A low glycemic index diet is one that focuses on eating foods that have a low impact on blood sugar levels. This type of diet has been shown to be beneficial for people with diabetes, as well as those who are looking to lose weight or improve their overall health. In this blog post, we will discuss the benefits of following a low glycemic index diet and provide some tips for how you can get started!
Characteristics of the GI
The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly blood sugar levels rise, after eating a particular food. Foods that have a high GI are those, that cause a rapid increase in blood sugar levels, while foods with a low GI cause a slower and more gradual increase.
The rules of Low GI Diet
According to GI indicator, carbohydrates are divided into three groups of products:
- High-glycemic foods (70 and more),
- Medium glycemic foods (56-69),
- Low glycemic foods (55 and below).
Another important indicator is the glycemic load (GL), that includes the amount of carbohydrates consumed per serving.
The method of preparing meals also affects GI- the longer your food is cooked, the faster the sugars in it will be digested and absorbed, resulting in a higher GI. In case of fruit - the more mature fruit, the higher the GI.
So, the general rule of this diet is to eat only products that have a low glycemic index, i.e. those from the IG <55 group.
Who should try Low GI diet ?
A low glycemic index diet is not only for people with diabetes. It is perfect for those, who need to keep their blood glucose levels under control, like someone suffering from insulin resistance. It is also a good choice for people who are trying to lose weight.
What are the benefits of a low glycemic index diet?
✔ Blood sugar under control,
✔ improved cholesterol levels,
✔ reduced risk of heart disease and other chronic health conditions,
✔ weight loss.
What foods have low GI?
Mainly natural, unprocessed products, with no added sugars, such as:
- Fruits: apple, strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, avocado, currant, grapefruit and apricot;
- Vegetables: tomatoe, zucchini, onion, garlic, cauliflower, broccoli, olives, cucumber, sweet potatoe with orange flesh, corn;
- Dairy products and its plant substitutes: eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt, coconut milk, soy milk, almond milk;
- Fish and seafood: salmon, trout, tuna, sardines and prawns;
- Meat: beef, chicken, pork, lamb;
- Fats and oils: olive oil and butter;
- Nuts: almond, cashew, pistachio, walnut and macadamia nut;
- Cereals: basmati , long-grain and brown rice; quinoa, barley, pearl couscous, buckwheat, semolina;
- Pasta: classic, vermicelli and rice pasta;
- Bread: whole grain, multigrain, rye, sourdough.
What to Avoid on a Low GI Diet?
If you need to stick to a diet and prepare foods that contain ingredients that have a low glycemic index, you should avoid foods such as:
- Bread: white bread and rolls, bagels, naan bread, Turkish bread, French baguettes, Lebanese bread;
- Breakfast cereals: instant oatmeal, rice crackers, corn flakes;
- Starchy vegetables: potatoes, instant mashed potatoes;
- Most of the dried and preserved fruits, as well as those in sugar marinades: fig, raisin, date, canned fruit;
- Pasta: corn pasta;
- Rice: jasmine, arborio, calrose, medium grain white;
- Dairy substitutes: rice and oat milk;
- Fruits: watermelon, banana, kiwi;
- Spicy snacks: rice crackers, corn cookies, rice wafers, pretzels, corn chips;
- Cakes and other sweets: buns, donuts, muffins, cookies, waffles, jelly beans;
- Drinks: isotonic drinks, beer and sweet drinks.
How to calculate the GL of a meal?
If we take an example of meal that contains:
50 g brown rice (GI = 55 and 34.2 g carbohydrates)
100 g tomato (IG = 15 and 2.7 g carbohydrates)
100 g chicken breast (GI = 0 and 0 g carbohydrates)
200 g of orange juice (IG = 50 and 19.6 g of carbohydrates)
Keeping in mind that GL = (IG x amount of digestible carbohydrates) / 100, the ŁG is:
for rice = 18.8
for tomato = 0.4
for chicken breast = 0
for orange juice = 9.8
The total GG of the whole meal is: 29.05, which is a meal with a high GG.
Is there any downside to a low GI diet?
The downside to a low GI diet is that you are constantly checking your GI values and have to remember how to combine the ingredients to keep your entire dish low. However, the advantages of using it far outweigh the disadvantages!
The health benefits are primarily the upside. People on a diet can also count on weight loss, increased energy and improved well-being. In addition, over time you will remember all the rules and without thinking you will know which dish is right for you.
A well-prepared diet contains products from different groups, so there is no risk of nutritional deficiencies. Not sure if you can prepare your own meals correctly? Visit our website and order one of our Low GI diets!