Paying attention to what you eat and making the necessary changes will help you lose weight. Eating foods that are nutrient dense and low in simple sugars is an excellent way to reduce your weight and increase lean body mass.
Of course, your body often works against you in this effort. When you burn a lot of calories in a workout, your body needs to recover. To do that, it needs fuel. Often, at times like these, your body craves carbs because it is easy to convert them into glucose, which feeds your body.
However, before you reach for the carbs your body is craving (and, if we’re being honest, your taste buds are, too), consider the food’s Glycemic Index.
What is the Glycemic Index?
A food’s Glycemic Index (GI) is a measurement of how your blood sugar rises after you eat certain foods containing carbohydrates. The scale runs from 1 to 100. Foods scoring above 70 are high GI foods, and foods scoring below 55 are low. Foods in between are considered medium GI foods, naturally.
Low GI foods
are nutrient dense and slow burning, meaning they keep you feeling full longer.
High GI foods tend to have fewer nutrients and burn fast leaving you feeling
hungry much sooner. You might have also heard High GI foods called “empty
Examples of High GI Foods:
- White-flour based bread and baked goods
Examples of Low GI Foods:
- Almond Milk
- Non-starchy vegetables
- Some Fruits
Initially, WebMD says the index was developed to help patients with Type 2 Diabetes manage their blood sugar levels. However, the GI could also be helpful in weight management. The GI scoring system is the foundation for many popular diets, including the South Beach Diet, Nutrisystem, and the Zone.
Most people are reluctant to diet because they don’t want to be hungry or fear they won’t like the food they can eat. However, when you eat low GI (or even medium GI) foods, neither is an issue. Low GI foods burn longer, making you feel satisfied for more extended periods (read: you feel full longer). When you aren’t hungry, and you feel happy, it’s easier to make healthy choices, which could lead to weight loss.
What you might not realize is you probably have many of the foods with a low GI in your kitchen right now. What’s more, they are there because you already like them.
Here are 5 Low Glycemic Foods That You Probably Like:
- Apples: An apple with the skin on is a low-GI food on the scale, with a 40 on the GI Index.
- Bananas: ½ a serving of a banana scores 40 to 50 on the GI Index, depending on how ripe it is. (That’s because as a banana ripens it converts more of the starch to sugar, which raises the GI level.)
- Carrots: Either cooked or raw, Carrots have a glycemic index of fewer than 35.
- Eggs: Eggs are not scored on the GI. Why? Per Healthline, it’s because they don’t have carbs. However, they are an essential part of a low-GI diet because they pack a lot of protein. An omelet with a bunch of vegetables can be a great way to start your day off right with many low GI foods that are nutrient-dense and will burn for a long time. (Other foods not on the Glycemic index include meat, fish, chicken, and turkey, among others, which are also a critical part of a low-GI diet.)
- Kidney Beans: An excellent low-GI food are kidney beans, coming in with a low score of 24 per Medical News Today. With lots of protein and fiber, these beans have a lot of nutrients, including potassium. They are also low in fat. Try them in a vegetarian chili—just hold off on the chips.
It is essential to control your portion size no matter how low on the GI index a food scores. A low GI score doesn’t mean you can eat all you want of a food and still lose weight. With weight loss as a goal, you have to control your portions, too. For example, nuts have a low GI score, but they are full of calories. If you eat too many, you might be disappointed on the scale at your next weigh-in.
We support and applaud reducing the simple carbohydrates you consume while increasing your intake of vegetables, some fruits, and lean proteins. Switching to low GI foods can not only increase the amount of nutrients you eat but also give your body what it needs to feel full and satisfied while burning off some of the weight you want to lose.
“Smart Carbs: Understanding the Glycemic Index.” 8fit.com. Web. 25 April 2019. < https://8fit.com/nutrition/smart-carbs-glycemic-index/>.
Watson, Stephanie. “The Glycemic Index Diet”. Web. 24 April 2019
“A Beginner’s Guide to the Low Glycemic Diet.” www.healthline.com. Web. 28 May 2019. < https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/low-glycemic-diet>.
“5 Foods with Low Glycemic Carbohydrates.” www.3fatchicks.com. 26 February 2010. Web. 24 April 2019
Burgess, Lana. “What are the best low-glycemic foods?” www.medicalnewstoday.com. 2 April 2019. Web. 28 May 2019. <https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324871.php>.
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