What is the Glycaemic Index?
The Glycaemic Index (GI) is a scale of how fast sugars, starches and carbohydrates are absorbed in the body from a scale of 0 – 100 (100 being the rate of pure glucose). They are put into 3 categories
- low GI (less than 55)
- medium GI (55-70)
- high GI (70-100)
Knowing the GI of foods is a useful tool, but do not think that if the food is low in GI it is low in carbs, it just means it is absorbed slower. For example, a banana has a low GI of 54 yet contains a whopping 30.8g carbohydrate!!! (especially the huge bananas we seem to be importing these days). So the sugars in a banana are absorbed over a longer period and do not cause a sugar spike (then insulin spike) but it will raise sugar levels for a longer period as they contain so much.
Some examples of high GI foods to avoid are
- gluten free bread 90
- white bread 78
- doughnuts 76
- watermelon 72
- white rice 88
- cornflakes 88
- rice cakes 77
- dates 99
- energy sports drinks 95
Eat as many vegetables as you can to slow down the absorption of any sugars. A healthy low carb diet excludes starchy root vegetables (potato, parsnip, kumara, sweet potato) grains, cereal, bread, pasta, noodles, couscous, legumes (beans, peas).
Foods that help maintain blood glucose balance are those that contain Vitamins B3, B6, Zinc, Magnesium such as nuts, seeds, fish, dark green leafy vegetables, eggs, avocados.
Many food manufacturers love to state they are “Low GI” and many diets are “Low GI” diets, but none of these are necessarily low in carbs. It just means, the foods are absorbed slower. The more you understand, the easier it is to follow a LCHF way of eating and not get confused as I was in the beginning. The more educated we are, the better food choices we make.
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