Does 'Low GI' Really Mean 'Healthy'...?

Ever wondered what ‘Low GI’ means..?

The way that GI (Glycaemic Index) ratings are displayed by food manufacturers, most of us would assume that ‘low GI’ basically means, ‘must be healthy’; but is that really the case…??

The Glycaemic Index (GI) scale was developed back in the early 1980’s when professor of nutrition, Dr David Jenkins was investigating how various foods affected blood sugar levels in diabetics.

As a result of his research, he developed the Glycaemic Index scale, where food was ranked on a scale from 0 to 100, indicating the effect that particular foods had on blood sugar levels. At the top of the scale, pure sugar (glucose) which affects our blood sugar levels the most, is given a GI rating of 100. All other foods are compared with this and given a GI rating that proportionately indicates its effect on our blood sugars.

In simple terms, the GI index tells us whether a food raises our blood sugar levels dramatically, moderately or just a small amount. Foods that have only a slow, small effect on blood sugar have a low GI value, while those causing a rapid and massive rise in blood sugar have a high GI value.

Let's cut to the chase:- Can you use the GI scale to help you lose weight?

Foods in the 0 to 19 range are given a ‘very low GI’ rating, those in the 20 to 54 range are classified as having a ‘low GI’ score, those in the 55 to 69 range are classed as medium or ‘moderate GI’ foods and those scoring from 70 to 100 are those foods that have the greatest effect on or blood sugar levels and are given a ‘high GI’ rating.

Foods with a low GI value, release sugar into the blood slowly, providing you with a steady supply of energy, leaving you feeling satisfied longer and therefore less likely to snack. In contrast, foods with a high GI value cause a rapid, short-lived rise in our blood sugar. This leaves us lacking in energy and feeling hungry within a short time, with the increased likelihood of us reaching for a snack. Over time, those of us who regularly eat mainly foods with a high GI value are more likely to gain weight as a result of constant overeating.

However, basing your diet and weight-loss plans around low GI foods alone, isn’t a good idea; not all foods with a low GI rating are healthy. For example, foods like whole milk, chocolate and crisps all have a low GI rating. Whereas bran-flakes, melon and boiled parsnips all have a high GI rating. Clearly, common-sense must also prevail when looking at GI ratings to influence your diet.

You can find a table outlining the GI ratings of some healthier food choices, here
When looking out for low GI rated foods, there are also a few of other things to consider. The way in which foods are cooked, the ripeness of certain fruits and the way in which different foods are combined, will all affect the overall GI rating of a meal.   

In summary, looking at the GI ratings of food can be a very useful guide to help with your healthy food shopping, as long as you continue to also look at other factors such as calories, saturated fat and sugar contents, etc. But for those of us who have a tendency to eat between meals more often than we know we should be doing, having a few more ‘low GI’ favourites at meal-times might just be the extra edge you need to fend off those snacky urges altogether..!

Next time; Why We Deceive Ourselves With Treats.


Foods That BOOST Your Metabolism..

I get asked all the time for ideas of foods that boost our metabolism (the rate at which our body burns calories). And whilst most of us would expect coffee to be near the top of the list, there are many, more effective options.

Yes, coffee does actually boost our metabolism a little, but its effects are much less pronounced in heavier people. Research carried out on this revealed that slimmer people can expect an increase in fat-burning by as much as 30%, whilst those who were obese only saw an increase of around 10%.

Additionally, coffee’s fat-burning benefits diminish with age, so younger people experience the effects more than older people. On top of all that, whatever your age or size, in the short term, caffeine can boost the metabolic rate and increase fat burning, but after a while our bodies become tolerant to its effects and it actually stops working L

The good news is that if you want to boost your metabolism, you’ve got options. Lots of them. Options that are easy to come by, longer-term and more effective than your double espresso..!

Citrus Fruits
Foods like oranges, grapefruit, lemons and limes contain vitamin C that helps metabolise fat faster, which make them a must for weight loss. We only need around 60 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C each day to meet our body’s basic needs, that’s roughly the amount of vitamin C contained in a large orange. Increasing your daily intake to an upper safe limit of around 500 mg per day can boost your fat-burning potential during exercise by almost 40%.

(NOTE: If you take medication, particularly statins, check with your doctor about possible adverse interactions with grapefruit.)

Berries are high in dietary fibre. The body can’t digest fibre, but it tries anyway and burns calories in the process. A 100g (4 oz) portion of raspberries contains a huge 7g of fibre and only 53 calories. Strawberries, blackberries and blueberries are all great sources of fibre too. Another plus: Fibre causes some of the fat and calories from a meal or snack to “disappear”, by soaking them up and removing them through the digestive tract before the body can absorb them.

High-Fibre Cereals
Studies have found that women who ate high-fibre cereals at breakfast time were 30% less likely to be overweight than those who ate other breakfast foods. High-fibre cereals not only ramp up the metabolism, they also digest slowly so you feel full and energised for hours. Also, fibre helps keep insulin levels steady, which helps prevent fat storage.

Lean Proteins
Lean meats like lean beef, chicken and turkey help to speed up the metabolism and burn more fat simply because they require so much energy for complete digestion. Studies have shown that people who follow a high-protein diet burn twice as many calories after a meal as people who follow a high-carbohydrate diet. In addition, eating protein helps to preserve muscle mass during weight loss, which keeps your metabolism running at full speed.

This unlikely energy-booster offers a host of health benefits, from boosting immunity to fighting aging and disease, and much more. Adding garlic to your diet, even in amounts you cannot detect, helps you shed weight, too. A study published in The Journal of Nutrition found that garlic increases the number of calories burned during daily activities whilst at the same time decreasing the body's production of fat.

Next – GI (Glycaemic Index) Made Easy…