The Low (GI) Down….

The Glycemic Index (GI) is a rating of the quality of carbohydrate containing foods, based on the effect they have on our blood sugar levels over time. It is a ranking of foods from 0 to 100, indicating how quickly and how high a carbohydrate food will raise blood sugar levels.

Carbohydrates with a low GI value (below 55) are more slowly digested and absorbed, causing a slower and flatter rise in blood glucose levels. Low GI carbohydrate containing foods include traditional rolled oats, natural muesli, some wholegrain cereals, dense wholegrain breads, lentils and legumes, grains, sweet potato, milk, yoghurt, pasta, basmati and doongara rice, and most types of fresh fruit.

Those carbohydrates that break down quickly during digestion, have a higher GI (above 70). These high GI carbohydrates release their glucose into the blood quickly, raising blood sugar levels more dramatically. High GI carbohydrate containing foods include white potatoes, white bread, short grain rice, refined breakfast cereals, lollies and water crackers.

Five easy tips to lower the GI of your diet:

  1. Start your day off right: include a breakfast based on oats, barley or bran. Natural muesli is a great option.
  2. Become a fruit fanatic: with most fruits a low GI choice, why not add some delicious fresh fruit to your morning muesli or green juice, or take it as a snack to work or school to have between meals.
  3. Add a dash of dairy: include some naturally low GI dairy products into your day. Include low fat milk or yoghurt to your porridge or morning smoothie, providing an additional calcium and protein hit – delicious and nutritious.
  4. Go for grains: try to add a low GI wholegrain into each of your meals throughout the day, such as barley, bulgar, semolina or wholegrain bread. Rolled oats at breakfast is a good place to start!
  5. Veg, veg, veg (did we mention veg?): aim to increase your vegetable intake and variety every day. The more coloured vegetables on your plate, the more variety of nutrients you are getting. Try juicing your vegetables, adding vegetables and salads as sides to all main meals and snacking on vegetable sticks.