Low GI Products – What is GI? When reading about foods that are good for you, you may have come across products labelled as low GI… GI stands for Glycemic index This is the rating of foods containing carbohydrates which shows how fast a food may affect your blood glucose levels. A food high up on the Glycemic Index causes an increase in blood glucose concentration which the leads to a release of insulin. The production of insulin may lead fat storage, preventing us from using that fat as energy. So are High GI products bad for us? Using the Glycemic Index to decide how healthy a food is can be beneficial. It can help prevent the spike in blood glucose levels and reduce fat storage…. However, using the word “healthy” is not the full story. Things like bananas can be higher on the GI than some foods like cakes and chocolates. So are they the better option? Cake and chocolate are far more calorific and contain a lot of saturated fats, flavourings and sweeteners. So just because a banana is higher on the glycemic index, does not mean it is worse for you than a cake. Also, a spike in insulin can be useful… particularly before or after strenuous physical activity. A high GI food eg banana can be digested for energy a lot faster than a low GI. This then provides us with an instant source of energy to use. Also, a spike in insulin after a workout can help aid muscle repair and recovery. In conclusion, it is important to know where foods are in terms of the glycemic index. As it is not ideal to have a high GI food when that fast release of energy is not needed and vice versa for when we do need it. Yet the most important thing in weight loss is calories. If you are in a calorie deficit (eat less calories than you use) you will lose weight. So if you don’t know how many calories you should eat speak to your trainer and get tracking your calories.
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