Low glycaemic index

GI refers to how quickly (or slowly) a carbohydrate food is converted to glucose in the bloodstream.

Low GI

A womans hand reaching into a basket of vegetables

Getting kids into healthy eating habits can sometimes be a little bit tricky! If you could do with a few tips read the following advice from Susie Burrell, Paediatric Dietitian and Nutritionist.

Carbs & Low GI

The humble carbohydrate has received a bit of a battering over the past few years as many people resort to a low carbohydrate diet style of eating to help with weight control. As more research emerges that closely examines the role carbohydrates play in weight management, it is becoming more apparent that it is the types of carbohydrate we are eating on a day to day basis that we need to consider, rather than completely eliminating all carbohydrates from our diet.

Glycaemic index

The GI refers to how quickly (or slowly) a carbohydrate food is converted to glucose in the bloodstream. High GI foods include foods such as white bread, processed breakfast cereals, sugar, rice, potato, soft drink, sports drink, lollies, tropical fruits and many low fat muffins and muesli bars. They raise blood sugar levels rapidly.

Low GI foods include grainy breads and breakfast cereals, pasta, low fat dairy foods, stone and temperate fruits, and sweet potato. They raise blood sugar levels slowly. Some foods have medium GI. Whether a carbohydrate food is low or high GI is dependent on a number of different factors including how processed the food is, the physical structure of the food, portion the food is eaten in and other nutrients in the food.

As low GI carbohydrates tend to be less processed forms of carbohydrates including many wholegrain varieties such as oats, they also tend to have better nutritional properties such as being higher in fibre, vitamins and minerals than more processed varieties of carbohydrates. For this reason, it is recommended that low GI carbohydrates such as grain based cereals and cereals form the basis of individuals' day-to-day diets. These are the foods that we consume every single day, and hence need to be the best quality possible to ensure good health long term.

Healthy carbs:

  1. Try and choose whole grains wherever possible
  2. Keep a store of grain breads and breakfast cereals at home and work
  3. If you do eat a high GI food such as white rice, try and team with some lean meat and vegetables to help reduce the glycaemic load of the meal
  4. Add corn, beans, chickpeas or lentils to salads and pastas

As a guide:

Low GI
55 and under

Medium GI
56 to 69

High GI
70 and above

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