The word GI stands for Glycemic Index. It is the measure of the impact of food on your blood sugar. Foods with high Glycemic Index tend to quickly raise your body's blood sugar levels, and foods with a low GI will raise them slowly and over a longer period.
The idea behind the GI diets is based on that foods with a low GI value slowly release sugar into the blood, providing you with the steady supply of energy, which in turn leaves you feeling satisfied longer so that you are less likely to snack. In contrast, foods with that have high GI value cause a rapid but short-lived rise in blood sugar levels. This leaves you with lack in energy and feeling hungry within a short time, resultant of which leaves you end up reaching for a snack. If this kind of pattern is frequently repeated, you are likely to gain weight as a result of constantly overeating.
In the year 1981, professor of nutrition Dr David Jenkins was looking at how different carbohydrate-rich foods affect the blood sugar level. It has been discovered in people with diabetes, contrary to popular belief, that many starchy foods affect blood sugar levels quite dramatically, while some sugary foods had little effect. From his research, he developed a scale called the Glycemic Index, which quite simply ranked foods based on the effect they had on blood sugar levels.
By eating those meals that have low GI you will feel less hungry. This means that rather than controlling your cravings for food by will-power alone your will be able to control them by satisfying your body. On the GI diet your desire to snack or over eat should be greatly reduced, therefore by eating fewer calories you will be able control your weight.
GI index charts only identify the effect that different foods have on bloods sugar levels when they are eaten on their own. Many nutritionists believe this is one of the main problems with GI diets - that when you eat a mixture of foods together as your meal, the GI value of that whole meal changes.
The glycemic index range follows as Low GI = 55 or less, Medium GI = 56 – 69, High GI = 70 or more.
People who are on the GI diet will tend to eat meals that consist of foods with low GI and they will be encouraged to avoid high GI foods. However mixing low GI foods with high GI foods lowers the GI of the entire meal. This can make it much less restrictive than other diets. The Low GI does not always mean low fat, so it is advisable that you watch the fat content in your meals.
The GI diet consists of no such foods that you cannot eat, but the secret is behind eating more low GI foods rather than high GI foods. The main thing while you are on the diet is not to over-eat and the purpose of the GI diet is to help you in achieving that goal. It is important that you always watch the portion sizes of your meals and try to keep them down.
The Glycemic Index runs from 0 to 100 and usually uses glucose. The effect that other foods have on blood sugar levels are then compared with this. The GI index tells us whether a food raises blood sugar levels dramatically, moderately, or very little. Foods that have small effect on blood sugar have a low GI value, while those causing a rapid and massive rise in blood sugar level have high GI value.
Benefits of the GI Diet
Foods with a low GI value slowly release sugar into the blood, providing you with a steady supply of energy, leaving you feeling satisfied longer so that you're less likely to snack.
One of the main limitations of the GI Diet is the fact it becomes difficult to identify the GI value of a meal. Meanwhile, some foods with a low GI value are also packed with fat and contain few nutrients.
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