Get Energised With GI

Nutrition // Chantelle Curtis-Latchford // 5 September 2014

This is the secret to finding that extra get-up-and-go you need to succeed!

It’s no surprise that what you eat has a direct influence on your energy levels. If you’ve heard of “eating low GI” then you’ll already know that the secret to beating hunger pains and staying energised is based on the glycaemic index (GI).

Check it out and use it to help you be a high-achieving 12WBTer!

What is GI?

The glycaemic index is a measure of how quickly a food that contains carbohydrate makes your blood sugar levels rise.

Foods with a high GI quickly absorb into your body, resulting in a burst of energy. But this burst can be short-lived and is often followed by a slump. The lower the GI of a food, the more gradual the burst, which means more sustained energy throughout the day. So a slow burn can help you feel motivated for longer!

As a massive bonus, the rise in blood sugar levels makes you feel fuller for longer, so it puts off distracting cravings for snacks and a growling stomach!

How is it Worked Out?

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GI is measured on a scale of 0 to 100. Foods with a high GI have a measure between 70-100, moderate GI foods are between 55-70 and low GI foods have a reference range of less than 55. The GI of a food is worked out by how quickly 50g of carbohydrates in a food raises your blood sugar levels.

Using the GI is a way to make smart food choices but, if you want to get specific, you can also use a measure known as the glycaemic load (GL). The glycaemic load of a food takes into account how much of a food is actually consumed and it’s GI. This is worked out by multiplying the carbohydrate content of the actual serving by the foods GI and dividing the number by 100. A food has a low GL if the value is less than 10 and a high GL if it is 20 or more.

For example: Beetroot has a GI of 64, placing it in the moderate GI category. Many vegetables have a low GI, so does this make beetroot not as good a choice? GI is often worked out by measuring 50g of carbohydrates in a food. For beetroot this would be around seven whole fresh beetroots!

So if you were to eat one beetroot (which contains about 9g of carbohydrate) this would mean it would have a GL of 6 (9.2g x 64 / 100 = GL of 6).

Eating to Energise!

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Try to include at least one low GI food item each meal. You don’t have to exclude high GI foods altogether, just try to eat more low and moderate GI foods.

Keep an eye out for the Glycemic Index Foundation Certified Low GI symbol on products as it means they’ve had their GI reliably tested and fit a criteria incorporating energy, fat, sodium and fibre content.

Simple Low GI Swaps

Try these low GI swaps to help get the most sustainable energy from your food.

Swap This …                                                                  For This

White rice                                                                     Basmati rice

Regular potatoes                                                         Carisma potato or Sweet potato

White and wholemeal bread                                         Wholegrain bread

Processed breakfast cereals                                        Rolled oats or natural untoasted muesli

Rice crackers                                                                 Wholegrain or rye crackers

Other low GI foods:

–        Dairy products

–        Beans and legumes, such as chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils

–        Fruits, such as peaches, apples, pears, oranges, strawberries, prunes

Vegetables, such as peas, corn, carrots, broccoli, mushrooms

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Meet the Author, Chantelle Curtis-Latchford

After meeting someone who has a Master of Science (Nutrition and Dietetics) with distinctions and who lives by the mantra 'Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live', it's refreshing to discover that Chantelle has a weakness for chocolate. She's the first to admit that no one's perfect, but aiming to be the best version of yourself is wonderful motivation. She keeps fit on four legs and loves horse riding. Read author's full story here

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