The low glycemic index diet as its name implies is a comprehensive diet plan that is based on the consumption of foods that stand out for their low levels of the glycemic index (GI). It is a fundamental and key concept in the state of general health, which is related to great benefits to lower and control body weight, significantly reduces blood sugar levels, reduces the risk of heart conditions, and type 2 diabetes.
The low glycemic index diet is a system that is based on the impact that high carbohydrate foods have on blood sugar levels. It is a popular method to fight diabetes, obesity, and lose weight.
This type of diet is particularly important in those who have pre-diabetes or some type of confirmed diabetes, it is also related to benefits to reduce the risk of cancer, obesity, and hypertension.
What Is The Glycemic Index?
Before delving into the basic principles of this type of diet, it is important to understand the role that the glycemic index (GI) plays in the diet. The carbohydrates are nutrients found naturally in foods such as bread, cereals, fruits, vegetables, and dairy products are an essential part of a healthy diet. By eating carbohydrates the digestive system breaks them down into simple sugars that enter the bloodstream, however, not all carbohydrates are the same, and depending on their type they will have unique effects on blood sugar.
The glycemic index is a measurement system that classifies foods according to their effect on blood sugar levels, it is a concept that was created in 1980 by a Canadian professor named David Jenkins.
This trend is based on the rates of different foods and their ability to increase blood sugar levels and are ranked compared to the absorption of 50 grams of pure glucose. Pure glucose is used as a reference food and has a GI value of 100, which is why three classifications were created to measure the GI of the main foods:
- Low: 55 or less
- Medium: 56–69
- High: 70 or more
Foods with a lower glycemic index are selected as the main basis of this type of diet, the reason is simple, they digest and absorb more slowly, causing a gradual and small increase in blood sugar levels.
At the same time, there is a rule of limiting foods that are characterized by having a high glycemic index, since they are responsible for violently increasing glucose levels.
The foods that enter the measurement of the glycemic index must necessarily contain carbohydrates in their composition, that is why the products that do not contain them will not appear in any list; such as beef, chicken, fish, eggs, and spices.
There are several factors that intervene in the measurement of the glycemic index of a food, among the main concepts are; the type of sugar it contains, the structure of the starch, how refined the carbohydrate is, its nutritional composition, the cooking techniques and the level of maturity in products such as fruits.
The Eight(8) Basic Principles of a Low Glycemic Index Diet:
1) Abundant consumption in non-starchy vegetables, beans and fruits
This is one of the basic principles, you should select foods with few starches such as apples, pears, peaches, and berries. Even tropical fruits like bananas, mangoes, and papaya tend to have a lower glycemic index than any typical dessert.
2) It is vitally important to consume whole grains
The consumption of grains with the least possible processing is essential, that is, cereals that have not been broken should be consumed, as is the case with products such as whole wheat bread, brown rice, and whole barley, millet, and berries. wheat; or traditionally processed, such as artisan breadcrumbs, oats, and breakfast cereals such as muesli or natural granola.
3) Consumption of white potatoes and refined grain products is limited
Special caution should be taken and better still avoid the consumption of white bread and white pasta, the same with potatoes. The recommendation is to limit their consumption to special occasions and in very small portions, never exceed or make them part of the daily diet.
4) Consumption of concentrated sugars is limited
Foods made with sugar concentrates are a great enemy of the glycemic index, especially those that are characterized by their high-calorie content such as buns, desserts, sweets, and ice cream. The same happens with sugary drinks, they must be completely eliminated from the diet. In the case of consuming fruit juice, it should be natural and no more than half a cup a day.
5) Integrates the consumption of healthy proteins
Proteins are an essential nutrient for the proper functioning of the body, it is important to integrate healthy variants that are of plant and animal origin, such as beans, lentils, chickpeas, meats such as skinless fish or chicken.
6) Foods rich in healthy fats are a staple
Fats are important for the body, as long as we select the beneficial variants for health, rich in antioxidants, Omega 3 fatty acids and with anti-inflammatory powers such as olive oil, nuts (almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and pine nuts) and avocados should be part of the daily diet in moderate amounts.
7) Products are best avoided
Those who are distinguished by containing saturated fats as is the case of milk and other Animale products s as sausages and processed meats. At the same time, the consumption of partially hydrogenated fats (trans fats), which are mostly found in processed products and fast foods, should be completely eliminated.
8) General recommendations
It is important to consider the three main meals of the day and the intake of 1-2 snacks per day. It is not recommended to skip breakfast. It is essential to eat slowly and in small quantities, not to reach the extreme point of satiety.