New research released this week has confirmed the strong link between a diet high glycemic index (GI), glycemic load (GL) and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2D). The research review, which was published in the peer-reviewed Nutrients journal, is this first of its kind in more than a decade, and is an important reminder of the benefit of a low GI diet.
What is Glycemic index (GI)?
GI is a ranking system that rates carbohydrate-containing foods on a scale of zero-to-100, based on how quickly the food causes blood sugar levels to rise.
Foods with a low GI take longer to be digested and broken down, releasing sugar into the blood at a slower, more sustainable rate. Alternatively, foods with a higher GI value produce a rapid rise in blood sugar, causing these levels to ‘spike’ and then rapidly drop.
Why is it important?
Carbohydrates are an essential part of our diets, but not all carbohydrate foods are equal. Maintaining a healthy low GI diet is proven to aid in stabilising blood sugar levels, reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and, importantly, reduce insulin resistance, the most common cause of type 2 diabetes. By preventing ‘spikes’ in sugar levels, a diet low in GI can help to ensure our energy is better maintained and sustained throughout the day.
According to co-author and Professor of Human Nutrition at the University of Sydney, Professor Jennie Brand-Miller AM, current conventional dietary advice inadequately identifies low GI or GL foods or diets.
“Low GI and GL advice does not conflict with current healthy eating dietary advice and should be applied within the context of healthy food and nutrient-based advice,” Prof Brand-Miller.
Further, accredited practising dietitian and nutritionist, Dr Alan Barclay, Sydney, believes the amount and type of carbohydrates has the biggest impact on blood sugar for those with diabetes or pre-diabetes.
“Being mindful of carbohydrate quality and eating an adequate amount of carbohydrates is paramount to better regulating blood sugar levels, especially for those living with diabetes”.
The release of the report coincides with the relaunch of SunRice’s Low GI range white rice. The SunRice low-GI range includes both white and brown rice. They are the only rice products on the market that have been certified as low GI and are endorsed by the Glycemic Index Foundation as low GI.