Why is everyone still talking about low Glycemic diets even though they were introduced over 20 years ago?
It’s for these reasons: They are the best way to attain normal blood sugar levels, achieve healthy body weight and they make an excellent diabetes meal plan.
But what exactly are these diets? And how easy is it to create your own diets?
What are Low Glycemic Diets?
The are diets based on the selection of foods from the low end of the Glycemic Index scale. The Glycemic Index (GI) scale was created by scientists as a way of comparing foods according to the type of carbohydrates found in them.
Before the Glycemic Index was used to create diabetes meal plans, dietitians compared carbohydrate foods by placing them into two categories: simple sugars and complex sugars.
Scientists soon realized that this was far too simple of a way of looking at them, and it didn’t help those with high blood sugar levels attain normal blood sugar levels either. And frankly a diabetes meal plan based on this method failed frequently and normal blood sugar levels were rarely achieved.
Once researchers tested foods for the rise in blood sugar after the food was eaten, a whole new world of science opened up to them. One-half of a grapefruit raised the blood sugar level half as much as a slice of whole grain bread! A baked potato raised the blood sugar twice as high as a piece of chocolate! And ice cream and yogurt had Glycemic indexes about half that of jasmine rice!
The scientists were on to something big here! As they kept testing foods, they began creating a Glycemic Index list, which became separated into three different levels: low GI foods, medium GI foods, and high GI foods.
The higher the GI of a food, the greater the rise in the blood sugar level after that food was eaten. The lower the GI of a food, the lower the rise in the blood sugar level after that food was eaten.
What To Know about the GI
One of the first things to learn about Low Glycemic Diets and the GI is how to categorize foods.
Here are some general guidelines:
- Only foods with carbohydrates are rated on the Glycemic Index. This includes breads, pasta, fruits, beans, starchy vegetables, milk and dairy products, candy, chocolates, pastries, pies, cookies and other desserts.
- Because foods that are fats or proteins usually don’t contain even a smidgeon of carbohydrate, they are rated 0 on the Glycemic Index.
- Some foods may contain fat and carbohydrate like peanuts and cashews. Any food that contains carbohydrate is rated on the Glycemic Index.