What is The GI Diet?

Posted by kalwyn claassen on

GI stands for Glycaemic Index; this is the measure of how food reacts to the body. By eating foods that are low GI it has a positive outcome on your body. And when followed for a length of time, a low GI diet can help boost energy levels, improve mood and banish sugar cravings, as well as generally being an all round healthy eating plan.

How Low GI Works

To skip the complicated science of the diet, low GI foods keep the body feeling fuller for longer, whereas high GI foods do not sustain the full feel for very long.

The beauty of this diet is it does not restrict the dieter to any categories; it describes how all food are fine if well balanced and eaten in the right amounts. For example, if you want to eat something that falls into a high GI category, you eat one portion with two portions of something low GI, therefore balancing the meal out.

Get Started With Low GI- Bread and Potatoes

One of the key features to the GI diet is the cutting down of highly processed foods into purer, wholegrain versions of things. For example white bread is high GI, so replace it with breads such as Barley bread, Soya bread or Granary bread which are low GI and rich in nutritional wholegrain.

Swap high GI potatoes (which score as high due to their high starch content) for yams or sweet potatoes, which can be used in all the same ways as a regular potato and very nutritional. Sweet potatoes are classed as medium GI but they are brilliant as they contain plenty of fibre, vitamins A and C, iron and calcium. Yams are only a little lower in GI but do not contain as much nutritional value.

Get Started With Low GI- Rice, Pasta and Snacks

Rice and pasta are a tricky subject. Pasta is at its lowest GI when made from durum wheat and eaten in smaller portions; the longer it is cooked the higher its GI, which also applied to rice. With rice, there are no low GI varieties, so the best ones to use are white, brown and basmati rice. However, in many recipes things such as grains can be used instead: barley, buckwheat, Bulgar wheat and variety of beans can replace pasta and rice if required.

For snacks, there are some surprises, chocolate is allowed! Of course in moderation, and in it’s purest forms, good quality plain, dark or white chocolate are a great snack for a sweet tooth, but when chocolate is combined with sugary additions such as caramel the GI becomes higher. For more nutritional snacks have nuts, seeds and yoghurts. Sponge cake is also allowed!

Get Started With Low GI- Vegetables, Fruit and Meats

Whereas most diets encourage the eating of most of this catergory, low GI does effect the choices of vegetables, fruit and meat.

Most fruits are low GI as they have high fibre content; the general rule is that the higher the acidity is the lower the GI is. Some of the lowest GI fruits are apples, cherries, grapefruit and most berries. High GI fruits include watermelon and dates.

gi diet foods

With vegetables, the cooking process can change the GI, all vegetables rise in GI when cooked, so eat as many raw or steamed as possible. High GI vegetables are ones that are high in starch such as potatoes, parsnips, pumpkin and turnip. The lowest GI vegetables are the greens such as asparagus, cabbage, mangetout and lettuce.

Most meats are low GI although keep an eye on the fat content, particularly if watching your heart health. Fish is always a good choice as it is rich in omega 3 and other vitamins. Chicken is a healthy choice as it is low in fat and also it is an inexpensive meat.

Why Try The GI Diet?

  • It is perfect for watching heart health, resulting in better cholesterol.
  • It is an easy way to increase fibre content, helping prevent digestive cancers.
  • Reducing sugary food produces anti-aging results.
  • Low GI diet can help diabetes suffers, keeping blood glucose more stable.
  • The low GI diet can boost your immune system.
  • It can increase energy levels and stamina.
Women will see improvements in PMS symptoms and can improve fertility.

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