Low-glycemic carbohydrates, or Low GI carbs, are foods that once eaten, cause a steady rise in blood glucose. These types of foods are good for your body, and are much healthier to eat on a regular basis. Choosing to eat low-glycemic carbs can actually help prevent some diseases, such as diabetes.
The glycemic index measures the speed at which food breaks down in the digestive system, forms into glucose, then enters the blood stream. If there is a rise in blood glucose levels, the food is considered high-glycemic.
The index is scored on a scale of 100, 100 representing pure glucose.
Foods that are broken down into the blood stream quickly are considered a high score (usually over 70). These foods consist of carbs that will break down quickly during digestion and release glucose rapidly into the bloodstream. Foods which are slowly broken down into the blood stream are considered a low score (usually under 55) Foods which are lower on the GI index consist of carbs that will break down slowly during digestion, which releases glucose into the bloodstream at a slower rate.
Eating low-glycemic foods helps to keep food digestion slow. Eating low-glycemic carbs in combination with healthy proteins and smart fats improve blood sugar regulation and help you feeling full, as your hormones aren’t sending your brain signals that you’re hungry. (Like it does when you consume high-glycemic foods)
You want to consume low-glycemic foods as much as possible in order to contain a steady rise in blood glucose. Not managing your blood glucose can cause it to drop too low (also know as hypoglycemia) or raise too high (also known as hyperglycemia).
Not eating enough low-glycemic foods can cause hypoglycemia symptoms such as;
+ fast heartbeat
If you eat at too many high-glycemic foods you can cause hyperglycemia symptoms such as;
+ blurry vision
+ dry skin
+ extreme thirst
+ urinating often
The glycemic index doesn’t work for all types of food. Foods have to have a substantial amount of carbohydrates in order to be measured. There are also a few different factors such as; types of starch in the food, protein and fat content and the amount of salt.
When food is high in fiber it slows the breakdown of digestion, which lowers the GI. Most breads that are made with grains have high amounts of fiber therefore have a lower GI than white breads. However 100% whole wheat breads are actually very similar to white breads, so opt for whole grain breads over whole wheat.
This makes it sound a little tricky, so are low-glycemic foods healthy? Not necessarily.
Take alcohol for example. Hard alcohol such as vodkas and rum are have a very low GI. This doesn’t mean it is a healthy ingredient for your body, it only means it won’t cause a rise in blood glucose.
It’s the same for some other low GI foods, there’s some on the list that aren’t good for you, but these foods aren’t on my list! 🙂
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The above picture shows many options of different types of food which have a low GI. These foods are good to add to your diet at any time. Some of these, like almonds, and oats, I have to admit I have all. the. time.
How do you create your grocery shopping list each week?
Do you include low-glycemic foods into your diet?