Is it important to choose low GI foods?
Email your questions for Dr Libby to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.