Saturday, 25 May 2013

Diets and Falacies (IV): Low GI diet

Low GI diet

Carbohydrates are all classified on a scale depending on how fast they release sugars into the blood stream. Glucose is 100 and no food is 0. This is called the Glyciemic Index.

Foods are known as high glyciemic if they are 70 and above, medium is 56 to 69, and low is below 55. High GI foods include bread, potato, white rice, pasta, sweets, banana and most dried fruits. Low GI foods include apple, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, lean meat and fish. 

When high GI foods are consumed there is a large spike in your blood sugar levels. The body reacts by releasing the hormone insulin whose job it is to lower blood sugar levels by gathering up blood glucose and storing it in fat cells.

A high spike in blood glucose will cause a large spike in insulin. This causes blood sugars to drop dramatically, often too low. In turn, this gives a person a low energy, flat feeling and a desire for more high GI foods. The same cycle repeats itself in a yoyo fashion all day – gaining body fat with low energy slumps.
The body functions best when blood sugars are at a constant level. By eating medium to low GI foods the blood sugars stay lower and energy is released at more constant level.
Less insulin is released and food is used for energy and not put into storage. There is a lower desire for sweet sugar foods and you feel less hungry.
The GI level of carbohydrates can be lowered by adding protein or fibre. For example add seeds or almond slithers to cereal or yoghurt.
As a guideline to a healthy diet and to assist weight loss I recommend people eat low GI foods and avoid high GI foods.

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