Understanding The Glycemic Index And “Good” Carbs

Hoping to lose weight? Instead of avoiding carbohydrates completely, consider the glycemic indices of your intake.

If you are trying to manage your weight and are researching how best to improve your diet, you may have read about avoiding carbohydrates, or carbs for short. Carbs are one of the three main classes of food and responsible for fuelling your body with energy. Most carbs are sugars, starches and fibre, and common examples include bread, rice, potatoes and even starchy vegetables. 

Many diet fads focus on reducing your carbohydrate intake because doing so automatically lowers your calorie consumption, forcing your body to burn fats, which store energy. While this can have powerful benefits for some — such as those struggling with severe obesity and/or type 2 diabetes — low-carb diets may not necessarily be healthy, especially if taken to extremes. 

Image Source: Envato Elements, monkeybusiness 

Instead of cutting out carbs completely, a more sustainable approach to healthy weight loss is by considering the glycemic index (GI) of said carbs. Different carbohydrates are digested and absorbed at different rates, and the GI ranks them on a scale of one to 100 based on how quickly and how much they raise our blood glucose levels after eating. 


Low GI (55 or less)

Most fruits and vegetables, beans, minimally processed grains, pasta, low-fat dairy foods, and nuts.

Moderate GI (56 to 69)

White and sweet potatoes, corn, white rice, couscous, breakfast cereals such as Cream of Wheat and Mini-Wheats.

High GI (70 or higher) 

White bread, rice cakes, most crackers, bagels, cakes, doughnuts, croissants, most packaged breakfast cereals.

Source: Harvard Health Publishing

Picking low GI foods can help prevent large spikes in your blood sugar and help in warding off chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and more. An easy way to get started is by swapping out your usual carbs for lower-GI alternatives. Here are some examples:

  • From white rice to brown rice
  • From white bread to wholegrain bread
  • From instant oatmeal to steel-cut oats
  • From corn to peas or leafy greens 

Remember, keeping in your best shape requires both a balanced diet and plenty of rest and exercise. So while improving your diet with low GI foods, don’t forget to get your heart pumping regularly through exercise too!





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