People who have diabetes or are prediabetic may refer to the glycemic index because they are trying to manage insulin deficiency and are trying to avoid the risks in elevated blood sugar levels. However, low glycemic index (low-GI) diet could also be a means to lose weight or avoid cardiovascular diseases.
The glycemic index is an indicator that measures the potential of a food item to raise your blood sugar.
Food is placed on a scale of 1 to 100. Low glycemic index food fall under a GI rating of 55. Moderate GI ratings are within the 56 to 69 range. Anything above 70 is considered high GI.
The consumption of food with a high glycemic index rating causes an increase in blood sugar that declines rapidly. The opposite happens for consuming low glycemic index food. In this case, the blood sugar will not peak as high and its decline is gradual. This is important in avoiding and managing diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular diseases like coronary heart disease, and gallbladder disease.
For carbohydrates, a good rule of thumb is to opt for the least processed state of the carbohydrate possible. This means taking whole kernel bread over white bread, brown rice over white rice, whole barley over pre-processed barley, and more. Traditionally processed food like steel-cut oats, natural granola and muesli, and stone-ground bread could make for good low glycemic index food alternatives.
In the same way, staying away from food with high GI ratings like white potatoes and refined grain products like bread, cereal, and pasta would help your diet.