We would like to share some information on the "glycemic index" (or GI) to help you build better snacks. Understanding the basic concept of the GI can greatly aid in your ability to combine foods in a way that helps to keep your blood sugar even, preventing spikes and "bonks". You will also reduce cravings and maintain a good energy level.
What is Glycemic Index?
From the South Beach Diet website:
Glycemic Index or GI Index is a ranking of carbohydrates on a scale from 0 to 100 according to the extent to which they raise blood sugar levels. It measures how much your blood glucose increases after eating.
Low Glycemic Index index food (less than 55) produce small rise in blood sugar and insulin level. Foods with GI index between 55 and 70 are consider intermediate-GI foods. High Glycemic Index food GI numbers (more than 70) make our blood sugar and insulin levels rise fast.
Research shown that low GI foods can:
improve glucose and lipid levels in people with diabetes.
benefits for weight control because they help control appetite and delay hunger.
low glycemic diet reduce insulin levels and insulin resistance.
prevent heart disease.
My basic snack formula is this:
- Choose a "vehicle" such as whole grain bread/toast, oatmeal, crackers, or fresh fruits or veggies.
- Add some protein and/or good (monounsaturated) fat such as nuts or nut butter, seeds, avocado, lowfat dairy or soy products, lean meats.
Fresh fruits and veggies offer so much in terms of nutrition and disease-fighting antioxidants but some (especially fruits) can have a higher glycemic index. On their own, these foods can create fluctuations in blood sugar, but pairing higher glycemic index foods with a little protein and/or monounsaturated fat will make a world of difference.
- Apple slices with peanut or almond butter
- Mandarin oranges and a small handful of almonds
- Oatmeal with bananas and walnuts
- Raw veggies and hummus
For more information on the glycemic index or to look up the GI rating of common foods, visit the South Beach Diet Plan website, here.