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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Why is the Glycemic Index important?

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  • 2

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    Rebecca Charlotte Reynolds, PhD (Dr Bec) Personable and ethical registered nutritionist (RNutr) and lecturer at UNSW Australia in lifestyle and health. Regular consultant to the … View Profile

    The glycemic index (GI) is very important when eating carbohydrate-containing foods and a useful tool in disease prevention and management, e.g. diabetes. Lower GI foods are processed more slowly than high GI foods - a good thing! Slower processing means slower and lower increases - as well as no big decreases - in your blood carbohydrate (glucose) levels. More steady blood glucose levels are easier on the pancreas' production of insulin or the amount of insulin you have to inject if you have advanced Type 2 or Type 1 diabetes, molecular damage - e.g. to blood vessel walls, hunger and fullness (less hunger and more fullness), etc - lots of benefits.

    This website provides great information, including a database where you can find low GI foods and recipes for low GI meals:
    http://www.glycemicindex.com/

    Thanks, Dr Bec

  • Samantha Ling

    Dietitian, Nutritionist

    Samantha is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD), consultant and food and nutrition enthusiast. Samantha works in a private practice on the Central Coast, NSW, Rostant … View Profile

    The glycemic index (aka GI) simply refers to how quickly a food is digested (broken down by our body) over a 2 hour period and is given a ranking. A high GI food is very quickly broken down, which can be seen by a rapid increase in our blood sugar levels. On the other hand, low GI foods break down slowly causing a gradual increase in our blood sugar levels that lasts longer. Essentially, keeping you fuller for longer.

    In the treatment for diabetics, weight management, polycystic ovarian syndrome, insulin resistance and cardiovasular disease this process becomes very important for controlling blood sugar levels, ensuring weight loss, lowering insulin levels and regulating hormones and minimising the risk of heart disease. New evidence released last year by Professor Jennie Brand-Miller has actually suggested that the glycemic load of a food may actually have a more direct impact on heart disease than saturated fat.

    An Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD) can assist with implementing a nutritious low GI diet. It can often be quite confusing as just because a food is stated as low GI does not necessarily mean that it is a nutritious option.

    Samantha Ling
    Rostant Nutrition
    (Find us in facebook at www.facebook.com/rostantnutrition )

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