Glycemic Index (GI) is a value assigned to foods based on how quickly and how high those foods cause increases in blood glucose levels. Foods with a lower Glycemic Index (GI) help in weight loss and lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. “Foods with a GI of 55 or lower belong to the low category, foods with a GI of 56-69 fall under the medium category and foods with a GI surpassing 70 are in the high category. The lower the GI, the lower the spike observed in blood sugar levels,” explained Garima Goyal, a dietician.
The expert shared that low glycemic index foods help prevent and treat diabetes, deal with gestational diabetes, decrease cholesterol levels, aid in weight loss, reduce the risk of cancer and prevent cardiovascular diseases. “Consumption of foods containing a low GI also helps one’s lipid profile by lowering levels of cholesterol, which is also linked to the risk of cardiovascular diseases,” she added.
Goyal said that low GI foods are specially linked to abdominal fat loss because that usually happens by consuming foods that limit blood sugar spikes. So what are some high-GI foods you can replace with low-GI ones?
The expert shares her go-to swaps which are as follows:
*Eat sweet potatoes instead of potatoes. Though both possess health benefits, sweet potatoes offer lower GI than potatoes.
*Use pseudo-cereals such as quinoa, buckwheat or amarnath in one meal as a substitute to other grains.
*Swap white bread with wholegrain brown bread. Not only does whole grain bread offer more nutrients, but it also has a lower GI.
*Swap instant oats with steel-cut oats.
*Instead of eating packaged muesli/cornflakes, eat steel-cut oats because the packaged food items are heavily processed and loaded with sugar. “Rolled oats have a significantly lower GI and can be made salty or sweet as per your taste.”
*Brown rice can be used instead of white rice as it contains more fibre.
*Substitute snacking on biscuits or cookies with fresh fruits, nuts and seeds. Eating a trail mix of nuts or a handful of roasted seeds such as pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds doesn’t spike blood glucose levels as much as processed cookies.
“Making these swaps will significantly improve your health, making you feel fitter and lighter,” the dietitian said.
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