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Low Glycemic Index Diet

Who is this for?

You may want to consider incorporating aspects of the Low Glycemic Index diet if you have diabetes or pre-diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or obesity. Before starting any special diet talk to a nutrition professional.

What is this diet about?

The glycemic index (GI) is a measure that ranks foods according to their effect on your blood sugar levels.

Foods with a low-glycemic index value are the preferred choice, as they are slowly digested and absorbed, causing a slower and smaller rise in blood sugar levels.

On the other hand, foods with a high glycemic index value should be limited since they are quickly digested and absorbed, resulting in a rapid rise and fall of blood sugar levels.

It is important to note that foods are only assigned a GI value if they contain carbohydrates. Hence, foods containing no carbs, such as beef, chicken, fish, eggs, herbs and spices, won’t be found on GI lists.

*if you have diabetes and are experiencing hypoglycemia please refer to interventions recommended by your doctor or dietitian NOT this list.

*This list is not meant to treat high or low glucose levels but to guide everyday food choices to keep weight and glucose stable.

Food/drink to avoid all the time: cakes, cookies, candy, ice cream, juice, soda, sweet tea, jam, syrup

Focus on low Glycemic Index snacking, especially before bed:

  • Bread: Whole grain, multigrain, rye and sourdough varieties

  • Breakfast cereals: Porridge made with rolled oats, bircher muesli and All-Bran

  • Fruit: apples, strawberries, apricots, peaches, plums, pears and kiwi

  • Vegetables: carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, tomatoes and zucchini

  • Starchy vegetables: Carisma and Nicola potato varieties, sweet potatoes with an orange flesh, corn, yams

  • Legumes: lentils, chickpeas, baked beans, butter beans, kidney beans

  • Pasta and noodles: Pasta, soba noodles, vermicelli noodles, rice noodles

  • Rice: Basmati, Doongara, long-grain and brown rice

  • Grains: Quinoa, barley, pearl couscous, buckwheat, freekeh, semolina

  • Dairy: cheese, yogurt, custard, soy milk, almond milk

The following foods contain few or no carbohydrates and therefore do not have a GI value. These foods can be included as part of a low-GI diet:

These foods tend to be higher in fat so are a great way to add calories to your meals and snacks if you are looking to gain weight. These foods should not be avoided if you are looking to lose weight. Consider engaging a nutrition professional to personalize these recommendations.

  • Meat: beef, chicken, pork, lamb and eggs

  • Fish and seafood: salmon, trout, tuna, sardines and prawns

  • Nuts: almonds, cashews, pistachios, walnuts and macadamia nuts

  • Fats and oils: olive oil, rice bran oil, butter and margarine

  • Herbs and spices: salt, pepper, garlic, basil and dill

Low Glycemic Index snack ideas:

* all options below should be served with a glass of water

1. An apple with the skin

2. Whole wheat crackers with peanut butter

3. Baby carrots dipped in hummus

4. Handful of walnuts or almonds

5. Full fat plain yogurt with fresh fruit

6. A toasted whole wheat pita with bean dip

7. Edamame (soybeans) with salt

8. Air-popped popcorn with butter and salt

9. Dried apricots (no more than 1/3 cup)

10. A hard-boiled egg

What is your favorite low glycemic snack?

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