The glycemic index isn’t just for people with diabetes. It’s an important way to help you pick healthier foods.

The glycemic index (GI) is the scientifically proven way to rank carbohydrate foods according to how quickly they can raise your blood sugar level. Upon digestion, foods can have a low, moderate, or high impact on your blood sugar.

You should avoid high GI foods. And it isn’t just white sugar, cookies, cakes, and soda drinks that make your blood sugar go on a roller coaster. Refined starchy foods like white rice and white bread will do it too! Knowledge of the GI can help you make wiser food choices.

Why it’s important

Originally developed as a concept to help people with diabetes, we now know that eating the low–GI way is beneficial for everyone, as it also reduces spikes in your blood insulin level that occur throughout the day after eating.

Spiking your insulin level with high–GI meals or snacks is linked with multiple chronic diseases. Yet a low–GI diet may reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, type 2 diabetes, infertility, and certain cancers, according to research.

6 ways to go low

1. Swap or reduce meat and chicken with legumes, such as chickpeas or lentils.

2. Add nuts and seeds to carbohydrate foods. For example, spread almond or peanut butter on your bread.

3. Avoid refined grain foods, such as white rice, white bread, and cornflakes. Learn to use intact, cracked, or rolled whole grains, such as barley, bulgur wheat, rolled oats, buckwheat, and quinoa—all easily cooked in a rice cooker.

4. Enjoy mashed cauliflower or thick cooked dhal instead of mashed potato. If you do eat potatoes, cook and cool them the day before. Choose Nicola potatoes or new season varieties, and eat them with their skin.

5. Make your noodles and pasta count: try mung bean, 100 percent buckwheat, or konjac noodles and legume, or pulse pasta.

6. Drizzle your salads with a vinaigrette (vinegar or lemon and extra virgin olive oil).

Food Matters: What Is the GI?

by Sue Radd
  
From the August 2018 Signs