Tips
1) Combining foods slows down the conversion of carbohydrates to sugar. It can be useful to combine a high G.I carbohydrate ranked food with a low G.I option to balance out a meal.
2) Just because a food is of a low G.I ranking, it does not mean that you do not need to take portion size into consideration, calories and the total amount of carbohydrate are still very important factors, especially if your aim is fat loss.
3) Your priority should be eating a healthy balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables and fibre while still eating ample protein and fat!
The Glycaemic Index Scale | Food Examples
Low G.I foods >>> a score of less than 55 include:
✓ Whole grain foods such as whole grain rice, porridge, lentils and beans, milk.
Medium GI foods >>> a score between 55 and 70 would include foods such as:
✓ Wholegrain breads, basmati rice, honey, raisins.
High GI foods >>> a score greater than 70 includes:
✓ Mashed potatoes, white breads, white rice, cornflakes, rice cakes.
Low G.I snack ideas
#1 Greek yoghurt with berries
This is a great high protein low fat snack that will keep you full for hours and satisfy your sweet tooth.
#2 Nuts and seeds
These are a great snack to eat on the go and are easy to transport since they don’t need to be kept cold. Nuts are packed with healthy fats and protein.
#3 Hummus & vegetables
Hummus is super easy to make and a great low G.I choice when it comes to snacking. Pair it with some low G.I veggies to dip in and you will have a delicious snack to tide you over to your next meal.
Simply blend some chickpeas, tahini paste, garlic and olive oil till smooth and serve or click on the image below to make our low-fat hummus!
#4 Baked apple slices with cinnamon
Slice an apple thinly and place on a baking tray. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake for 30 minutes at 160 c. Turn over when the thirty minutes is up then bake for a further thirty minutes.
Allow to cool and serve – this is also a delicious snack when you dip the slices into some greek yoghurt!
Take Home Message
It is important to be aware of the limits of using the G.I scale in planning all your food choices. Certain treats may have a higher G.I rating than healthy everyday nutrient rich foods such as certain fruits.
It is important to not get too caught up in a foods G.I rating as just because a healthy food has a high rating on the scale it does not mean we should always replace it with a nutrient devoid choice simply due to its G.I rating.
Live balanced and enjoy these low G.I snacks!