Tuesday, February 2, 2010

What makes for low GI

Despite what I said yesterday about eating at least 50 % of our carbohydrates from the low GI group (and I still hold with that) we shouldn't eat low/no GI foods indiscriminately. Nor should we eat overly large portions of the healthy low/no GI foods - excess intake of any food can lead to weight gain (unless we're talking about broccoli or lettuce).

What we are aiming to achieve is good nutrition and weight management, without inopportune hunger pangs. We want (and need) all-day energy. We need to be able to cope with stress. We need to maintain our emotional equilibrium

When we eat a meal, we usually eat a combination of different foods. Some will be high GI, some intermediate, and some low GI. Some will be NO GI, because animal proteins contain such a small percentage of carbohydrate that they are considered to have very little or no effect on blood-glucose levels, therefore they have no GI value. But animal proteins (meat, cheese, etc) have high levels of saturated fats, which, in the interests of weight management and health, we want to limit. So we have to consider the GI value of a food in light of what else it contains, other than carbohydrates.

Adding a little animal protein or oil to a meal slows down digestion and so gives a feeling of satiety for longer. Always remembering, of course, to add only mono- or polyunsaturated oils in limited quantities.

A salad with a vinegar or lemon dressing helps keep blood-glucose levels controlled. It has to do with acidity, so sour dough breads will do the same. A salad (low GI) added to a high GI meal will lower the overall GI of the meal.

Soluble fibre, such as is found in rolled oats, lentils, beans and apples, is excellent for blood-glucose control. Insoluble fibre, however, is not digested at all, so has no impact.

The size of the particles in food products effects the GI. If the food item is made from a finely milled flour, then the GI will be high (white bread = 70), but if the flour used is whole grain, or stone-ground then the resulting product will, in most circumstances, be low GI. The finer the particle, the easier (and faster) it is to digest.

By all means, buy products marked with a low GI rating - just be aware that other factors come into play

No comments: