Health Fitness

Low glycemic index foods help reduce hunger and food intake

The glycemic index (GI) is a system for classifying the effect carbohydrates have on blood glucose levels. A consumer study conducted by AC Nielsen in 2005 revealed that 86% of Australians are aware of the significant role of the GI and the GI symbol in nutrition and weight loss management.

The GI symbol is used as a way of making the decision to switch to other brands by an incredible 57% of Australian buyers.

If a food has a low glycemic index (low GI), it releases glucose at a slower, more stable rate and causes small changes in the blood glucose and insulin levels in your body. If a food has a high GI, the opposite happens.

The glycemic index of carbohydrates is classified into three ranges:

Low GI is 55 or less; includes most fruits and vegetables, whole grains, pasta, beans, and lentils.

The average GI is 56 to 69; includes sugar, basmati rice, and brown rice.

The high GI is 70 or higher – includes corn flakes, baked potatoes, jasmine rice, white bread, and candy bars.

Low GI diets have been shown to reduce weight and the risk of disorders such as insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes

A recent study evaluated the metabolic effects of foods with different GI levels in a group of healthy volunteers who ate two different breakfast cereals. The glucose, insulin and leptin responses of the participants were measured after eating.

Study participants ate randomly after a 12-hour overnight fast on two separate occasions. The meals consisted of the equivalent of 50 grams of carbohydrate from Kellogg’s Corn Flakes or General Mills Fiber One.

Blood samples were taken immediately after eating, and then 30, 60, 90 and 120 minutes later.

The average GI for those who ate Corn Flakes was 125, and for those who ate Fiber One it was 49. Corn Flakes are classified as high GI, while Fiber One is classified as low GI. The insulin response after eating the low glycemic food was significantly lower compared to the high glycemic food. Participants who ate Corn Flakes had low levels of leptin in their bloodstream compared to participants who ate the low-glycemic food.

When considering low glycemic foods, look for the GI symbol, a public health initiative led by Glycemic Index Limited and provides you with a credible cue to make healthier food choices using the recognized benefits of the glycemic index and good healthy nutrition.