GI Diet To Lower Blood Glucose Levels
Diets Based on Glycemic Index

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GI Diet

Definition and Benefits of a GI Diet

A GI diet is an eating plan based around the Glycemic Index (GI), a system for separating different types of dietary carbohydrates, according to how rapidly they raise blood-glucose (blood-sugar) levels inside the body. GI diets are typically beneficial for anyone with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, pre-diabetes, impaired glucose tolerance, hyperglycemia, PCOS, chronic food cravings, menopausal problems and hypothyroidism. A GI diet plan is very effective for weight loss, as it reduces cravings and stabilizes appetite.

How Carbohydrate Raises Blood Glucose

The type of carbs recommended by GI diets help maintain stable blood glucose. Point is, carbohydrate is our main source of energy. When we digest carbohydrate in our stomach, our digestive enzymes metabolize (convert) it into glucose which is then absorbed into the bloodstream. As our blood glucose levels rise, our pancreas releases insulin into the bloodstream. This insulin helps to "distribute" the blood glucose to energy-needy cells and tissues throughout the body. As the blood glucose is dispersed in this way, its level in the bloodstream gradually falls. Eventually, it falls below normal and our brain tells we're hungry and instructs us to eat.

When Our Blood Glucose Rises Too Rapidly

Unfortunately, certain types of rapidly digested carbs (eg. white flour carbs) cause our blood sugar levels to rise too quickly. When this happens, our pancreas releases an equally large amount of insulin in order to "balance" the expected surge of glucose. Typically, this large amount of insulin distributes the glucose too quickly, and our blood sugar levels fall too fast. This can cause two problems. (1) Within 1-2 hours we feel hungry again, and may end up overeating. (2) Having excessive amounts of insulin in our system may (if repeated often over time) cause our body to become less sensitive to its effect. More insulin is required to achieve the desired dispersal of glucose.

A GI Diet is Designed to Raise Blood Glucose More Slowly

Until 1981, all carbohydrate was believed to raise blood sugar at a similar speed. Then
David Jenkins and Thomas Wolever of the University of Toronto discovered that different carbs affected blood glucose in different ways. Some types of carbs raised blood sugar very fast while others had very little effect. As a result of their research, they invented the "Glycemic Index" which classifies carbs according to their glycemic effect. Carb foods (eg. rice, pasta, bread, potatoes, soft drinks etc) are assigned a "GI value" - either, high-GI, Intermediate-GI or High-GI - according to how fast they raise blood sugar. The higher the GI rating, the faster the rise in blood sugar. Although principally designed to assist diabetes patients whose blood glucose levels need to be as stable as possible, the glycemic index is now a mainstream dietary tool used by dietitians and nutritionists all over the world to create healthy eating plans that raise blood glucose at a slower rate. One reason for the popularity of the glycemic index, is the recent upsurge in diabetes, pre-diabetes, insulin insensitivity and digestive disorders, many of which are believed to be caused by the average Western diet, which is rich in refined white flour carbs and other high-GI foods.

Type of Food in a GI Diet

A healthy GI diet is based on foods with a lower GI value. Typically, GI diets are low in fat (30 percent of calories) with an emphasis on monounsaturates and polyunsaturated essential fatty acids, moderate in protein (about 20 percent of calories), and contain about 50 percent of calories from carbs, with an emphasis on high fiber whole grains.

Types of Carbohydrate in a GI Diet

A healthy GI diet typically includes plenty of fruit (eg. apples, citrus fruits, berries), plenty of non-starchy and green leafy vegetables, regular servings of beans, peas and lentils (low GI and high in soluble and insoluble fiber), oily fish, lean meat, regular servings of starches such as dense chewy breads (whole grain, whole wheat, composed of stone-ground flour where possible), controlled portions of pasta, brown or basmati rice, eggs, lower-fat dairy foods, nuts and seeds.

GI Diets Advocate Eating Little and Often

A healthy GI diet typically recommends eating several meals/snacks throughout the day. This helps to maintain stable blood glucose levels and reduces food cravings that encourage overeating or sudden binges. Eating little and often also helps to maintain an efficient metabolism, so you burn calories at an optimal rate. All these benefits of a GI diet make it easier to lose weight.

Exercise Helps to Keep Blood Glucose Stable

A healthy GI diet plan always advises regular exercise. Physical exercise helps to reduce blood sugar in the bloodstream. This is why postprandial exercise is recommended for diabetics.

GI Diets - Best For Weight Loss, Best For Health

Carbohydrate-rich foods like vegetables, fruits, beans and wholegrains are highly nutritious. Such nutrient-dense foods keep us healthy and thus assist weight management - remember, a healthy body loses weight faster. And by selecting only lower-GI carbs, GI diets ensure that you obtain all your important nutrients without incurring the metabolic and digestive health problems associated with refined "Western" carbohydrates.

Online Low GI Diets

Many diet organisations now offer low glycemic diet plans.

Carbs and Glycemic Response
Carbohydrates Information
Complex Carbs Guide
Facts About Carbohydrates
Dietary Fiber
Digestion of Carbs
Blood Glucose Levels
Glucose into Energy
Glycemic Index Food Chart
Glycemic Index - How Measured?
What Affects Glycemic Value?
Glycemic Value of a Meal
Health Effects of High GI Carbs
Glycemic Index Food Pyramid
GI Diet Recipes
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Low GI Diet Recipes

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Carbs-Information.com provides general information about the glycemic index (GI), glycemic load (GL), low GI diets, GI value for all food groups, health problems of high blood glucose including metabolic disorders such as pre-diabetes, impaired glucose tolerance, insulin resistance, hyperinsulinism as well as type 1 and type 2 diabetes. But no information is intended as a substitute for medical advice. Copyright 2003-2018.