A Good Guide to Good Carbs: The Glycaemic Index
Choosing low glycaemic foods can balance blood sugar levels. High glycaemic foods result in a quick spike and low glycaemic foods have a slower effect.
If you have diabetes, you probably know all too well that when you eat carbohydrates, your blood sugar spikes. The total amount of carbs as well as the type of carb you consume at a meal or in a snack will determine what your blood sugar will do and how quickly it will spike. For example, a serving of white rice will result in a quick, high spike in blood sugar levels. A serving of lentils has a slower and lesser effect.
Choosing good sources of carbs can help you control your blood sugar as well as your weight. Eating wholefood and healthier carbohydrates can help prevent a host of chronic conditions, especially diabetes, but it can also place you in a lower risk of heart disease.
The glycaemic index is a tool that measures how much a food boosts blood sugar. You can choose foods according to the glycaemic index (GI).
Choosing Low Glycaemic Foods
Using the glycaemic index is actually quite simple. You can choose foods in the low GI category instead of those in the high GI category and go easy on those in between.
- Low glycaemic index (GI of 55 or less): Most fruits and vegetables, beans, minimally processed grains, pasta, low-fat dairy foods, and nuts.
- Moderate glycaemic index (GI 56 to 69): White and sweet potatoes, corn, white rice, couscous.
- High glycaemic index (GI of 70 or higher): White bread, rice cakes, most crackers, bagels, cakes, doughnuts, croissants, most packaged breakfast cereals.
Alternatives for High Glycaemic Foods:
- Brown rice instead of white rice,
- Steel cut oats instead of instant oatmeal,
- Bran flakes instead of cornflakes,
- Wholemeal pasta instead of baked potato,
- Wholemeal bread instead of white bread,
- Peas or leafy green vegetables instead of corn.