Previously on the Chris’ Gym blog, we discussed the difference between simple and complex carbohydrates, and touched on Glycaemic Index (GI). In this blog post we take a deeper look into what Glycaemic Index is, and why you should be going for low GI over high GI.
As discussed last time, carbohydrates are the body’s preferred and most easily accessed fuel source. The GI level is a way to classify carbohydrate containing foods and drinks according how much and how quickly they raise blood glucose (sugar) levels. Why would we want to know about our blood sugar levels? Because low quality foods such as processed carbohydrates, which spike your blood sugar levels too high will promote insulin levels in your body too, which in turn promotes fat storage.
When a food is being classified for GI levels, the food is given a GI Score out of 100. Carbohydrates that break down quickly during digestion and also spike blood sugar levels will have a higher GI level. For instance, white bread, a simple carbohydrate, has a high GI of more than 70.
However longer chain carbohydrates that break down slowly, such as oats, release energy gradually into the bloodstream. These types of carbohydrates have low glycaemic indexes. (GI less than 55) Contrary to high GI carbohydrates, Low GI foods don’t spike your blood sugar levels as high, and also take longer to digest, keeping you fuller for longer.
Consuming Low GI foods is commonly promoted as an effective way to help lose weight by controlling blood sugar levels and appetite. However, eating more low GI carbohydrates than high GI carbohydrates is only a single component of a fat loss plan and should not be the only consideration.
So when you’re in the supermarket isle, look for the GI symbol on packaged foods. On the GI symbol, look for the GI rating of the food product as it will give you an indication of whether or not the carbohydrate is a complex or simple carb. Remember, low GI is the way to go.