For anyone looking to eat a more healthy diet, keep their weight down and increase their health a good place to start is to switch from refined carbohydrates to complex carbs. This is where the GI index can help.
GI (glycemic index) is a measure of how much a carbohydrate raises blood glucose once eaten. Carbohydrates are broken down by our bodies into glucose which is the main fuel for every cell in our body. Carbohydrates that have a high GI will get broken down more quickly giving high blood glucose levels thus causing a high insulin response. On the other hand low GI foods are broken down more slowly and a gradual release of glucose in to the blood is achieved, this gives the body a sustained energy source over a longer period of time and can improve the bodies sensitivity to insulin.
In recent years there has been an increase in the amount of refined carbohydrates eaten, refined carbohydrates have been stripped of their fibre and nutrients and this is why they are more quickly digested. This change in eating habits has been linked to obesity, diabetes, fatty liver that can lead to hepatitis or liver failure and other diseases.
To conclude it seems best to eat a varied healthy diet that is high in fibre and complex carbohydrates.
Low GI foods include:
- Rolled oats, wholewheat bread and pasta, brown or wild rice, apples, pears, broccoli, baked beans, sweetcorn, quinoa and more.
- Not all complex carbs have a low GI. The potato is a good example and is digested quickly, even more so when baked.