Having high blood sugar levels is bad for your health. Unregulated sugar levels bring about quick bursts of high energy followed by an equally fast drop in energy levels or spikes. Too much sugar in your blood will also wreak havoc in your pancreas as it struggles to produce enough insulin to convert sugar into energy. When you eat foods that are high in sugar or simple carbohydrates, you subject your pancreatic cells to constant stress that may lead to failure in insulin production. For some, it may lead to a life threatening disease known as diabetes. Following a low GI diet is your first step in treating and preventing diabetes.
The glycemic index or GI is a food rating system that measures how much a 50-gram portion of carbohydrates raises a person's blood sugar levels. The idea is to consume foods that rank low in the glycemic index so as to prevent spikes in your sugar levels. Foods are rated using numbers. The lower the number that is attached to a certain food the slower is the absorption of its sugar or carbohydrate content in your bloodstream. The glycemic index can serve as a useful guide in making appropriate food choices and planning meals to lower blood sugar levels.
A low GI diet consists of foods that are generally unrefined, high in fibre and packed with nutrients. This type of diet has the same nutritional qualities of a diet that promotes weight loss. A low GI diet may make you lose weight because low GI foods that are good sources of fibre reduces hunger pangs by making you feel full longer. Recent studies have also shown that a low GI diet also helps lower bad cholesterol levels. These are some of the reasons why a low GI diet is also popular among those who do not suffer from diabetes.
Initially, you may need to acquaint yourself with the various ratings of your favorite foods to know which ones to keep and which ones to replace with low GI substitutes. You need not refer to the glycemic index all the time to maintain a low GI diet if you are already familiar with the types of food that are generally high and low in the index.
A quick glance at the GI ratings of popular foods will show that cakes, pastries, candies, chocolate, most desserts, processed food and products containing refined sugar have some of the highest scores while foods containing fibre, complex carbohydrates, legumes and most fruits and vegetables usually have low GI numbers.
Common foods that have a low glycemic index include the following: