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What Is a Low-Glycemic Diet (And How Can You Benefit)

By Stepy Kamei

If you or someone you know has diabetes or pre-diabetes, you may have heard the term "low-glycemic index" before. A low-glycemic diet is greatly beneficial to those facing this health condition, but it can be helpful for anyone looking to improve their diet to know more about this concept as well. So, what exactly is the low-glycemic index, and how can it help your health? Read on to learn more about the importance of adding low-glycemic index foods into your diet.

Low-GI 101

If you're going to understand this type of diet better, it helps to know what exactly the glycemic index is. Essentially, the glycemic index is a tool used to measure how foods affect a person's blood sugar levels in the body. Dr. David Jenkins created this tool in the early 1980s. This measurement tool works by analyzing the absorption rate of glucose per food item. There are low, medium, and high glycemic index ratings.

Without getting too technical, you want to look for foods that have a low-GI value. Foods that are lower on the glycemic index are slowly digested and absorbed into the bloodstream. This in turn leads to a slow, small, and less dramatic rise in blood sugar levels. Translation? Your blood sugar levels stay pretty even and consistent throughout the day as long as you consume foods in the low-GI range.

Consequences of High-GI Foods

Foods that rank high on the glycemic index scale digest and absorb quickly into the body, which means they raise and lower blood sugar levels more dramatically. This means you'll experience abrupt and unhealthy fluctuations in your energy levels throughout the day, which will ultimately only serve to tire you out faster. Foods such as refined carbs (white bread, white rice, etc.) and added sugars such as high fructose corn syrup, are commonly consumed high-GI foods.

Best Low-GI Foods To Add To Your Diet

It's a good idea to start adding more low-GI foods into your diet, in order to keep your blood sugar levels stable. Generally speaking, whole and minimally processed foods are some of the best options available to you. Here are a few great choices to add to your grocery list:

  • Grains - Whole wheat bread, rolled oats, muesli
  • Fruits - Apples, plums, pears
  • Veggies - Broccoli, tomatoes, zucchini
  • Starchy veggies - Yams, sweet potatoes, corn
  • Legumes - Black beans, edamame, lentils
  • Dairy - Whole milk, cheese, full-fat yogurt
  • Fish - Salmon, tuna, prawns

For more information on the GI index, you can use this handy tool or speak with your primary caregiver.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Memphis, Tenn.  

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