With the net effect of adding excessive amounts of sugar to and removing appreciable amounts of fibre from the mainstream Western diet, changes in food processing over recent decades have created an environment in which our foods are essentially more addictive than they once were.Â And this addiction is possibly a large driver of our society’s overweight and obesity epidemic. The good news is that by steering clear of processed foods and preferring natural, wholefoods, we will likewise minimize many addictive, sugary ‘nasties’ and reinstate much-needed fibre into our diets and reap significant health benefits accordingly.
Most processed foods, high in sugar and low in fibre, have what is referred to as a high Glycaemic Index (GI). High GI foods cause blood sugar levels to surge quickly, causing high levels of insulin to be released into the blood stream. Studies have found that a diet rich in high GI foods is associated with weight gain, obesity and the development of type-2 diabetes.
Lowering your glycaemic load
The best way to lower your glycaemic load is by choosing wholegrain cereals, breads and pasta over highly processed varieties. Include plenty of whole fruit, vegetables and legumes in your diet.
Protein-rich foods and foods that contain fats have a lower GI. You can lower the glycaemic load of a meal by including fibre, protein or good fats with that meal such as fish, chicken, meat, eggs, nuts and seeds, yoghurt and cheese.
Limit high GI foods like processed, sugary breakfast cereals and snacks. Limit dried fruit to small servings and combine with some nuts and seeds to help lower the total glycaemic load.