The Glycemic index is one of the tools which is used to manage blood sugar in the body. It has been influenced by several factors such as nutrient composition, cooking method, and ripeness. With the advancement of age, people are becoming more self-conscious wherein they pay more attention to what they put on the plate.
Glycemic index helps in creating awareness of what you eat which helps you in managing your weight loss process and reduce cholesterol levels, apart from managing your blood sugar levels in the body.
Let us first understand what is glycemic index is exactly and how to use it appropriately.
What is Glycemic Index?
Glycemic Index or popularly known as GI, is known to measure and check the different types of foods which can lead to a spike in the levels of blood sugar in your body, as mentioned earlier.
Under this index, foods are categorized into three types of groups: Low, medium and high glycemic foods which are ranked from 0 to 100. The lesser the number on the scale the less the food is going to affect your blood sugar levels.
Low glycemic foods are generally ranked 55 or less than 55. Medium glycemic foods are considered to fall 56 to 69, whereas high glycemic foods are ranked from 70 or above 70.
The foods that are considered to possess a high amount of glycemic index (GI) are refined carbohydrates and sugar, which can be digested quickly. However, they can create a spike in the levels of your blood sugar.
Foods that fall in the first category with a low GI are high in protein, fat, and fiber. Some foods contain no amount of carbohydrates and therefore they do not fall in any of the above-mentioned categories. These include meat, fish, poultry, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices, and oils.
As mentioned earlier, while considering the glycemic index (GI) you also need to keep in mind other factors such as the method of cooking, the type of sugar, ripeness, etc. Similar to the glycemic index (GI), you also have a glycemic load (GL), which takes into account the quantity of food that you are consuming.
The Glycemic index does not consider the quantity of food you consume every day; it is only concerned with which type of food you eat and how it will affect the management of blood sugar in your body. Therefore, if needed, sometimes both the glycemic index and glycemic load have to be considered to maintain a healthy and holistic lifestyle.
When it comes to your blood sugar levels, it is very essential to keep them in control, especially if you are suffering from diabetes. One way to do that is to switch your diet from high glycemic foods to low glycemic foods.
There are several benefits of doing so:
- Better Management Of Blood Sugar Levels: If you are switching your dietary intake from high glycemic foods to the type with a lower GI, you may be able to see a significant decrease in your blood sugar levels. Not only that, but you may also be able to manage blood sugar in people who are suffering from type 2 diabetes.
- Escalates The Weight Loss Process: According to research conducted by some health experts, it was revealed that consuming glycemic foods which are low in GI, can escalate your weight-loss process and bring you closer to your weight goals. However, more research is still required in this area, especially when it comes to managing your weight in long term.
- Low Cholesterol Levels: If you are consuming a diet that has low levels of glycemic index, you will also be able to reduce your bad cholesterol levels, which are a great detriment to your heart and increase your risk of acquiring a heart disease.
How to use Glycemic Index?
To use a glycemic index, you need to check the rankings and accordingly find the perfect low glycemic diet. Any low glycemic diet would include:
Fruits: Apples, berries, oranges, lemons, grapefruits, and limes
Vegetables: While consuming vegetables you need to keep in mind that they have to be non-starchy, otherwise you will lose the entire point of it all. These non-starchy vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, spinach, and tomatoes.
Whole grains: These include quinoa, barley, oats, buckwheat.
Legumes: Kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils, and black beans
However, there are also other types of foods that do not have any kind of glycemic index value. Even if they do, it is extremely low. They include:
- Different types of meat such as beef, bison, lamb, and pork.
- Seafood also contains an extremely low glycemic index. They include tuna, shrimp, mackerel, sardines, salmon, anchovies.
- Poultry such as chicken, turkey, duck, and goose also come with no or very low glycemic index.
- Different types of oils such as olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, and vegetable oil can also be included here.
- If nuts are your favorite, then you couldn’t be luckier as almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts and pistachios also come with a low glycemic index.
- Seeds such as chia seeds, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, and flax seeds
- Different types of herbs such as turmeric, black pepper, cumin, dill, basil rosemary, and cinnamon.
Now, let’s come to the part describing different types of foods which are to be avoided. There are no such foods that are to be completely avoided, but their consumption has to be strictly limited. Phew!
Foods that contain a high glycemic index include!
- Different types of bread such as white bread, bagels, naan, and pita bread.
- Rice such as white rice, jasmine rice, and Arborio rice
- Cereals do have a high glycemic index. So, different types of cereals such as oats and other breakfast cereals need to be avoided.
- No matter how tasty and palatable plates of pasta and noodles sound, they have a high glycemic index. Therefore, you need to bid adieus to lasagna, spaghetti, ravioli, macaroni and fettuccine, if you want to live a healthy lifestyle.
- Potatoes are highly versatile. But they are also high in glycemic index. So, mashed potatoes and French fries are a big no-no!
- Cake, doughnuts, cookies, croissants, muffins and other baked products are also to be avoided.
- Snacks are your perfect companion for binge-watching your favorite shows but in the long-term, their evil friends are not so perfect. So, snacks like chocolate, microwave popcorn, chips, and pretzels need to be replaced with other healthier food options.
- Beverages like soda, fruit juice, sports drinks, are also to be replaced with foods that have a lower glycemic index.