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The GI Index: The New Way to Shed Pounds

Posted on October 2, 2013 | in Weight Loss Tips | by

glycemic impact graphYou may have heard about the glycemic index (GI). If you haven’t, it is basically a measure of how fast a food causes a raise in blood sugar levels after consumption. Each type of food produces a different effect when it comes to how much it raises a person’s glucose levels. The GI gives an approximate value to correspond to each food. The higher this number, the more that food causes the blood sugar level to spike. The highest number given is 100, which equates to pure glucose. Anything rated above a 60 is considered high on the glycemic index. You can use the guide at the University of Sydney website for specific foods:

If you have decided to lose weight using the glycemic index, you will want to focus on foods that are on the low end of the chart. Low GI foods are more likely to fill you up and keep you full, partly because they keep your blood sugar stabilized. When you don’t have the fluctuations in blood sugar, you won’t be ravenously hungry. In addition, they have vitamins and minerals that our body needs.

An easy way to know if a food is low in the GI is determining the source of the food. The more natural the food (vegetables, fruit), the lower it is on the GI. The more processed the food (white flour, sugar), the higher on the chart it will be. Another good way to know if a food has a high GI is its color. For instance, if it is white, it is bound to be high on the chart. Even white potatoes are guilty of this, so you may want to opt for sweet potato or other vegetable instead. You can still enjoy a high GI food if it’s consumed with a low GI food. For instance, you may want to partake in a slice of bread. Eat it with an apple and this will help control any spikes in glucose. Or you may want a banana for breakfast. It’s a fruit that has a higher GI so you may want to eat some cooked bulgur with it.

Foods that are higher in fiber tend to have a lower GI. The fiber content in vegetables and fruit slows the release of glucose into the bloodstream. They also will make you feel fuller longer and prevent you from overeating. Protein foods are low on the GI scale just because they don’t contain carbohydrates. Legumes, for instance, have both fiber and protein so they are great for consumption. Fats also don’t cause a rise in blood sugar but you want to choose healthier sources. Omega-3 fats and monounsaturated fats found in olive oil, fish, and nuts are best. Fats are also high in calories, so you should limit them as much as possible.

Your diet should contain mostly low glycemic foods to benefit. You will still need to watch calories because overdoing it will not cause any weight loss. As a side note, if you are eating low GI foods, you won’t be hungry!

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