What is the Low GI Diet?

What is the Low GI Diet? Get the gist on low glycemic diet

What is the Low GI Diet?
The low gi diet or low glycemic diet is based on the concept of the glycemic index (GI).
The GI is a list of carbohydrate-containing foods and how quickly they are processed through our bodies and thus raise blood glucose (sugar) levels compared to a standard food.

Studies have shown that the low-GI diet may result in weight loss, reduce blood sugar levels and lower the risks of heart disease and type 2 diabetes along with controlling blood sugar levels in type one diabetes.

It’s all about balance.
In order to achieve any of these health benefits, it is important that low GI carbohydrates are a significant part of a healthy balanced diet.

This means swapping high GI foods for low GI choices in the same food group or category at main meals and for snacks.

The foods you choose should also be lower in saturated fat, moderate in sodium and higher in fibre.

Serve size is also important, as eating too much of any kind of food, even healthy choices, may make you put on weight.

Eat slowly and enjoy your food. Think before you eat.

Only eat when you are hungry, not stressed, upset or bored.

Also, include in your daily routine 30 minutes of planned exercise like walking, swimming, or riding a bike, plus 30 minutes of “incidental” activity like using the stairs instead of the lift.

How can the GI benefit me?

A low-GI diet is useful for people with diabetes, as either their bodies’ insulin production is deficient or their bodies are insulin resistant, restricting their ability to metabolise glucose.
Thus a lower GI diet causes less variation in blood glucose levels which makes the condition easier to manage.

Low-GI diet benefits for non-diabetics

A high-GI diet results in peaks and troughs of energy throughout the day, whereas a low-GI diet results in a good level of sustained energy.
Low-GI foods also tend to have a longer satisfaction period per calorie given the slow energy release, which is useful in maintaining a healthy weight loss/control diet.

It should be noted that, since the glycaemic index measures the rate at which the carbohydrate in the food is converted into glucose, it can be misleading for foods with a low quantity of carbohydrate.
The carbohydrate in carrot has a medium GI but, since a carrot only is about 7% carbohydrate, it has a relatively small effect on the blood glucose.

For this reason, some people advocate use of the glycaemic load (GL) instead, which is simply the GI divided by 100, times the quantity of carbohydrate (in grams).

Foods such as meat which have no carbohydrate have no GI.

A GI of up to 55 is low, 56-69 medium and 70+ high. Glucose has a GI of 100.

Many doctors and dietitians recommend and prescribe eating low GI foods for weight loss, overall health, and to help manage blood sugars.
This power-packed collection of healthful recipes will help you eat to feel great.

You’ll be able to maintain a healthy weight, lose weight, reduce the risk of and better manage diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, and so much more.
Best of all, you will still enjoy your food!

GI ranking of common carbohydrate foods

Food Type
Low GI
Low GI
High GI
Food Type ➥
Low GI ➥
Mixed grain bread,
low GI white bread The One,
soy and linseed bread,
oat bran bread,
fruit loaf / raisin bread,
country life low GI gluten free bread
Medium GI ➥
Wholemeal bread,
pita bread,
rye bread, crumpets,
taco shells
High GI ➥
White bread,
gluten free white bread,
Lebanese bread
Food Type ➥
Breakfast cereals
Low GI ➥
Rolled oats / porridge,
All Bran, muesli,
Special K
Medium GI ➥
Vita Brits,
bran flakes,
Sultana Bran,
Just Right,
High GI ➥
Rice Bubbles,
Corn Flakes,
Coco Pops*,
Fruit Loops*,
instant oat porridge,
Fruity Bix
Food Type ➥
Low GI ➥
Pasta, ravioli*,
instant noodles*,
rice noodles,
rice pasta,
2 minute noodles*
Medium GI ➥
Cous cous,
rice vermicelli,
dongarra rice,
basmati rice,
long grain white rice (boiled)
High ➥
Brown rice,
jasmine rice,
sticky rice (sushi rolls),
‘quick’ rice,
congee, corn pasta
Food Type ➥
Low GI ➥
Vita Wheat crispbread,
oatmeal biscuits,
Snack Right fruit slice
Medium GI ➥
shredded wheatmeal,
Milk Arrowroot,
High GI ➥
Water crackers,
rice cakes,
rice crackers,
corn thins,
Food Type ➥
Low GI ➥
Medium GI ➥
Paw paw,
peaches (tinned in syrup),
High GI ➥
Food Type ➥
Vegetables and legumes
Low GI ➥
Sweet potato,
sweet corn,
most beans (kidney, red, baked, lima, soy),
Medium GI ➥
Potato (mashed with butter or milk)
High GI ➥
White potato,
broad beans
Food Type ➥
Low GI ➥
ice Cream*,
soy milk,
Up and Go,
Le Rice*
Medium GI ➥
Condensed milk*,
Vaalia yoghurt drink
High GI ➥
Rice Milk
Food Type ➥
Extra Foods
Low GI ➥
Snickers bar*,
low GI sugar*,
corn chips*,
cashew nuts,
sponge cake*,
banana cake*
Medium GI ➥
Mars bar*,
muesli bars*,
soft drink*,
potato chips*
High GI ➥
Life Savers*,
jelly beans*,
roll ups*,
Note ➥
*Foods marked with an asterisk are high in fat and/or sugar and should be eaten occasionally.
These foods provide lots of extra energy (calories) and are low in nutritional value.

**Read more about Potatoes and Glycemic Index here.

​Foods that are high on the GI scale produce a large fluctuation in our blood glucose levels.
When our glucose levels spike, our bodies have to work extra hard to get them back into balance. Foods high on the GI scale also tend to be high in calories and low in nutrients…which is what we call empty calories, and something we don’t want to be eating too much of. They also tend to be very easily accessible, and highly palatable (aka tasty), which is why we have to be mindful of not over-doing it.

The Low GI Handbook

The Low GI Diet RevolutionWith over 1 million copies sold of the three previous editions, The New Glucose Revolution is the go-to book for all things GI.
Now in its fourth edition, The New Glucose Revolution is completely revised and updated, expanding on the most recent scientific findings related to GI and health.

It includes new chapters dedicated to pre-diabetes, pregnancy, and heart health easy and delicious recipes weekly low-GI menu ideas and the GI values for more than 900 different foods and drinks, plus saturated fat and carbohydrate contents listed.

On the heels of Dr. David Jenkins’ ground-breaking GI study (one of the largest and longest to assess the impact of foods with a low GI), the time is right to adopt and maintain a low-GI lifestyle.

If you want to lose weight manage your diabetes and improve your blood glucose levels, cardiovascular health, and sense of well-being, this is the book for you. Take a look here

Low GI Eating Made Easy

Low GI Eating Made EasyIn Everyday Low GI Eating, the authors of the New York Times bestseller The New Glucose Revolution show readers how to choose low-GI carbohydrates.
The ones that produce only small fluctuations in our blood glucose levels–so that they feel fuller longer and increase their energy levels, making weight loss achievable and sustainable.

Jennie Brand-Miller and Kaye-Foster-Powell, along with Philippa Sandall, offer a simple overview of the GI and why it’s such an effective dietary tool including
1 a list of the top 100 low-GI foods divided into easy-to-follow sections such as fruit and veggies, breads and cereals, legumes, nuts, and indulgences

2 tips on low-GI cooking and shopping; and much more.

3 Complete with a 7-day low-GI meal plan to start readers off on the right foot

Everyday Low GI Eating is a one-stop resource for all those looking for an easy way to make the switch to a low-GI lifestyle. Get your copy here


Queensland Health

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