Sugary, high-carb foods have a less-than-ideal reputation primarily due to their low nutritional content or “empty calories.” But did you know these foods also rank high on the glycemic index? That means they can do more damage to your system than just putting your diet in a tailspin. This is where low-glycemic foods come in. Eating a low-glycemic diet not only comes with a range of nutritional benefits, but also may help keep your cholesterol levels in check and potentially even decrease your risk for certain diseases. Here’s a closer look at what it means to eat “low GI.”
What Is Low-Glycemic?
“Low-glycemic” refers to where a food stands on the glycemic index (GI), which measures how much a carbohydrate-containing food raises blood glucose. A food is considered low on the glycemic index if it has a GI value of 55 or less, with 100 representing pure glucose. Low GI foods are digested and metabolized more slowly—and cause a lower and slower rise in blood sugar—than high GI foods.
Benefits of Low-Glycemic
Studies suggest that eating low-glycemic foods can have a variety of benefits, from helping you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight to lowering blood sugar levels to improving cholesterol levels. Developing research has also observed a potential link between low-GI diets and a lower risk for developing heart disease and certain forms of diabetes.
Tips for a Low-Glycemic Diet
To enjoy a diet filled with foods that rank low on the glycemic index, stock up on the following pantry must-haves:
- Fruits, non-starchy veggies (though yams and sweet potatoes are OK), and carrots
- Oatmeal, oat bran, and muesli
- Pasta, barley, and bulgar
- Lentils, legumes, peas, and corn
- 100 percent stone-ground whole wheat bread
Top Low-Glycemic Brands
These heart-healthy companies keep things GI-friendly.
Fuel your adventure with great-tasting, wholesome snacks that are convenient to enjoy on the go. Clif’s wide range of energy bars are all made with sustainable, organic ingredients.
Crunchy Peanut Butter Bars
PB lovers won’t be able to get enough of these nutty bars that include 20 grams of protein to help fuel your workout.
This company believes that kindness can change the world. Every KIND product, from nut bars to granola, is non-GMO, and there’s even a low-sugar line with bars containing 5 grams of sugar or less.
Feeling nutty? This gluten-free, low-glycemic power snack wraps smooth, creamy peanut butter in crunchy whole peanuts and delivers a whopping 12 grams of protein.
Founder Cynthia Tice, a self-confessed chocoholic, realized one could enjoy all the pleasures of a decadent chocolate bar with none of the added sugar. Lily’s Sweets reformulates this beloved indulgence using stevia sweetener instead of refined sugar.
Cut calories by about 25 percent without sacrificing sweetness thanks to this gluten-free, certified Fair Trade chocolate bar that skips the added sugar in favor of plant-based stevia and natural vanilla.
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