Tuesday 9 August 2011

Low GI foods

The Glycaemic index (GI) measures the effect of carbohydrates on blood sugar levels. Foods with a high GI value will be quickly broken down through digestion and release glucose speedily into the bloodstream. Low GI foods are digested slowly and are gradually absorbed into the bloodstreams as glucose, causing a steady rise in blood sugar levels.

Eating foods with low GI levels may help with weight control, as well as improving diabetics' long-term control of their blood sugar levels. Food containing high GI levels can be detrimental to your body, especially if you are overweight or sedentary. A lower GI  diet will keep your energy levels balanced and can help to improve long term blood glucose control. It will also reduce the risk of  heart disease and improve blood cholesterol levels. Because low GI foods take longer to digest they make you feel fuller for longer, and so GI diets are popular with people trying to lose weight. Another benefit to people seeking to lose weight is that low GI foods can prolong physical endurance.

The glycaemic index classifies carbohydrates based on how quickly and how high they boost blood sugar compared to pure glucose. Foods with a high glycemic index, like white bread, cause rapid spikes in blood sugar. Foods with a low glycemic index, like whole oats, are digested more slowly, causing a lower and gentler change in blood sugar. There are many different lists available on line or in books detailing the GI value of foods. All lists categorise food as Low GI value (a score less than less than 55), Medium GI value (score 56-69) and a High GI value (score of 70 or more).

However, there are some foods that are particularly low in GI value and these are detailed below:

Apples have a low glycaemic index of 28. They have many health benefits and are a great healthy snack.

Baked Beans
The baked bean is a rich source of protein, fibre, iron and calcium. It contains carbohydrate that, like that in apples, is of the low GI variety with a value of 40. 

With a GI of 20, cherries provide many health benefits.

Grapefruits are packed full of fibre and micro nutrients.  They have a GI index of just 20, and may well have fat burning qualities too.

Lentils are packed full of fibre, folate and iron, and have a GI value of  16.


Multi grain bread
Bread containing many seeds and wholegrain have a low GI of 42, which can protect against heart disease, reduce hunger pangs, and help with weight control.

Oats have a GI value of 36 and will help keep you full and energised.

Some of the top low GI vegetables include: broccoli (10), cabbage (10), carrots (16), capsicum (10), cauliflower (15), chillies (10), corn, frozen (47), eggplant (15), lettuce (10), mushrooms (10), onions (10), peas, frozen (39), tomatoes (15).

Low fat yogurt has a value of 16.  It can be used to accompany fruit or even as frozen yogurt.

Low GI foods:
  • Wholegrain or mixed grain breads (granary, rye, linseed)
  • Pasta, buckwheat and bulgar wheat
  • Most vegetables
  • Low fat milk, diet yogart
  • Apples, apricots, citrus, cherries, grapes, mangos, pear, plums, prunes, kiwi, strawberries
  • Sweet potato
  • Porridge
  • Oatmeal biscuits
  • Dark chocoloate, peanuts, cashew nuts

Medium GI foods:
  • Pitta, muffins, crumpets
  • Basmati rice, coucous, quinoa
  • Beans and pulses; ice cream, low fat custard
  • Apricot, banana, pineapple, fruit juice, mixed dried fruit, dried figs, sultanan and raisins
  • New potatoes, boiled potatoes
  • Shredded wheat
  • Rich tea, digestives, shortbread
  • Honey, reduced sugar jams

High GI foods:
  • White breads, wholemeal bread, baguettes, bagels; brown rice, white rice, rice cakes, crackers
  • Beetroot and broad beans
  • Soya milk, rice milk
  • Dried dates, melon, jam and marmalade
  • Chips, instant potao, roast potato, mashed potato
  • Rice krispies, cornflakes, sugary cereals, sultana bran
  • Crackers, custard creams, bourbon biscuits
  • Sugar, glucose tablets, soft drinks, sweets.
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