Low Glycemic Index refer to a certain group of foods, usually wholegrains, lentils, pulses, nuts, seeds, fats, and certain fruits and vegetable. These specific foods release their sugars slowly into the bloodstream over a sustained period and are the perfect foods to eat on the a low GI diet.
This low glycemic food list will show you the best foods to consume to keep your blood sugar and an an even keel. These foods will also help you to lose stomach fat, in turn helping you avoid the kind of insulin response that encourages your body to store fat.
These are some of the great reasons the low GI diet can be great for your health.
What Is Insulin?
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that is released in response to sugar in the blood. It signals to the muscle, liver and fat cells to uptake these sugars from the bloodstream to either use them for energy or stored them as fat.
This kind of fat storage is usually a bad thing as it’s the type of fat usually goes on around the middle can be dangerous and a precursor for disease.
But, insulin 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.
The body is producing insulin after every meal, but if it’s a refined carbohydrate or sugary meal that will give you will have a high insulin response. This is what you need to avoid as much as possible.
If a high insulin response keeps occurring regularly (as it does in most people who eat a junk filled diet), then over time this can lead to insulin resistance. This in turn can lead to problems such as type 2 diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome.
How to slow down the sugar release
However, how high your insulin response will be after a meal is not always a clear cut thing. For instance, you can get away with eating sugar a lot more if you consume it alongside fats, protein and fiber. Doing all these things will help to slow the release of the sugar into the bloodstream.
But, if you were to eat just pure sugar or refined carbs on their own, then the sugars would be released very fast. This is what causes a very high insulin response . So, it’s not always about what you eat, but what you eat it with.
Insulin And Fat Storage
Insulin promotes fat storage and is part of our survival mechanism ready for times of need, However, we rarely need this mechanism nowadays as most 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 quickly and cause a rapid insulin response.
And, unless you’re about to run a marathon (or do a hard workout) then these high calorie sugars will not be needed for energy. But ,if they’re not burnt off they end up being metabolised and pushed into fat cells, which just keep swelling and swelling and you get bigger and bigger.
Giving up Sugar
Giving up sugar may sound hard, but getting off the adequately termed ‘sugar train‘ can be difficult because most of us have some level of sugar addiction going on.
This is usually more of an addiction to the feel good endorphins that are released when we eat high sugar and fatty foods, rather than an actual addiction to sugar itself. And, this effect that is only heightened when sugars and fats are eaten together.
This is our body’s way of rewarding us for seeking out high calories foods as part of our survival instinct, which is mostly redundant these days.
So, to keep these cravings at bay as best you can, you should keep your blood sugar levels more stable by always eating as low GI as possible, and also learn to food combine correctly.
For instance: eating low GI foods with equal amounts of protein and a little fat will not only help slow down the sugar release, but also keep you full and satiated for hours. This in itself is a great weight loss tool that will help to stop sugar cravings and snacking.
Low GI Food Combining
An example of low GI food combining would be something like oatcakes, wholegrain rice cakes, or a piece of fresh fruit 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) it makes for a perfect low GI snack.
This low glycemic diet foods list will show you which foods release their sugars slowly over a sustained period of time. This is due to the fact they haven’t been refined and contain all the fibers and nutrients of the food in its ‘whole’ and natural state.
What happens in the refining process?
During the refining process of many foods such as white sugar, rice, bread and flours, all the fibrous parts of the original food are taken out, thus making them far easier and faster for us to digest. This is behind the thinking of the food companies that do this, to make our food more palatable and easy to eat.
But, they are not really doing us any favours because digesting something fast is not good. The high sugar spike in the bloodstream means a higher insulin response than is natural to the body. This wouldn’t happen were we to be eating foods in their whole and natural form like we’re designed to.
These refined sugar, high insulin responses can be continual throughout the day in a person that eats lots of junk foods and snacks. This is why too may junk foods are so bad for us.
High GI Food Swaps Examples
If you love potatoes (who doesn’t) then you can either eat them high GI or low GI, depending on how you prepare them. This is where a bit of understanding of this concept of ‘slowing down a food’s natural sugars‘ comes in.
For example:- If you eat mashed potato, then you have literally refined a potato down as far as you can in the mashing process itself. All that breaking down of its fibers means that your body doesn’t have to do any hard work, and you can literally use the potatoe’s energy instantly (this is not good in terms of the insulin response).
Eat potatoes with their skins left on
But, if you were to eat a naturally lower GI, new potato in its skin then it would be much lower insulin response, due to the fact that the skin is full of fiber. Plus, the fact that it also hasn’t been mashed up also helps!
If you bake a potato in its skin, or make your own healthy, oven baked fries with their skins on then this is much lower GI than your mash.
This is just one example of how different cooking methods of the same foods can change the food’s GI value. The same can be said for juices, syrups and oils. All have been extracted from their original state and had their fibers taken out.
The general principle is to keep something as close to nature as possible and allow your digestive system to do the hard work of breaking it down. This is why a diet high in raw foods is perfect as the cooking process of most vegetables (no matter how its done) breaks down fibers and ups their GI value.
Other Benefits Of The Low GI Diet
1. GENERAL MOOD
When you start eating from the complete list of low glycemic foods below you will start to notice a big difference in your mood. This is due to the fact that low GI foods keep your blood sugar stable, and stable blood sugar helps to stabilise mood.
Also, stable blood sugar (along with other factors such as the eating of healthy omega 3 fats and exercise) may play a big role against anxiety, depression, PMS and 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. This will make not only your skin more wrinkly, but everything else on the inside and out will age more rapidly too!
Eating a low GI diet, along with lots of antioxidant rich foods such as fruits and vegetables will really help your body to regenerate, rather than degenerate. So, low GI foods can SLOW down the aging process and keeping you looking youthful for longer.
Check out this amazing list of 100% natural anti aging supplements and add some them to your diet also for maximum benefits.
3. WEIGHT LOSS
Eating a low GI, highly plant based diet full of whole plant foods and delicious raw salads will mean you may naturally lose weight over time. Stable blood sugar helps to bust sugar and carb cravings, which ultimately will make you gain weight and eventually suffer all the other problems that go along with that.
The anti inflammatory, plant based diet can boost your energy, give you more clarity, better sleep, higher fitness levels, and give you fantastic skin that your friends will be envious of.
LOW GLYCEMIC FOODS LIST
- High quality plant based protein powders (Find the highest reviewed here)
- 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 granolas and mueslis/shredded wheat
- Flours – wholemeal/spelt/buckwheat/brown rice/quinoa
- Low sugar baked beans
- Green and red lentils either canned or dried
- Kidney beans
- Cannellini beans
- Black Beans
- Borlotti beans
- Pinto beans
- Butter 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
- This amazing spaghetti bolognese sauce recipe
- These delicious, chocolate covered snickers dates.
- MEAT AND DAIRY IS NOT ON THE GI RATING SCALE AS IT DOES NOT CONTAIN ANY CARBOHYDRATES, BUT IN ESSENCE THEY ARE LOW GI.
I hope this post prompts you to stat making the changes TODAY to a healthier lifestyle that will make you feel and look a whole lot better.
If you need help with this, please check out our FAST & EASY meal plans where you will learn how to put all these foods together in the right way to keep you bursting with health and vitality for life.