Is it im­por­tant to choose low GI foods?

South Waikato News - - Your Health -

Email your ques­tions for Dr Libby to ask.dr­libby@fair­fax­me­dia.co.nz. Please note, only a selection of ques­tions can be an­swered. be­gin to see how they fail to take into ac­count the way that other things we con­sume along­side car­bo­hy­drates might af­fect the way our body re­sponds to them, as well as the nu­tri­tional value that par­tic­u­lar foods of­fer us.

Both GI and GL are af­fected by the pro­tein, fat and fi­bre con­tent of a meal, as they all slow down the re­lease of glu­cose into the blood and hence the re­quire­ment for in­sulin – so when com­bined with pro­tein, fat and fi­bre, a highgi food is un­likely to reach our blood­stream in the same way.

Con­sider a piece of choco­late cake that you might buy from a bak­ery – many of them are low GI (due to their poor-qual­ity fat con­tent) and, if we chose ‘‘healthy’’ foods this way, they would be a ‘‘good’’ op­tion. Yet they con­tain high lev­els of re­fined sug­ars, poor-qual­ity fats, vir­tu­ally no nu­tri­ents and are high GL. In other words, the GI can be highly mis­lead­ing if that is all you use to guide your car­bo­hy­drate choices.

It has also been shown that the way a par­tic­u­lar food or meal is metabolised and how it im­pacts blood glu­cose lev­els can vary sig­nif­i­cantly from per­son to per­son. So the GI value of a food may not even be an ac­cu­rate in­di­ca­tion of how it will im­pact your blood glu­cose lev­els.

It’s no won­der peo­ple feel con­fused and over­whelmed at times about di­etary in­for­ma­tion! For­tu­nately, we stop need­ing con­cepts like this when we sim­ply eat whole, real foods. So rather than fo­cus­ing on the GI, I’d en­cour­age you to embrace the state­ment ‘‘just eat real food’’.

Just us­ing a gly­caemic in­dex can be mis­lead­ing. A piece of choco­late cake could be low on the GI scale, yet have a high gly­caemic load.

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