The glycemic index (GI) ranks
carbohydate foods according to their effect on blood glucose levels. Choosing
foods with a low GI can help you to lose weight, as they keep
you feeling full for longer, work to stabilise your energy levels, and help
your body to burn fat most efficiently.
Foods that have a high GI are absorbed into the body quickly, and therefore cause a rapid rise in your blood sugar. Low GI foods, on the other hand, are broken down gradually and keep your blood sugar stable. This means that your energy levels are improved and your cravings for sugar and sweet foods are reduced.
Because low GI foods are absorbed slowly, they keep you feeling fuller for longer after eating, so you are also more likely to consume less carbs throughout the day. By controlling your carb intake and blood sugar levels with low GI foods, you can keep your body in the best condition for weight loss. Having consistent energy levels and stable blood sugar, you can maximise the fat-burning process, helping you to reach your goals faster.
Choosing low GI foods
As a basic guide:
Here are some of the top low GI foods to add into your diet plan…
Grapefruit. With a GI of just 20, grapefruits are about as good as it gets. These deliciously tangy fruits have high levels of fibre and micro-nutrients, so they make a great filling breakfast that will keep you feeling satisfied all throughout the morning. Grapefruit is perhaps one of the most popular low GI fruits and is often almost considered a clichéd ‘diet food’- but it’s a cliché because it’s true! Some studies have suggested that the enzymes in grapefruit have fat-burning benefits as well.
Cherries. You might feel like you’re indulging in a sweet treat, but cherries actually offer you some great diet benefits. A GI of 20 (or even less in some varieties) makes them a good healthy snack for any time of day. You can even mix them with a few strawberries (GI 40) for a tasty fruit salad.
Soy products. Soy is a great source of protein and have plenty of fibre, so it’s no surprise that they’re considered a staple of a vegetarian diet. Soy comes in so many versatile forms and is relatively cheap, so it makes a good substitute for meat products- and a GI of 16 means it fits well into your diet plan. Try adding some soy beans, tofu, or tempeh into your meals for a nutritious and filling diet.
Low-fat Yogurt. Some brands of yogurt can have a GI as low as 16, as well as plenty of protein to keep you feeling satisfied. Yogurt is a great healthy choice for breakfast or as a snack at any time of the day, and you can mix it with fruit for a sweet, filling treat. Plus, frozen yogurt makes a great substitute for ice cream, so you can feel like you’re indulging without the guilt!
Plums. These tasty fruits are a great healthy treat, with a GI of 24. Sweet and nutritious, plums are perfect on their own or sliced up with some yogurt, or even in a salad.
Oats. Oats make a great breakfast food- with a GI of 36, they’ll keep you feeling energised all through the morning. It doesn’t matter if you eat them as porridge or with yogurt or whatever- there are plenty of ways to enjoy your oats as a healthy and filling meal or snack.
Legumes. Along with soy beans, other delicious legumes with a low GI include lentils (GI 16, plus plenty of iron, folate and fibre), chickpeas (GI 26 and extremely tasty and versatile in hummus) and red kidney beans (GI 22 and perfect for adding a Mexican twist to your meals).
Apples. Refreshing, crunchy and delicious, apples are a great healthy snack that you can carry with your anywhere and eat at any time. Apples can have a GI as low as 28, making them one of the most popular low GI fruits. Eat whole or slice up and add them to your salad- there are lots of versatile ways you can enjoy apples and get plenty of health benefits.
Multi-grain bread. With a GI below 42, multi-grain
bread is a great choice for your sandwiches, as the grains help to slow
digestion and control your blood sugar levels. Some other good breads include
soy and linseed and sourdough breads, which can both have a GI as low as 36.
Most vegetables. Fill up on your greens- most vegetables are low GI, which means they’re a great way to add volume to your meals. Some of the top low GI vegetables include: frozen peas (39), frozen corn (47), carrots (16), eggplant (15), cauliflower (15), tomatoes (15), broccoli (10), mushrooms (10), cabbage (10), lettuce (10), chillies (10), capsicum (10), onions (10).
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