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Glycemic Index Diet

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Glycemic Index Diet
Glycemic index diet is one where food items with low GI are consumed, thereby making it suitable for those suffering from type-2 diabetes and coronary heart disease.

Many a fad diet has being replaced by healthy and practical diets that are being welcomed both dieters and the medical fraternity. Glycemic index diet has become very popular in the weight loss industry for its ability to speed up weight loss. Recent studies conducted by the Harvard school of public health has pointed out that diseases such as type-2 diabetes, coronary heart disease etc are typically associated with the Glycemic Index in the diet.

WHO, in the year 1999 recommended that people from the industrialized countries should consume low GI food so as to avoid diabetes, obesity and coronary heart diseases.

Glycemic index concept

Carbohydrates of different types react in a different way on each person's body, GI or glycemic index explains this difference by rating carbohydrates as per their effect on the blood glucose level. Rating of carbohydrates on a scale beginning 0 to 100 in accordance to the level in which they elevate the blood sugar levels after eating is referred to as the glycemic index or GI. In simple words GI is a measure to examine any food items' capability to increase blood glucose level in the first two hours after that particular food item is consumed.

This concept was developed by Dr. David Jenkins, professor of nutrition at the University of Toronto in 1981. To remain hale and healthy over a long period of time it is recommended to opt for low glycemic index diet as this will cause only small fluctuations of glucose and insulin levels in the blood thus reducing the risks of diabetes, obesity and coronary heart diseases.

Glycemic food

  • Food items that possess an elevated GI are quickly digested and absorbed thus causing a clear fluctuation in blood sugar levels. Food items with low GI levels have the desirable quality of slow digestion and absorption and thus increase the blood sugar and glucose level steadily. Thus Glycemic index diet has demonstrated improved levels of glucose and lipid level in people with type-1 and type-2 diabetes.

  • GI diet is recommended over other diet plans by the Western governments and the medical world because they strongly go by the concept that 60% of the body's energy is derived from carbohydrates. GI diet does not totally cut down on carbohydrates thus making it suitable for dieters.

  • Glycemic index diet plan recommends people to consume ample food with low GI value and avoid high value GI food thus preventing swaying blood glucose levels in the blood. This makes you feel energetic for a longer period of time and lends satiety too.

  • A typical glycemic index diet suggests reduced intake of food items with excessive fat, in particular saturated fat.

  • GI diet encourages eating the right type of carbohydrates and does not restrict carbohydrates completely but instead keeps a check on the total carbohydrates consumed.

  • GI diet encourages whole and nutritious food and suggests limiting processed foods and mass produced foods like biscuits, cakes, breads etc. The diet also includes a small portion of starchy vegetables like potato and carrots, fruits, whole grains and pulses.

  • Nutrient rich food such as fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, whole grains, lean meat/fish, low fat dairy etc are recommended in a GI diet plan.

Benefits of glycemic index diet

Food with high GI can be harmful to the overall health of a person as the body is pressed to its extremes. Obese and desk bound people are affected in particular.

  • Low GI diets help elevate the body's response towards insulin.

  • Helps shed surplus weight and manage overall weight.

  • Plays a role in preventing diabetes, obesity and coronary heart diseases.

  • Trims down cholesterol level in the blood and improves diabetes control.

  • Makes you feel full for a longer period in between meals thus reducing hunger pangs.

  • Physical stamina improves and keeps you fresh for long.

Switching to glycemic index diet plan

Switching over to glycemic index diet is not a big issue at all; it is just choosing food items with low GI carbohydrates over food items with high GI carbohydrates. The given below list is a good suggestion for glycemic index diet plan

  • Breakfast cereals can be a choice between oats, barley and bran.

  • Cut down on potatoes and potato-based snacks.

  • Eat bread made from whole grains, sour dough or stone-ground flour.

  • Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.

  • Ample salad vegetables with vinaigrette dressing can be consumed.

  • Noodles and pasta made of Durum wheat and quinoa are also a good choice. Durum (hard in Latin) wheat is the hardest of all wheats.

Glycemic index measure for food items

The Glycemic index for various foods can be classified into three types as per the type of food. Low GI: 55 or less. Fruits, vegetables excluding potato, all bran, oats and basmati rice can be classified as low GI. Medium GI: 56 to 69. Sucrose items etc can be classified as medium level of GI. High GI: 70 or more. Cornflakes, baked potato, white bread etc can be classified as high GI level food items.

Food item GI level
All bran51
Oatmeal 48
Basmati white rice58
Whole milk30
Pizza, cheese60
Vanilla wafers 77
Potato chips56
Rice cakes80
Table sugar64
Fruit yogurt36

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