The Glycaemic Index (GI) measures how fast the carbohydrate from the food you eat will end up in your blood stream. The GI of foods has a rating from low (0) to high (100). The low GI carbohydrate will be digested in approximately 2 hours, however the benefits can last for many hours. Sydney University researchers reported a reduced Glycaemic impact on a breakfast meal because of a low GI dinner eaten over 12 hours prior to it.
People that consume low GI carbohydrate diets experience beneficial effects:
- Lose and control weight
- Increased sensitivity to insulin therefore requiring less of it
- Improved diabetes control
- Reduced risk of heart disease
- Reduced blood cholesterol levels
- Reduction of hunger at meals and afterwards
This graph from the Glycaemic Index Foundation (Glycaemicindex.com) illustrates the difference in blood glucose (blood sugar) levels over time when different types of the same carbohydrate content are eaten. Blood glucose levels correlate to blood insulin - which works to pull the glucose out of the blood so it can be used by the body. Low blood insulin levels mean the body is more likely to be burning fat as opposed to storing it when insulin levels are high. High blood glucose levels also result in a steep drop off experienced as low energy levels after consuming large portions of high GI foods. Although the calorie content of the carbohydrate is the same between high and low GI foods – the low GI calories work hard for you. Low GI foods help to even out your blood glucose, blood insulin, energy, and hunger levels. These are what we call ‘Good Quality Carbohydrates’. High GI foods have their place, but not in a healthy weight program.