Diet and Nutrition

What is a Low Glycemic Index Diet?

Siobhan O'Grady

What is a Low Glycemic Index Diet?

Key Takeaways

  • A healthy breakfast containing oats, barley and bran
  • Reduce the intake of over-sized portions of rice, pasta and noodles
  • Have plenty of vegetables and low glycemic fruits
  • Healthy meals with whole grain breads, stone-ground flour or sour dough

What is a low glycemic diet?

Low glycemic diet, also known as glycemic index diet or GI diet, is the basis of a number of popular diet plans for losing weight. Low glycemic diet is based on the glycemic index of different food materials.

Glycemic index

Glycemic index is the list which classifies different food materials based on their potential to increase the blood sugar levels. In this list, each food is assigned a number from 1 to 100 based on this ability to affect the blood glucose levels. The index 100 stands for pure glucose and is considered as the reference number. Foods that have number greater than 70 are considered to be high glycemic foods while those between 56 and 69 is rated as moderate glycemic foods and those with index number less than 55 are low glycemic foods.

Diet plans are generally based on the fact that low glycemic foods are more satisfying than high glycemic foods. Foods with low glycemic index are healthier, rich in nutrients, less processed and have high fiber content. This includes whole fruits, vegetables, grains and beans. Having low glycemic foods helps to prevent the sudden rise in blood sugar level and then a fall which triggers hunger again soon.

Typical low glycemic diet plan

A typical low glycemic diet plan includes the following:

  • A healthy breakfast containing oats, barley and bran
  • Reduce the intake of over-sized portions of rice, pasta and noodles
  • Have plenty of vegetables and low glycemic fruits
  • Healthy meals with whole grain breads, stone-ground flour or sour dough

Benefits of low glycemic diet

Many studies show that low glycemic index helps in weight loss and preventing a number of chronic diseases. It is also helpful in the maintenance of ideal weight. A study published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that low glycemic diets help in lowering the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer.

 Choosing the right carbohydrate for the low glycemic diet

Choose the carbohydrates which are healthy, natural, whole and least processed. Some experts suggest one should look at the ratio of total carbohydrates to that of dietary fiber in each serving. One should take care of the portion size and the total calories while having regular physical activity.

The bottom line is that it is better to have healthy food choices rather than going on a diet plan that you are not able to sustain.