Glyceamic Index Diet
With the amount of information flying about on dieting you would agree with me it is important that the right information is shared wouldn’t you? And don’t worry, this isn’t just another cooked up badly put together diet post. This is a result of years of knowledge and practice. I am a dietitian after all.
For starters…starters, get it? Let us look at;
- The meaning of glycaemic index
- Why you should follow a low glycaemic index diet
- Practical tips on how to go on a low glycaemic index diet.
If you reside in Nigeria or any part of the world really, you must have heard the popular saying ‘all fingers are not equal,’ it is same with carbohydrates. All carbohydrates are not equal. Some carbohydrates can affect your health negatively while some can affect your health positively.
A good understanding of what glycaemic index is will help you classify carbohydrate foods, enabling you to make smart choices when faced with options.
What is glycaemic index? In simple terms, glycaemic index means how a carbohydrate food raises blood sugar level in your body. When a carbohydrate containing food raises blood sugar level quickly, it is called “high glycaemic index food”, when a carbohydrate containing food raises blood sugar level slowly it is called a low glycaemic index food and when a carbohydrate containing food raises your blood sugar level moderately, that is to say, not too fast and not too slow, it is called a “medium glycaemic index food”. Based on this explanation, when using the glycaemic index for dieting the carbohydrate sources you should limit are the ones with high glycaemic index. This is because carbohydrate foods with high glycaemic index raises sugar level quickly and digests too fast making the brain send hunger signals, which in turn makes you eat more over a short period.
This phenomenon explains why you get hungry 2-3 hours after eating a refined breakfast cereal like rice crisp but stay full for longer time after eating a breakfast of moi-moi. Really people, this isn’t rocket science. The cereal you love to munch on has a high glycaemic index whereas moi-moi for example has a low glycaemic index. Other foods with high glycaemic index are table sugar, refined bread, refined biscuits, refined foods like foreign rice, refined swallow, all those foods we invited into our lives but are steady hating on our bodies while foods with low glycaemic index are beans, vegetables, guinea corn, acha/fonio, millet, tamba (finger millet). What’s that thing about the cornerstone rejected by the builders? So as much as it lies in your power always go for foods with low glycaemic index.
I will tell you why; remember all my years of training as a dietitian?
- Food with low glycaemic index helps keep sugar level within normal range, Important for those preventing or treating diabetes.
- Foods with low glycaemic index will help you maintain your normal weight or lose excess weight if necessary, Remember you stay full for a longer time on low glycaemic index foods, meaning you will eat 2 or 3 times daily as opposed to 5 or 6 times if eating foods with high glycaemic index.
- Foods with low glyaemic index improve fertility according to many studies including the one carried out by the Harvard school of medicine.
- Low glycaemic index diet enhances mental performance. Since the brain needs and thrives better on steady supply of glucose instead of a single gust of glucose.
- Low glycaemic index foods help in achieving a healthy pregnancy as too much glucose gets to your precious little one and increases the risks of complication in delivery.
Now that you know that not all carbohydrates are bad, and why you should follow a low glycaemic index diet, I will share with you practical tips on how to go on a low glycaemic index diet.
- Swap some of your high glycaemic index breakfast meals like cereals, bread and refined sugars with low glycaemic index foods like tamba also called finger millet, akara, moi-moi, and acha pudding.
- Swap your high glycaemic index lunches and dinners of foreign rice, refined swallows, with low glycaemic index foods like acha jollof, guinea corn or acha swallow, plantain swallow, bean pottage.
- Add vegetables to meals while cooking or as side dishes when eating.
Trust me when I tell you that healthy foods don’t have to be boring and exciting eye catching foods don’t always translate to healthy foods for your body. So what’s the take home? All carbohydrates are not equal therefore always choose foods with low glycaemic index to stay healthy.