The choice of carbohydrates depends on how fast the blood sugar level rises. A low glycemic index has a value of 55 or lower, a medium glycemic index has a value between 56 and 69, and a high glycemic index has a value of 70 or more. Check packaged foods that have the GI symbol. Their low GI value has been proven in testing. The nutritional value complies with GFI (Glycemic Index Foundation) standards. A diet with a low GI facilitates glycoregulation and enables the maintenance of a healthy body weight and reduces the risks of heart attacks, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. The glycemic index GI is the most important parameter for determining the quality of carbohydrates. Foods with a high GI of 70 and above are rapidly degraded. They cause a sudden jump in blood glucose levels followed by a sudden drop in energy and consequently a feeling of hunger. That is why they are a much better choice of foods with a low glycemic index GI of 55 and below. It takes more time to break down these foods while releasing blood glucose is a process that takes longer. Therefore, consuming this food ensures a feeling of satiety for a long time and prevents adverse fluctuations in energy and blood glucose levels.
- Some foods raise their GI by cooking. The GI value is influenced by the structure of the food and the type of carbohydrates contained in that food, as well as the way the food is processed. Whole grains are difficult to digest, but after mechanical and thermal processing (grinding, chopping, baking) – they become easily digestible. That is why white bread and bread made from finely ground cereals have a high GI while bread made from several types of cereals has a low GI.
- The method of food preparation (including the length of heat treatment of food) can affect the GI value because it changes the composition of carbohydrates. That is why it is important to follow the preparation instructions. Cooking some foods for too long (potatoes, carrots, celery and pasta) raises their GI value. The Gi value is affected by several other factors. The higher the protein / fat content and / or the higher the acidity of the food and / or meal, the slower the digestion and / or emptying of the stomach. All of this slows down both blood glucose release and GI value.
- Plant fibers are essential. These nutrients swell easily and slow down the passage of food through the digestive tract. That is why foods rich in fiber (oats, beans and apples) have a lower GI. It is not always easy to accurately determine the Gi value. When you buy food in stores check the GI tables with labels as this makes it easier to choose nutritious products with a low GI. Not all high GI carbohydrates are unhealthy nor are all low GI foods healthy for a regular diet. It is always important to consider the total value of foods that should contain a low percentage of fat (especially saturated), a high percentage of plant fiber and whole grains, little salt and plenty of essential vitamins and minerals. Try to include one healthy food with a low GI in every meal or snack.
- By combining foods with high and low GI, you will generally be able to achieve a medium glycemic effect – Most foods that contain a higher percentage of carbohydrates are not consumed alone but as part of the main meal or snack, which affects blood sugar levels. For example, bread is eaten with butter or cheese spread while potatoes are eaten with meat or vegetables.
- Dullness of foods rich in proteins and fats slows down the digestion of meals and lowers the glycemic index. Determine the portion of food based on personal needs. Excessive amounts of any type of carbohydrate and regardless of GI value can cause an unhealthy rise in blood glucose.
Low glycemic index: avocado 10, spinach and cauliflower 15, broccoli, tomato, cucumber, cabbage, sauerkraut, hot and sweet peppers, almonds, lemon, olives, ginger, mushrooms, onions, zucchini, asparagus 15, eggplant, artichokes 22, dark chocolate 23, lentils 27, beans 30, fresh carrots 32, young peas 32, cheese 39, sour milk 39, beans 39, frozen peas 39, fresh beets 40, integral pasta 40, cherries 22, grapefruit 25, plums and strawberries 32, pears 36, apples 38, peaches and oranges 43 and kiwis 52.
Medium glycemic composition: apricots 57, bananas 62, raisins 65, pineapple 66, oatmeal 60, cooked beets 65, melons 65, rye bread 64, unglazed rice 59, chestnuts 60, bleached barley 60, dried figs 61, beets 65, papaya 56, red rice 56.
High glycemic index: sweets, white bread and pasta, pashakanat 109, dates 100, carrot juice 90, boiled parsley and celery root 85, pop corn 85, boiled carrots 85, boiled white beets 85, watermelon 75, pumpkin, millet 75.
Replace: white bread = wholemeal bread, white rice = basmati rice, barley, cornflakes (ready-made oatmeal) = natural muslie, wheat cereal bran, oatmeal, watermelon, melon, lichi (Chinese cherry) = apples, peaches, plums, pears, grapes, oranges, rice milk = yogurt, kefir, soy milk, cow’s milk, beans = lentils, chickpeas, red beans, potatoes = sweet potatoes, rice crackers, white flour crackers, pretzels = cereal bars.