WHAT IS THE GLYCEMIC INDEX?
Carbohydrates are an essential part of our diets, but not all carbohydrate foods are equal. The Glycemic Index (GI) is a relative ranking of carbohydrate in foods according to how they affect blood glucose levels. Carbohydrates with a low GI value (55 or less) are more slowly digested, absorbed and metabolised and cause a lower and slower rise in blood glucose and insulin levels.
There are three ratings for GI:
Low = GI value 55 or less
Medium = GI value of 56 – 69 inclusive
High = GI 70 or more
So why do we need good quality Low GI carbohydrates?
You need carbs as they break down into glucose in your body providing the main fuel for our brains and nervous systems, the preferred source of fuel for most organs and our muscles during exercise.
To help make healthy low GI choices quick and easy when you’re shopping, the Glycemic Index Foundation developed the GI Symbol. It guarantees that
a food has been tested by independent experts to be low GI and meets strict nutrient criteria.
The glycemic index (GI) is a ranking of carbohydrates on a scale from 0 to 100 according to the extent to which they raise blood sugar levels after eating. Foods with a high GI are those which are rapidly digested and absorbed and result in marked fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Low-GI foods, by virtue of their slow digestion and absorption, produce gradual rises in blood sugar and insulin levels, and have proven benefits for health. Low GI diets have been shown to improve both glucose and lipid levels in people with diabetes (type 1 and type 2). They have benefits for weight control because they help control appetite and delay hunger. Low GI diets also reduce insulin levels and insulin resistance.
Recent studies from Harvard School of Public Health indicate that the risks of diseases such as type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease are strongly related to the GI of the overall diet. In 1999, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) recommended that people in industrialised countries base their diets on low-GI foods in order to prevent the most common diseases of affluence, such as coronary heart disease, diabetes and obesity.