Using a scale of 0 to 100, Glycemic Index (GI) ranks carbohydrates on their rate of conversion to glucose within the body. Higher values are given to foods that cause blood sugar (glucose) levels to rise the most rapidly in the body. Pure glucose is used as a reference point and is given a GI of 100.
Being aware of foods’ Glycemic Index is important because it helps you control your blood sugar levels. Your body performs the best when your blood sugar levels remain constant. If your blood sugar levels are too low, you feel lethargic and/or hungry. However, if your blood sugar levels are too high, your body will most likely release extra insulin, which can cause your blood sugar levels to dip low again. Eating foods with a high GI can cause you to feel more energetic quickly but this is followed by lethargy, fat storage and increased feelings of hunger.
Eating foods with a low GI can help you control your blood sugar levels, which in turn may help you prevent heart disease and certain cancers, improve cholesterol levels, prevent insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes, and achieve or maintain a healthy weight.
Foods that have a low GI include fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, free-range organic meats, nuts and seeds, and fish.