Do you know what the classification really means?
Do you know what the classification really means?

Healthy eating: Get the lowdown on low GI foods

AUSTRALIANS are more informed than ever when it comes to making educated choices about what they're eating.

However, between the endless dietary classification symbols, it is easy to get confused about what exactly they mean.

Symbols such as "refined sugar free" or "no added sugar" are quite self-explanatory, but one classification that stumps many people is "Low GI".

By definition, the glycemic index (GI) is a ranking given to food to describe how quickly the carbohydrate in the food is broken down and absorbed into the bloodstream.

Low GI foods are broken down and absorbed more slowly into the bloodstream, and they result in a steady rise in blood sugar and insulin levels.

According to scientist Sheila Zhountist at USANA, a leading producer of high-quality supplements: "Many people don't understand the significance of incorporating low GI foods into their diet, but it's an easy way to maintain good health and improve your blood glucose levels. As low GI foods are digested slower, there are also numerous other significant health benefits that could significantly improve your quality of life."

1. Keeps hunger at bay.

As low GI foods take longer to digest, they provide a continuous supply of energy from meal to meal, without the sharp rise and fall of blood glucose. It helps control hunger so that you won't feel like eating all the time.

To fully maximise the benefits of not over-eating, space your meals evenly apart (ideally every three hours) throughout the day.

2. Helps keep blood sugar levels stable.

If you're looking for ways to keep your blood sugar levels stable, low GI foods are a great option as they provide a slower, more sustained release of sugar into the bloodstream.

3. Assists with heart health.

Foods that are low GI often also include ingredients that assist with helping your heart function at optimum levels, such as omega 3 and unsaturated fats. By adding foods such as berries and nuts into your diet, you are consuming antioxidants while maintaining a healthy balance of good fats in your body, therefore helping your heart.

For a list of low GI foods, go to