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What is Gi?

The fuss about Carbohydrate

Flick through a newspaper and it isn't surprising to see the latest trend in carbohydrate - "avoid wheat", "starchy foods are fattening", or "pasta is the best food ever invented". How do you know what's best? Is this conflicting advice or do the experts agree? Well, let's review some of the issues here.

When you eat carbohydrate foods (such as bread, potatoes, pasta, cereals and sugary foods), the body digests it and converts it to glucose (sugar); this can then be used for energy. As the carbohydrate gets digested to glucose, the glucose level in your blood rises. In other words, each time you eat a carbohydrate food, the blood glucose level in your body rises.

We know different foods cause the blood glucose to rise at different speeds. Some carbs (carbohydrate foods) cause quick and sharp rises in your blood glucose levels and these are best kept to a minimum. Other foods cause a slow and gradual rise in blood glucose level; these can help you lose weight. So the speed at which carbohydrate foods are digested plays an important part in losing weight and to our overall health, as we will now see.

The Glycaemic Index

The Glycaemic Index (Gi) is simply a ranking of foods based on the speed at which they raise blood glucose levels. Each food is given a number:

The main thing to remember is that a low Gi food is digested slowly and causes a slow and steady rise (and fall) in blood glucose. Slower digestion helps to make you feel full for longer and delay hunger pangs.

So, is it simply a matter of knowing your Gis?

The Gi only tells you how quickly or slowly a food raises blood glucose when it's eaten. But foods with a high Gi are not bad foods. Compare potato crisps, which have a medium Gi to a baked potato, which has been shown to have a high Gi. Interestingly, white pitta bread has a lower Gi than wholemeal bread - could you ever have guessed that? And some biscuits and cakes have a lower Gi than bread - does this mean we should fill up on these?

The key to using Gi successfully in weight loss is to get the right mix of foods. This will not only ensure more stable blood glucose levels, it will also take into account the calorie value of the foods and help you obtain the wide variety of nutrients needed for overall good health. And this is the uniqueness of the GiP System. The revolutionary way to choose the right carbs and stay in shape forever. And this diet programme has another plus - it boasts the support of some of the best-kept motivation secrets and willpower boosters.

Is Gi on a food label?

Not yet. Gi on it's own is not that helpful as we have explained above. Some low Gi foods can be high in fat so the glycaemic index value on a label may be counter-productive.

However, the good news is that the GiP system, which does take other factors into account, could be something that manufacturers take on board, since it allows consumers to make more of an informed choice.

There are Gi values of foods from brands such as Kellogg's, Ryvita and Nesquick but since the Gi value alone is not very helpful, it would not be appropriate for these manufacturers to use Gi on a label on it own. Supermarkets such as Sainsbury's have taken the Gi message on board by putting a leaflet together on the subject. Tesco, it appears, is looking into putting Gi on their labels. So who knows where the GiPs will end up?

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