Low Glycemic Foods For Weight Loss and Health

Tammy Sons
5 min readJun 6, 2017

Eating a diet high in low Glycemic Index foods can provide a huge number of health benefits. However, in order to understand exactly what these benefits are, it is necessary to look at exactly what these low GI foods are and the effects they have on the body.

Brief Intro to the Glycemic Index

The Glycemic Index (GI) is a way of measuring how much a carbohydrate-rich food will raise the body’s blood sugar levels compared to a standard food. Foods are generally ranked in comparison to white bread, which is quickly turned into glucose and thus causes the blood to spike. Generally, the carbohydrates in many vegetables and whole grains are converted to glucose much more slowly and thus prevent the same spikes in blood sugar that occur after eating sugar and many refined carbs.

Using the Glycemic Index, it is possible for a person to separate out the better, slower-acting carbs from the less-desirable, faster-digesting carbs and thus help to keep their blood sugar level steadier.

Nutritional Profile of Low GI Foods

All low GI foods essentially c ontain high levels of more complex carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products. However, the exact Glycemic Index of a specific food can vary based on a number of different factors, which is why it’s important to carefully consider your meal plans and include as many low-glycemic foods as possible in your diet in order to gain all of the benefits a low GI diet can provide.

Who Should Eat Low Glycemic Foods?

The biggest benefits of eating a low GI diet are obviously seen in those people with diabetes . In fact, learning how to understand the Glycemic Index and use it to make the proper food choices is one of the most important things a diabetic can do to ensure their blood sugar stays steady. However, the benefits of eating a diet high in low GI foods can also apply for those looking to lose weight or prevent certain health conditions.

Health Benefits of a Low GI Diet

In addition to helping you to better control your blood sugar levels, a low GI diet can also provide all of the following benefits.

Lower your risk of developing type-2 diabetes and heart disease

Better control your cholesterol levels

Prevent cravings and provide better control over your appetite

Manage your weight and prevent major gains

Help prevent sharp spikes and declines in energy levels

Are There Any Potential Risks Associated with Low Glycemic Foods?

Like any other diet, it is important that you focus on implementing a low GI diet into your lifestyle properly. First and foremost, this means ensuring that you incorporate these low GI foods into a healthy diet. In truth, a low GI diet is only one small part of eating healthy.

This means that it’s imperative that you observe regular meal times and ensure you eat a balanced diet that incorporates a variety of foods from every staple group. In addition, you’ll obviously want to stay away from sugars and sweet foods, as well as anything that is too high in fat and limiting your salt intake.

There is really no right or wrong answer as to how many low GI foods you should be eating as it all depends on your age, activity levels and how your body reacts to carbs. This is why it is important focus on low GI foods as simply one part of a healthy, balanced diet.

Choosing the Right Foods

The Glycemic Index can be used to give you a good estimate of how much any particular food will raise your blood sugar level. However, it is not an exact science as the GI of a particular food or meal can change based on a number of different factors. For instance, with fruits like bananas and many others, the Glycemic Index goes up as the food ripens — meaning that those overripe brown bananas will have a much more significant impact on your blood sugar than a hard, not-quite-ripe yellow banana.

The way a food is prepared can also have a major impact on its GI as certain acids, fat and fiber will generally lower a food’s Glycemic Index. On the other hand, the Glycemic Index of many starches, such as pasta and whole grains, tends to go up the longer they are overcooked.

Finally, it is also possible to counter the effects of high GI foods by ensuring that you also eat plenty of low GI foods during the same meal. In this way, you’ll find that it is still usually safe to eat higher GI foods as long as you attempt to bring down the overall Glycemic Index of the meal by including an adequate amount of low GI foods.

Easy Ways to Incorporate Low Glycemic Foods into Your Diet

Luckily, it’s not all that difficult to include plenty of low GI foods in your daily diet as you actually have a wide variety of different options. Low-fat dairy products like milk and yogurt are great ideas for snacks or breakfast, while apples, oranges and many other whole fruits are also fantastic snack ideas.

When meal time rolls around, you’ll generally want to try to stick to lower GI starches and legumes like lentils, chickpeas, bulgur and barley whenever you can. Wholegrain pastas and beans are also generally great choices for side dishes. You can also eat rice, but its best to choose parboiled or specific low GI rice varieties, as brown rice, basmati, jasmine and most short-grained varieties have a much higher Glycemic Index.

Baked beans, roasted sweet potatoes, lentil soups and delicious risottos — the number of delicious low GI meals you can prepare is nearly endless. Therefore, you shouldn’t see a low GI diet as a hindrance, but rather as something that will allow you to use your creativity in the kitchen and discover a ton of new family favorites.

--

--

Tammy Sons

Tammy enjoys writing about horticulture, life off the grid, and anything outdoors. Loves junk stores, antiques, and spending time with family. CEO of TN Nursery