What is Glycemic Index?
Glycemic index, in simple words, is the ability of a particular food to increase your blood sugar. It is always expressed as a percent in comparison with glucose (Glycemic index of glucose is 100).
In other words, foods with low glycemic index increase your blood sugar level slowly while foods with high glycemic index raise blood sugar level rapidly. Hence low glycemic index diet helps better sugar control, weight management & it also lowers your risk of developing heart diseases. Low glycemic index diet imparts early satiety.
Foods that can be included in a ‘Low Glycemic Index Diet’:
Any food which has glycemic index less than 55 is considered as a low glycemic index food.
Below are the broad classes:
1. All raw vegetables & salads, leafy vegetables, fibrous fruits
2. Raw Sprouts, lentils, kidney beans & peas
3. Whole grains, wheat bran, oatmeal, wheat flakes
4. Milk products like cheese, paneer, curds, sugar free ice-cream (without cone)
5. All non-vegetarian foods
6. Unsweetened soy milk
7. Nuts & oilseeds, all fats & oils
Points to consider:
1. The preparation/ cooking method affects glycemic index of food e.g. steam cooked foods have higher glycemic index than roasted/baked/ grilled foods. Glycemic index increases with the cooking time. Least processed foods are in their lowest glycemic index state.
2. The glycemic index of a particular food changes when it is mixed / eaten with some other food.
3. Glycemic index of fruits & vegetables increases with their ripeness. Juice has more glycemic index than a whole fruit.
4. Fats & oils have very low glycemic index but high fat foods are not recommended for people with diabetes or for those who are intending to lose weight.