Low Glycemic Eating

Co-written By: Alyssa Costantino

This month, we’re talking about carbohydrates!

Carbohydrates often get a bad reputation in the media. When we hear the word we often think of sugars, sodas, bread products, foods we crave but leave us feeling bad. However, carbohydrates are an important part of the diet and an essential substrate for energy production within the body! Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are also sources of carbohydrates that have been shown to improve our health!

One of the most important determinants of the nutrient quality and physiological impact of our carbohydrates is the glycemic index.

What is the glycemic index?

The glycemic index is a measurement system that ranks foods according to their effect on your blood sugar levels. Our blood sugar naturally fluctuates depending on which foods we eat, when we have eaten, and how much fuel we need to meet our energy needs to match our activity levels. All foods have a different glycemic response within the body. Knowing the effect of your food choices on your blood sugar levels will be a helpful tool towards making balanced choices to reach your health goals!

Why low glycemic eating?

Low glycemic eating is a dietary pattern that emphasizes foods that do not cause excessive spikes in the blood sugar response (low glycemic foods), and promotes optimal balance for sustainable energy production throughout the day. Studies have shown that the low GI diet may result in weight loss, reduce blood sugar levels, and lower the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes (Cochrane et al., 2017). 

What factors affect the GI of foods?

  • The type of sugars they contain
  • The types of nutrients they are paired with
  • The amount you eat

Our Overall Tips:

  • Focus on whole grains!
    • Whole grains are filled with nutrients and high in fiber to support our bodies and slow digestion reducing the impact on our blood sugar levels.
  • Add healthy fats and protein to your carb sources!
    • Eating your carbohydrates with sources of healthy fats and lean proteins helps to slow digestion and reduce the glycemic response to carbohydrates. 

Read more HERE https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6483287/

Glycemic index list HERE https://glycemic-index.net/glycemic-index-chart/

NSN Approved Grain List

Photo credit: ola-mishchenko-VRB1LJoTZ6w-unsplash

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