Factors That Affect GI Levels in Food

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There are some specific factors to consider in foods that can indicate their glycaemic index: Low glycaemic foods contain fat, protein, fibre, whole grains, raw starches, legumes, vegetables, fruits and dairy products. High glycaemic foods contain refined grains, refined sugars, and increased amylopectin: amylose ratio.

There are other factors that contribute to a food’s glycaemic index, such as plant variety, ripeness, food processing, cooking method, and the other foods served with it.

Fats and fibres are able to lower the GI of foods. Generally, the more cooked or processed food is, the higher the GI, but it can vary due to certain factors.

The following are a few examples:

Ripeness – Fruits and vegetable that are riper tend to have higher GI levels.
Processing – Taking whole fruits instead of juices, baked potatoes instead of mashed potatoes, both can help to prevent the GI from rising. Cooking methods – For example, how long the food is cooked. The less cooked the food is, the lower the GI.

Cooking Methods that Raises Glycaemic Index
Changes in blood glucose levels after a meal are determined by the ratio of dietary carbohydrate and digestive enzymes, and the presence of other dietary factors, like fats and fibres, which are able to slow down carbohydrate digestion. Cooking methods that add heat to a grain or breaks apart a grain will increase the GI as it makes the dietary carbohydrates available for digestive enzymes.

Cooking Methods that Lower Glycaemic Index
Adding fats and fibres into your diet will be able to slow down carbohydrate digestion and absorption, thus lowering GI. For instance, sautéing potatoes in olive oil will lower the GI as it adds fats and to the starchy potatoes carbohydrate. Slow-cooking methods, such as baking and steaming will result in lower GI levels when compared against boiling and microwaving. Retaining the potato’s skin will add some fibre which then lowers the impact of the potato starch on blood glucose levels.

Taking in mind, no matter what sort of cooking methods used, some dietary carbohydrates, such as potatoes and grains, tend to have higher GI than others. The GI of any food is directly linked to your body’s ability to digest and absorb carbohydrates. These numbers will vary according to the health situations of individuals. For example, those with diabetes. It would be better to talk to your dietitians before you start planning your diet.

  1. Don’t overcook your food
  2. Choose less processed and whole foods
  3. Choose foods with high soluble fibre content (like Apples, beans and oats)

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