What is the GI Diet All About?

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Last week I wrote about the Mediterranean Diet and how you can incorporate some of it’s heart healthy benefits into your diet plan by eating more fresh fruits, nuts, fish and poultry. This week, I am going to share with you a little bit about the Glycemic Index or GI diet.

What is the Glycemic Index? How a Low Glycemic Diet Can Help You

The glycemic index is a chart of values that tells you how fast a particular food is digested, turned into sugar and raises the blood sugar levels. The GI is a numerical value that indicates how quickly and how far a particular food will raise the blood glucose levels.

















Why is the Glycemic Index Important?

Foods with high glycemic index values are quickly turned into sugar and find their way into the blood stream. This raises blood sugar levels quickly and causes your insulin level to increase.

When sugars are quickly moved into the bloodstream and raise the blood sugar quickly this is hard for the body to handle. If it happens regularly, your body becomes slower to react.

As your blood sugar rises you experience a lot of physical and mental symptoms that may be mild. Over time, high blood sugar causes damage to your organs and systems.

Some foods raise the blood sugar levels more than others. Knowing the effect your foods have on your blood sugar can help you make healthy choices and prevent disease. The glycemic index is a helpful tool that will help you select the right foods to keep your blood sugar levels stable and healthy.

Eating foods with a low glycemic index prevents these problems by raising the blood sugar levels slowly and only moderately. The body has time to use the sugar and keep the levels at a healthy level, preventing insulin resistance, heart disease, and type-2 diabetes. A low glycemic diet is also associated with improved cholesterol levels and a decrease in certain cancer risks. The diet consisting of foods low of the GI scale will also help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight.


How to Choose Healthy Foods Using the Glycemic Index

When choosing foods based on their glycemic index, it is important to note that high GI foods can be enjoyed in moderation as long as you do not have any existing blood sugar problems. You want to choose the majority of your meal from low GI sources such as vegetables and fruits served alongside your lean meat.

Grains, legumes, sugar, flour and highly refined products have a higher GI and should be enjoyed in moderation. Eat a small portion along with a variety of low GI foods to help reduce their effects on your blood sugar.

A food with a GI value over 60 is usually considered to be a high GI food and should be eaten in moderation. If you have problems regulating your blood sugars, you should choose foods with a GI value below 40.

In a healthy meal, at least half of the foods will have a GI below 50. The main dishes should have a GI of less than 70 at the most. If you have one food with a high GI, try to balance it by serving only a small amount and having a lot of other foods with low GI values less than 40.

It can take a little while to get used to the glycemic index and learn to estimate the GI of a particular  food. But with practice, you will find it getting easier and your meals will be healthier.


Have a question about fitness, exercise, nutrition or weight loss? Drop me a line on the Ask me page.


One Response to “What is the GI Diet All About?”
  1. Shirley James says:

    This is great! I really appreciate this one because it is what I need to continue on my quest for good health. I am going to print it and keep it on my bed head or refrigerator. Thank you! Keep up the good work.