What is Glycaemic Index (GI)?
The Glycaemic Index (GI) of foods is defined by the degree of influence carbohydrate-rich foods affect our blood sugar. The GI measurement provides a much more effective and reliable way of differentiating between healthy carbohydrates to unhealthy ones. This is because a simple carbohydrate measurement does not actually define the level of effect on our blood sugar. On the contrary, GI measures the impact of the consumed state of these carbohydrates. Diets that consist of low-GI foods have been proven to lower the risk of several diseases, including Type 2 Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome, Cardiovascular Disease, Breast Cancer and many more.
It is important to highlight that not all low GI foods are healthy for us. For example, watermelon has a high GI, whereas a chocolate bar has a much lower GI. This does not suggest that chocolate is healthier to consume than watermelon!
The most common known low GI foods that are also healthy, are vegetables, fruit, wholegrain and legumes. Incorporating all three in our daily routine, provides the foundation of a healthy lifestyle.
Furthermore, the same type of food can have various Glycaemic Indexes, depending on the method that was used in preparing it for consumption. Deep-fried potatoes will have a much higher GI compared to boiled potatoes. This is because of the addition of a fat-rich product, oil.
Tips for a lower GI lifestyle!
Avoid frying your food and aim towards more oven-based recipes.
Prefer olive oil and use it in moderation.
Avoid food with labels! Healthy food does not need to ‘shout’ that it is healthy. It is by nature what it’s good for you. Mother nature does not know marketing! Processed food is likely to have a lot more sugar additives, colorings and conservatives, thus a higher GI.
The more vegetables, fruit, wholegrain and legumes you eat, the better GI you will achieve.