5 easy ways to choose low GI foods

Using the glycemic index (GI) may help prevent blood sugar spikes and reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes. But if keeping track of the numbers makes you dizzy, following a few simple rules can also keep your blood sugar in shape

5 easy ways to choose low GI foods

Source: Adapted from Food Cures (Reader’s Digest); available in the Best Health Shop now.

Don’t worry about fruits and vegetables (with a few exceptions)

Most produce contains only modest amounts of carbohydrate per serving. What’s more, much of the sugar in fruit is fructose, a form that doesn’t cause blood sugar to rise.

Eat fewer root vegetables

Here’s the major exception to the first rule: Go easy on the potatoes, parsnips and other starchy root vegetables. Starch contains more glucose than pure sugar, so it causes a rapid rise in blood sugar levels. These exceptions have their own exceptions, however: Carrots and sweet potatoes contain soluble fibre, which lowers their ratings on the glycemic index.

Choose your other starches wisely

Face it, you’re not going to give up bread, but you can select better varieties. Most white bread, for instance, has a high rating on the glycemic index (an exception is sourdough, which has a high acid content and slows digestion). Look for hearty-looking whole-grain breads, not whole-wheat breads that essentially look like white bread. If you’re choosing between rice and pasta, take the latter; its starch breaks down more gradually.

Eat more fibre

Especially look for soluble fibre, which causes blood sugar to rise gradually by slowing digestion. That’s why oats, barley, apples and some berries, and legumes tend to have low GI values.

Avoid sugary foods

The truth is, many types of soft drinks and candy have only a moderately high GI value, not the sky-high one you’d expect, since sugar digests more slowly than pure glucose. But this is one form of moderation you can do without, since sugary foods provide empty calories and little else.

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