Low GI…. Foods that make you Fly

Incredibly healthy foods that give a super sustainable energy boost...

Glycaemic index (GI) is a term that, like many others on the nutrition/dietetic scene gets banded about a fair amount; some major commercial diets have even been based on the principles.


So first of all, to clarify what it means – glycaemic index describes the rate at which a food is broken down and absorbed by the body. It therefore determines the speed at which your blood glucose levels rise, and therefore your energy levels.

The standard references, with the highest glycaemic index (100), are white bread or neat glucose as they release their sugars fastest. Other foods are then compared against these to determine their GI.

Foods that release their sugars slowly (low GI foods) have proven to be preferable to their higher GI alternatives for three incredibly good reasons....

1.     1. They result in a steadier rise in energy levels so they’re a great option for all your meals – whether you’re looking for something to start your working day with, aiming to avoid that slump in your post-lunch meeting, or looking for a dinner that’ll keep you ticking over for some Friday evening fun. The gradual release of sugars is also great for people with diabetes mellitus.

2.     2. The gradual release of sugars also has an effect on appetite/satiety signals to help keep you fuller for longer. This is added to by the fact low GI foods have often been subject to less refining processes so they’ll be higher in fibre, which adds bulk and viscosity to the contents of our tummies.

3.     3. The fact that GI specifically refers to the rate at which glucose is released means that choosing the lower referenced foods may also help with maintaining attention spans, as glucose is always the brain’s number one fuel of choice.

The summary.............

Low GI
Medium GI
High GI

Granary, multigrain, sourdough, pumpernickel, rye
Pitta bread, crumpets, croissants
White / wholemeal / brown bread, baguette,  bagel

White basmati, wild, long grain
Jasmine / instant / thai
Most pasta (surprising perhaps)

Sweet potato
New potatoes, boiled potatoes, crisps
Baked / mashed potato, chips, French fries
Porridge oats, bran cereals, cereal, muesli, fruit and fibre
Wheat biscuit cereals, instant porridge
Corn based cereals , puffed wheat cereals, rice-based cereals
Miscellaneous Starchies
Noodles, yam, pearl barley, plantain
Cous cous, cornmeal, millet, taco shells, semolina
Tapioca, popcorn, nachos, poori, millet flour porridge
Apples, pears, peaches, grapes (no typos!), orange, peach, mango
Banana, kiwi, melon, pineapple raisins, figs
Dates, watermelon
Sweetcorn, carrots, broccoli, peas, aubergine, beans and pulses (including baked beans!!)

Parsnips, swede
Milk, yoghurt, custard
Ice cream

Biscuits / Cakes / Puds
Fruit loaf, sponge cake, banana cake
Digestives, rich teas, shortbread, oaty biscuits, cereal bars
Cream / sweet cakes, pudding scones
Condiments / Treeeeeats!
Sugar free / diet drinks
Honey, jam, ice cream
Glucose syrup, non-deiet drinks, sweets

As is always the case with healthy eating, nearly all foods have their individual benefits (wouldn’t the world be a dull place to be if there was one food, or one anything for that matter, that got an A+ for everything?).

Therefore, this is not to say high GI foods should be avoided, it’s all about matching your eating to your desired end-point at that time.... for example, potatoes, which are high GI, are a fantastic source of vitamin C which may help with immunity, whereas honey, which is low GI, is still high in calories if you’re trying to watch your waist line.

Eat a balance and you can’t go wrong. Just be aware that for good energy levels, keeping full and staying awake, these are the grains to root for!

1 comment:

  1. This is such a good article. We recently started using coconut palm sugar and were told it is low on the glycemic index - but didn't really know what was so special about that! This is so helpful.