So, what is GI? The glycemic index is a ranking of carbs on a scale from 0 - 100, in regard to the extent to which they raise blood sugar levels after you eat. Foods with high GI are rapidly digested, absorbed and metabolized by the body, and result in substantial fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Low GI carbs produce smaller fluctuations in your blood and glucose levels, AKA they're much healthier for you! Research scientists and dieticians working in the GI field are certain that low GI diets are key to long-term health, reducing your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. It is also one of the keys to maintaining weight loss. And there is evidence!
An analysis of 28 randomized controlled trials provided high-level evidence that high-fiber, low GI diets can significantly reduce total and LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels, independent of weight loss.
All of the evidence based recommendations for the management of diabetes from the major diabetes organizations around the world (the American Diabetes Association; Canadian Diabetes Association and Diabetes UK for example) now advise people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes to use the GI as part of the nutritional management of their condition.
In their relatively recent guidelines, Initiative on gestational diabetes mellitus: A pragmatic guide for diagnosis, management, and care, the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics have recommended a focus on lower GI foods. “Low GI diets are associated with less frequent insulin use and lower birth weight than in control diets, suggesting that it is the most appropriate dietary intervention to be prescribed to patients with GDM,” they say.
The Diogenes study from Europe found that a moderately high protein, low GI diet is the best for longer-term weight management. The proof is in the (sugar-free) pudding!