Hugs, sunsets, crispy ciabatta. Just some of life’s greatest pleasures.
In the big world-wide-web world we live in, carbs cop a fair beating. Apparently they can make us put on weight, cause cancer and a multitude of other diseases, make our bodies a fire-pit of inflammation and they seem to be in pretty much ALL the foods! But not all carbs are equal. Read on for the real truth.
What is the GI?
The Glycaemic Index (GI) is a relative measure of the impact a carbohydrate food has on our blood glucose levels.
Carbohydrates with a high GI value are digested, absorbed and metabolised quickly by our body, causing a spike in our blood glucose and insulin levels, followed by a subsequent drop.
Carbohydrates with a low GI value are more slowly digested, absorbed and metabolised. This provides a slower rise in our blood glucose and insulin levels and a sustained release of energy.
The glycaemic index (GI) measures how quickly a carbohydrate-containing food is digested and absorbed into our bloodstream. Foods can be classified as low, medium or high GI depending on how quickly they elevate our blood glucose levels.
Carbohydrates are classified as low, moderate or high GI. The values for each are shown below.
Why does it matter?
Choosing low GI foods has shown benefit for:
- Managing weight – lower levels of circulating insulin may improve our body’s ability to use fat for fuel
- Diabetes control – low GI diets can improve blood glucose control
- Reducing the risk of developing diabetes or insulin resistance
- Improving cholesterol levels and reducing risk of heart disease
- Reducing the risk of developing some cancers including endometrial, colorectal and breast cancer
- Providing sustained release of energy during exercise
- Improving concentration
- Reducing fatigue and improving energy levels
- Reducing circulating insulin and systemic inflammation
That’s a pretty long list. Gee, thanks GI!