Low Glycemic Index foods are a certain group of foods (usually wholegrains, lentils, pulses, nuts, seeds, fats and vegetables) that release their sugars slowly into the bloodstream over a sustained period. This Low Glycemic Food List will show you the best foods to eat to keep blood sugar stable, and avoid the kind of insulin response that encourages the body to store fat.
WHAT IS INSULIN?
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that is released in response to high sugar levels in the blood. It then signals to the muscle, liver and fat cells to uptake these sugars from the bloodstream to be either used as energy OR stored as fat
It is also designed to keep blood sugar levels stable. Too high can cause hyperglycemia and too low can cause hypoglycemia both of which can be dangerous conditions if left untreated.
Insulin and Fat Storage:
Insulin promotes fat storage as part of our survival mechanism for times of need, but we rarely need this mechanism these days as many of us live in a world of food abundance. Every time we eat refined carbohydrates such as white sugar, flour, rice, pastries, cakes and confectionery the sugars in those foods will hit the bloodstream rapidly, causing a rapid insulin response.
Unless you are about to run a marathon or do a hard workout, these high calorie sugars will not be needed, and as they are not burnt off they end up being metabolised, and then pushed into fat cells to be stored as fat.
Unfortunately, this sugar usually goes on as dangerous belly fat, which increases your risk of heart disease, metabolic syndrome and diabetes.
Fiber slows this process down, which is why low GI foods such as wholegrain breads, pasta, rice, low fat dairy products, sweet potatoes, whole fruits, leafy green vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds should all be eaten in abundance on a low GI diet.
HOW CAN I STOP THIS?
Getting off the adequately termed ‘sugar train‘ can be difficult for many people, as we all have some level of sugar addiction going on. The very best you can do to keep your sugar levels stable is to always eat as low GI as possible AND to food combine correctly.
For instance eating low GI foods with equal amounts of protein and a little fat will help slow down the sugar release and keep you full and satiated for hours. This in itself is a great weight loss tool that will help stop sugar cravings and snacking.
Example of Low GI Eating:
An example of low GI food combining would be something like oatcakes with sugar free peanut butter. Oatcakes are a wholegrain that is full of satiating fiber, and when combined with peanut butter, which is high in protein and heart healthy monounsaturated fat, makes for a perfect low GI snack.
Clearing your life (and your kitchen cupboards) from unhealthy and high GI foods is something you may need help to tackle, and should be done one step at a time. New habits work much more effectively if they are taken one step at a time, and changes need to be made in bite size chunks (excuse the pun).
To make these changes in a smooth and easy manner I suggest you take a read of my post ’10 Easy Steps To Clean Eating’. This will give you tips and strategies to get you on your clean, healthy, plant based lifestyle that will change your life FOREVER.
OTHER BENEFITS OF A LOW GI DIET
You will start to notice a big difference in your mood, because low GI foods will keep you stable and are therefore fantastic for those who suffer anxiety, depression, PMS and any other mood disorders.
2. ANTI AGING
Every time you have an insulin response from high GI foods your cells will go into accelerated aging mode, making not only your skin more wrinkly, but everything else on the inside and out will age more rapidly too.
There are many other things you can do to help slow down the aging process, check out these best aging supplements to see if you find any suitable for you. When it comes to anti aging I believe every little helps, and it needs to be hit from many different angles to truly be effective.
3. KEEPING DIABETES AND OTHER DISEASES AT BAY
A low GI diet will keep your blood sugar stable, which can help treat and stave off diabetes, heart disease and obesity. And these diseases also have a long list of side effects in themselves, so you can see how absolutely vital a low GI diet is for long term health.
LOW GLYCEMIC FOOD LIST:
- Sweet Potatoes
- Whole Fruits
- Green Leafy Vegetables
- Brown Rice
- Wholewheat/Spelt/ Brown Rice/ Corn or Buckwheat Pasta
- Oat Cakes/ Wholegrain Rice Cakes/ Rye Crackers
- No Added Refined Sugar Breakfast Cereals, Including Oats/ Wheatabix*/ Some Granola’s and Muesli’s/ Shredded Wheat
- Flours – Wholemeal/ Spelt/ Buckwheat, Brown Rice/ Quinoa
- Low Sugar Baked Beans
- Green and Red Lentils, either Canned or Died
- Kidney Beans
- Cannellini Beans
- Black Beans
- Borlotti Beans
- Pinto Beans
- Butte Beans
- Aduki Beans
- Wholegrain Bread
- Sourdough Bread
- Rye Bread
- Marmite or Vegemite
- Any kind of No Added Sugar Nut Butter
- Nuts of all kinds, preferably RAW
- Seeds – Pumpkin, Sunflower, Sesame, Flax, Hemp
- Tofu or Tempeh
- Any Dried Fruits – No Added Sugar
- Milks – Soy/ Rice/ Almond/ Coconut
- Fats for Cooking – Coconut Oil/ Olive Oil/ Avocado Oil/ Canola Oil/ Safflower Oil/ Peanut Oil/ Sesame Oil
- Cold Pressed Oils for Dressings and Salads – Extra Virgin Olive Oil/ Avocado Oil (also can be used for cooking)/ Flax Oil
- MEAT AND DAIRY IS NOT ON THE GI RATING SCALE AS IT DOES NOT CONTAIN ANY CARBOHYDRATES, BUT IN ESSENCE THEY ARE LOW GI.