A Glycemic Index diet is an eating pattern focusing on how foods affect your blood sugar levels. The glycemic index measures how much carbohydrate-containing foods elevate blood sugar levels. The Glycemic Index diet promotes eating food with a low glycemic index (GI). Such foods are less likely to cause a significant change in blood sugar levels.
The glycemic index aims to help people with diabetes to control their blood sugar levels. The Glycemic Index diet may also help drop extra weight. In addition, this diet contributes to the prevention of cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
Glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how foods affect your blood sugar levels. Foods are ranked based on their ability to raise blood sugar levels in comparison to the absorption of 50 grams of pure glucose. Pure glucose has a GI value of 100. Food with a low glycemic index has a GI value of 55 or fewer, food with a medium glycemic index has a GI value of 56-69, and food with a high glycemic index has a GI value of 70 or higher.
The best choice is to eat low-GI foods. As they are slowly digested and absorbed, blood sugar levels rise more slowly and less dramatically. Conversely, foods that have high GI value should be limited on this diet because they are quickly digested and absorbed, leading to rapid elevation and fall in blood sugar levels. When you eat carbs with a low glycemic index, your blood sugar rises gradually, and the fiber in those carbs keeps you feeling fuller for longer. Consequently, you do not feel starving as much, and you are fuller longer.
The glycemic index can be confusing. The fact that a food is low on the glycemic index does not mean it is healthy. Furthermore, some foods with a high glycemic index are high in nutritional value.
Following the Glycemic Index diet, you do not have to count calories or keep track of portions, and you can eat a pretty varied diet. In addition, you do not need to eliminate almost all carbohydrates. However, you need to be selective about your carbs intake and check the glycemic index value of the foods you consume. Additionally, there is no information about non-carb foods in the Glycemic Index diet. Therefore, it is your responsibility to figure out how many calories and fat you are getting each day.
There are no contraindications for the Glycemic Index diet.
How to avoid possible nutritional deficiencies
There are no possible nutritional deficiencies risks in the Glycemic Index diet if you eat well-balanced meals.
Tips on improving your dieting experience
- Eat plenty of non-starchy vegetables, fruits, and beans. Fruits with low GI value include apples, peaches, pears, and berries. In addition, the glycemic index of tropical fruits like bananas, mangoes, and papayas is lower than that of typical desserts.
- Limit your consumption of white potato and refined-grain foods, such as white pasta and white bread, to small side dishes.
- You should have three meals and 1-2 snacks per day. Do not skip breakfast.
- You can find the database with the GI value of common foods in internet sources.
- You should eat grains in their least-processed condition possible, such as brown rice, whole-kernel bread, whole barley, wheat berries, or millet. Also, you should eat traditionally processed foods. For example, steel-cut oats, stone-ground bread, muesli breakfast cereals, or natural granola are good choices for your Glycemic Index diet.
- You should eat slowly and stop when full.
- Choose healthy protein sources for your meals, such as fish, skinless chicken, or beans.
- Eat healthy fats, like avocado, nuts, and olive oil. However, you should stick to moderate amounts with such foods. Also, you should limit saturated fats from dairy products and other animal-based foods and completely exclude trans fats, which you can find in fast food and many packaged foods.
- You should limit concentrated sweets to occasional treats. Also, you need to limit fruit juice to no more than one-half cup per day and completely eliminate sugar-sweetened drinks.
The Glycemic Index diet is not highly restrictive and is easy to follow. This diet involves giving preference to low-GI foods and limiting consumption of high-GI foods. This eating pattern has a number of potential health benefits, such as lowering blood sugar levels, dropping your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and weight loss.
However, you should be careful with the Glycemic Index diet because consuming a healthy, balanced diet composed of whole and unprocessed foods, regardless of their GI, is important.