Diet plays a vital tool in keeping the body healthy. There are different types of diet, programmes and diet schedules that people follow in order to remain fit. Consuming food in a particular routine creates balance of nutrients in the body which helps in regulating the flow. Glycemic index is one such system which keeps check and analysis your diet regime to benefit your health. It contains a number of carbohydrate containing foods which helps in finding out the amount of food required to increase the blood sugar levels in the body. It includes a specific diet plan according to the index to plan your meals accordingly. Today, we will try to understand this concept in a detailed way and know benefits of having low glycemic index diet.
What is glycemic index?
According to clinical nutritionist Ms. Shilpa Singh from Fatima Hospital, Lucknow, tells that glycemic index refers to a chart according to which diet plan can be made for a specific person. Everyone’s body reacts differently and needs certain variations in the nutrition according to their needs. Glycemic Index targets this issue and helps regulate your diet by counting calories or carbohydrates in your diet. This helps to reduce the risk of high blood pressure and obesity in people. You may also get balanced diet schedule which might not be able to follow in other types of diet. It is used for treating chronic illness, cardiovascular disease or obesity issues.
Benefits of Following Glycemic Index Diet
There are certain benefits of following glycemic index diet-
1. You can add more variety to your diet
2. Helpful in maintaining and losing weight
3. Help to maintain blood sugar levels and treatment of diabetes
4. Achieve daily goals and regulate calorie intake
5. Planning and eating healthier meals with suitable nutrients and food items
6. Improves cholesterol levels
7. Reduces the risk of cancer
8. Brings down the risk of having cardiovascular diseases
Factors Affecting Glycemic Index Diet
While selecting a diet plan by glycemic index, these factors need to be considered and evaluated while having a meal.
1. Type of sugar it contains
It is a misconception among people that all types of sugar have high glycemic index. GI or sugar ranges from 23 to105 depending on its type. Fructose has the lowest glycemic index of 23 and can be added in your diet without any worries. But sugar plays a huge part in deciding the GI of your diet. It not only means additional sugar but also sugar containing food etc.
2. Structure of starch
Starch is basically a carbohydrate that comprises of amylase and amylopectin. Among these two molecules amylase is quite difficult for the body to digest whereas amylopectin is easily digestible. Food with higher amylase content has lower Glycemic Index. Therefore food containing starch should be regulated wisely in order to keep a healthy balance in the diet.
3. Nutrient Composition
You need to keep in mind the concentration of meals that need to be added in order to reduce glycemic index of the diet. Mostly people have medium or low glycemic index diet that is helpful in losing weight and maintaining accurate balance of BMI. Hence nutrient composition like proteins or fats can slow the digestion process which needs to be taken accordingly.
4. Refined Carbohydrates
Processing methods that are used to disrupt amylase and amylopectin molecules raises the Glycemic Index. You need to decrease the amount of refined carbohydrates and processed food items in order to bring down the Glycemic Index value. Otherwise it can somewhere harm your health and imbalance your diet.
Fruits are included in good amount in most of the diet having low glycemic index. Unripe fruits tend to contain more carbohydrates that are complex in nature and break down into sugars. The riper the fruit is, the higher is its GI value. Hence it is recommended to avoid over ripe or ripe food products. For example GI of unripe banana is 30 and ripe ones are 48.
6. Method of cooking food
People have variety of methods to cook the same dish. But not all the methods are equally beneficial for your body as far is Glycemic index of the food is concerned. Preparation method and cooking techniques determine how much glycemic index of the food is. The more cooked the food is, the more would be its GI. This is because the sugars present in the food are more easily digested and absorbed by the body in this case.
Food to Eat on Low Glycemic Index Diet
Even though glycemic index helps to count your calories, but it is not practically possible to count calories every time you have something. Nutritionist recommends these foods to include in your diet for maintaining your glycemic levels. Here is the list of food items which are low in glycemic index and are nutritious as well.
Breads- whole grain, multigrain, rye, sourdough
Fruits- apples, strawberries, apricots, peaches, pears, kiwi, tomatoes, etc
Vegetables- carrot, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, zucchini
Starchy vegetables- sweet potatoes, corn, yams, squash
Legumes- lentils chickpeas, baked beans, butter beans, kidney beans, etc
Pasta and noodles- pasta, soba noodles, vermicelli noodles, rice noodles
Rice- Basmati, long grain, brown
Dairy products- milk, cheese, yogurt, coconut milk, soy milk, almond milk
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