The Glycaemic Index (GI) is a ranking between zero and 100 given to foods describing how quickly the carbohydrate in a food is digested and absorbed into the blood.
Carbohydrate is an important energy source for the body and carbohydrate containing foods are an important part of a healthy diet.
Foods that are quickly digested and absorbed into the blood stream have a high GI (more than 55) whilst those which are slowly digested and absorbed have a low GI (less than 55).
Low GI foods include:
- Wholegrain bread
- Apples, apricots and oranges
- Yoghurt and milk
- Dried beans and lentils.
High GI foods include:
- White and wholemeal bread
- Processed cereals
- Short-grain rice
- Most cracker biscuits
Eating low GI foods may:
- Help to keep hunger at bay for longer after eating
- Provide a gradual, continuous supply of energy from one meal to the next
- Reduce insulin levels and insulin resistance.
- Help to keep blood glucose levels stable in those with diabetes, by providing a slower, more sustained release of glucose into the bloodstream.
Both high GI and low GI foods can be included in a healthy diet. Understanding the GI has a range of benefits for all people who are interested in food, nutrition and health.