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What Is a Low Glycemic Diet?

Monday, 22 Nov 2010 11:41 AM

The glycemic index (GI) refers to a ranking system, which measures the effect of carbohydrates on the glucose levels in blood. Typically, high glycemic foods are those that break down quickly and release glucose molecules quickly into the blood stream. Conversely, low glycemic foods are carbohydrate-rich foods, which take a longer time to break down and release glucose into the bloodstream slowly. This distinction between low and high glycemic diets is important for people with diabetes. Diabetes is a disorder characterized by abnormally high levels of glucose in the blood. Therefore, a low glycemic diet helps manage diabetes better.
So, what is a low glycemic diet?
A low glycemic diet includes foods that rank lower in the glycemic index chart and eliminates foods with high GI values. Low glycemic foods ensure that the insulin demand decreases which favorably affects long-term blood sugar control for diabetics. Scientific evidence shows that people who follow a low glycemic diet plan enjoy significantly less risk to lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, heart ailments, and obesity. On the other hand, people who usually eat larger portions of high GI foods suffer from glucose level spikes or drastic fluctuations and are predisposed to diabetes and other ailments.
High glycemic foods include: rice, potatoes, cornflakes, and bananas. Low glycemic foods include whole grains, oats, citrus fruits, vegetables, and beans. Typically, a low glycemic diet plan promotes the intake of lean proteins along with low GI foods, which help to keep the calorie consumption and hunger pangs under control. Low glycemic dietary supplements not only help improve cholesterol levels, but also help in diabetes management and prolonging physical endurance during intense workouts. Since the cravings and bingeing tendencies get arrested, low glycemic recipes contribute to healthy weight loss. Switching over to a low glycemic diet plan is quite easy and can be done by swapping high GI value foods with their lower GI counterparts. Therefore, eating whole wheat breads instead of refined flour breads, or fresh fruits instead of sweetened fruit juices, or substituting potatoes with green vegetables can go a long way in keeping diabetes in check.
An effective low glycemic diet plan maintains a proper balance between protein intake and heart-friendly omega-3 fatty acids. Including good sources of protein in the diet, such as beans, low-fat milk, fish, and nuts, helps to bring down the glycemic index of the diet.  Using low glycemic recipes in combination with restricted fat intake and a regular exercise routine is sure to help with diabetes and weight management.

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