Tuesday, January 22, 2013

About The Glycemic Index

       Intro to the Glycemic Index (GI) 

1)   What is the GI?
Carbohydrates are one of the best sources of energy for our bodies. The simplest form of carbohydrate is glucose, which is:
  • A universal fuel for most organs and tissues in our bodies.
  • The only fuel source for our brains, red blood cells and a growing fetus, and is
  • The main source of energy for our muscles during strenuous exercise.
Surprisingly, most of us don't eat too much carbohydrate, but all too often we eat the wrong kind, because not all carbohydrates are created equal. This is where the glycemic index or GI comes in. It's about recognizing the 'smart carbs' - the low GI ones - and making sure we include them in our main meals and snacks.
The GI is simply a dietary tool that helps us differentiate between the various carbohydrate foods we eat and how our bodies use them.
  • Carbohydrates with a low GI (55 or less) don't make our blood glucose levels rise very high for very long. They provide sustained energy.
  • Carbohydrates with a high GI (70 or more) are the ones that cause our blood glucose levels to go higher for longer. High blood glucose may cause damage to vital organs.
Research has shown that if we eat too many high GI foods and not enough low ones, we are at risk of developing significant health problems.
For more on the GI, visit: www.glycemicindex.com

2)   Good sources of carbohydrate
Carbohydrate foods come mainly from plants - cereal grains, legumes, fruit and starchy vegetables. Some dairy foods like milk and yogurt also contain carbohydrate. Common sources of carbohydrate include:
  • Bread
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Noodles
  • Fruits and their juices such as apples, pears, oranges, plums, peaches and nectarines, berries and bananas
  • Starchy vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, taro, sweet corn, parsnips, pumpkin and carrots
  • Legumes (pulses) such as beans, chickpeas, lentils and split peas
  • Dairy foods like milk, yogurt, ice cream and their alternatives
  • Sugars, honey and confectionery
  • Starchy snack foods like potato and corn chips

3)   The health benefits of low GI eating
The scientific evidence supporting the health benefits of a healthy low GI diet is overwhelming. We know from over 30 years of research from around the world that healthy low Glycemic Index diets:
  • Help to fill you up and keep you feeling satisfied for longer, avoiding over eating or too much snacking.
  • Lower your insulin levels which makes fat easier to burn and less likely to be stored.
  • Help you to lose body fat and maintain lean muscle tissue.
  • Reduce your triglycerides, total and 'bad' (LDL) cholesterol.
  • Increase your levels of 'good' (HDL) cholesterol.
  • Reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Help to manage your blood glucose levels and reduce your risk of developing diabetes complications.
  • Reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
  • Reduce your risk of developing some cancers
  • Reduce your risk of developing certain eye diseases.
  • Improve your skin
  • Sustain your energy levels longer, improving both mental and physical performance.
Low GI eating really is for everyone.

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