The Glycaemic Index & Low Glycaemic Diet: A Beginner’s Guide

As we know now, diets seem to surface, fade away and resurface with incredible alacrity in the society that we live and work in. There are multiple reasons for this constant trending of different diets in our lives and times. The important reason being that people have finally and genuinely awoken to the concept of a fit and healthy lifestyle. The other reason of course is that most people cannot seem to find the time and inclination to maintain this fit and healthy lifestyle the typical old fashioned way; with eating right and at the right times, and mixing it all up with lots of exercise.

While most diets tend to keep a check on the foods and calories that are consumed, there are some which actually monitor and desist the consumption of certain kinds of foods basis the different levels of sugar and glucose in your body. We all know that cutting down on palm sugar or if you are strong enough to do so, cutting it out completely has tremendous benefits on both your fitness regimen and your system. The glucose levels in your body are monitored via a reading known as the glycaemic index and this is what the low glycaemic diet is all about.

While we endorse a healthy balanced diet, where there is no one size fits all approach, we are all for eating plans that help restrict sugar intake. Let’s understand the Glycaemic Index, why it’s important and how a low GI eating plan can benefit your health.

Glycaemic Index (GI)

To understand the Low GI diet better, let’s first take a look at what the glycaemic index is all about. The glycaemic index is a system of assigning values to carbohydrates consumed by the body according to how quickly or slowly they affect the increase of glucose levels in your bloodstream. Feels like a mouthful? Don’t stress, it’s really not that hard to ingest. The index typically categorises foods as low, medium, and high with foods that score ranging from 71 to 100 are considered as unhealthy, 51 to 70 being borderline, and 50 and below as ideal for consumption.

While many tend to mistake the index for it, one must remember that this is not in actuality an eating plan.  It is in fact an effective tool to measure your food choices. The eating plan is actually what you make of the Low Glycaemic diet which is a phenomenon that has culminated from reading the index levels and then determining what sorts of foods are healthy for you with respect to meal planning. This makes it different to other diets which plan a meal according to portion size, calorie count, and other factors.

Low Glycaemic Diet

It is an eating plan which is built around the effects of the different foods and drinks that we consume and how they impact our blood sugar and glucose levels. This makes this particular eating plan favourable amongst people who are diagnosed with chronic diabetes across the world. The diet helps diabetics keep track of their blood sugar but has caught on also with individuals who are determined to achieve a healthier weight along with other very obvious health benefits from cutting down or completely eliminating sugar and sugary foods.

The glycaemic index of most popular foods can be easily found online on various credible websites and journals. However, the GI of a food is not all that should be considered when deciding on what to eat, it is also important to consider the nutrient contribution of a food including vitamins, minerals and overall calories.

Recommended Foods

The low glycaemic diet usually is all about consuming these following food groups in moderation to determine a healthier and a less sugar rich lifestyle:

  • Leafy Green Vegetables.
  • Beans and Legumes.
  • Whole Grains.
  • Animal Protein

Not Recommended Foods

Foods that are high on the glycaemic index include everything that usually has a high sugar content. Apart from sweetened foods the below three food groups is also imperative to stay away from:

  • Refined grains and flours
  • Sweetened beverages

Health Benefits Of The Low GI Plan

Cutting down on sugar and maintaining a healthy glucose level will most obviously come with its own set of health benefits. Some of these include:

Blood Sugar Control

It has been clinically observed that people who tend to consume a low glycaemic diet also tend to have better control over their blood sugar levels. Foods that are measured lower on the glycaemic index are also slowly digested and metabolized by the body thereby releasing glucose into the bloodstream steadily and gradually. This keeps the blood sugar levels in a safe range by preventing unusual and unnatural spikes and drops from occurring.

Weight Loss

Yes, everyone’s favourite health benefit and why not. It is common knowledge that cutting down on sugar and ditching unhealthy sweet things will help you lose the kilos and the inches quicker and also help you maintain a more healthy, active and fit lifestyle. Obesity and weight gain are usually a direct result of consuming grains, starches, and sugars. A low glycaemic diet steers clear from all these foods helping you shed a significant amount of weight. The diet also propagates foods that are fibre heavy and fibre found in most of foods can help you feel fuller thereby supressing appetite and curbing hunger pangs.

Low Cholesterol

A healthier and fitter diet will also more often than not tend to have a direct and positive impact on your good cholesterol levels. A low glycaemic diet has positive effects on lipids. When combined with a high fibre diet, a low glycaemic diet will help lower cholesterol levels, especially low-density lipoproteins or bad cholesterol.

So this concludes your beginners guide to yet another eating plan, which is not a fad diet but in fact a  science backed eating plan. Before you embark on a low GI plan, it is essential to understand the theory on the glycaemic load (GL) as well. Both these components together provide a balanced approach. We recommend that you check with your physician or nutritionist before starting any new diet plan.

 

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