The Glycaemic Index and Healthy Eating

First of all, I just want to say a massive THANK YOU to everyone who has supported my blog so far! I am honestly overwhelmed with the amount of comments and feedback I receive personally from you all. It’s really heartwarming to know that people are enjoying my writing so much. Thank goodness I enjoy writing them ey?

This week I have been thinking a lot about fitness and healthy eating. I thought that seeing as I was on this sort of topic, I would tackle giving advice on Glycaemic Index foods and how it works.

So where to start?

What on Earth is the Glycaemic Index?

Well, the Glycaemic Index is a very useful tool. Not only useful for diabetics (mainly Type 2), but useful information to know in general too!

The Glycaemic Index (also know as GI) tells us how different carbohydrate based food and drink are digested and absorbed and whether they raise your blood glucose levels, quickly, moderately or slowly. The GI works in a very easy and efficient way that is measured on a scale of 0 – 100 (ish).

  • Low GI foods are digested and absorbed slowly and have a GI rating of 55 and below. Examples of low GI foods are: vegetables, basmati rice, bread and most fruits.
  • Medium GI foods are digested and absorbed moderately and have a GI rating of 56 – 69. Examples of medium GI foods are: biscuits, muesli, Christmas pudding and profiteroles.
  • High GI food are digested and absorbed quickly and have a GI rating of 70 – 100. Glucose has the highest rating of 100. Examples of high GI foods are: baguette, chips, potato wedges and fruit gums.

Through research it has been found that low GI foods can particularly help to manage glucose levels in Type 2 Diabetes, but less evidence has been found for Type 1. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it would be harmful to follow a more balanced GI diet.

Saying that, not all low GI foods are necessarily healthy ones! Chocolate is measured as a low GI food and other foods such as custard tarts area measured with a GI of 34 and a steak and kidney pie at a GI of 45! Foods with a high fat content do tend to have a low GI rating, so you do need to be careful not to choose too many of these foods as it’s obviously not going to be a very healthy balance.

Obviously alcohol is rated with a high GI. Wine averages at around 70. No wonder people get drunk so quickly when alcohol is absorbed into the system so imminently.

You can adjust the overall GI of a meal by combining different GI rated foods and this can also be adjusted through other factors, such as; how the food is cooked, whole grains and high fibre foods, fat content and protein content.

Controlling your diet isn’t based solely on GI ratings. What is more important is how much carbohydrate you are consuming and whether you are eating too much of it. Carbohydrates are the worst for sending your blood sugar all over the shop and for putting on weight. As a healthy diet is recommended to every one, excessive carbs are not a good idea. You just need a healthy balance of all the different food types, which goes without saying really.

What is the recommended ratio of food types?

According to the NHS and the Eatwell Guide the recommended daily intake of calories from all food and drink for an adult woman is 2000 and for an adult man, 2500.

The Eatwell Guide suggests the following:

  • Eat at least five portions of a variety fruit and vegetables a day.
  • Base meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates (Choose wholegrain where possible).
  • Eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other protein. Aim for at least two portions of fish every week, one of which should be oily such as salmon or mackerel.
  • Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and eat in small amounts.
  • Eat foods high in fat, sugar and salt less often and in small amounts.
  • Drink plenty of fluids – the government recommends 6-8 cups/glasses a day.

You can find out more information and download the Eatwell Guide here:

Anything to further help weightloss?

As I’ve mentioned in a previous blog, I really find that the My Fitness Pal app is extremely helpful for balancing food ratios and especially for carb counting for my Diabetes. When you set up the app you can set a goal for yourself to lose weight (if that’s what you want to use the app for). This is based off your current weight and height. The app sets you an achievable calorie count for the day in order to help you lose weight safely. It also takes into account how many calories you burn through exercise.

If you really want to see a clear breakdown of everything you are eating and how much of what you have consumed, there is a Nutrition button that allows you to see just that. On this page it shows a pie chart of how many calories you have consumed in each meal and which is the highest and lowest, a list of protein, carbohydrates, fibre, sugar and fat which is then broken down into types of fats, sodium, vitamin c etc and a pie chart of your daily consumption ratio of carbohydrates, fat and protein.

Overall an amazing app which really does help keep track of my calorie intake. It really does make you aware of just how many calories are in things and what you are actually putting into your body. It’s so easy to binge.

FYI green tea has zero calories, so drink away!





Published by diabetesandtheactor

Actress, singer and type 1 diabetic.

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