Hugs, sunsets, crispy ciabatta. Just some of life’s greatest pleasures.

In the big world-wide-web world we live in, carbs cop a fair beating. Apparently they can make us put on weight, cause cancer and a multitude of other diseases, make our bodies a fire-pit of inflammation and they seem to be in pretty much ALL the foods! But not all carbs are equal. Read on for the real truth.

What is the GI?

The Glycaemic Index (GI) is a relative measure of the impact a carbohydrate food has on our blood glucose levels.

Carbohydrates with a high GI value are digested, absorbed and metabolised quickly by our body, causing a spike in our blood glucose and insulin levels, followed by a subsequent drop.

Carbohydrates with a low GI value are more slowly digested, absorbed and metabolised. This provides a slower rise in our blood glucose and insulin levels and a sustained release of energy.

The glycaemic index (GI) measures how quickly a carbohydrate-containing food is digested and absorbed into our bloodstream. Foods can be classified as low, medium or high GI depending on how quickly they elevate our blood glucose levels.

Carbohydrates are classified as low, moderate or high GI. The values for each are shown below.

Why does it matter?

Choosing low GI foods has shown benefit for:

  • Managing weight – lower levels of circulating insulin may improve our body’s ability to use fat for fuel
  • Diabetes control – low GI diets can improve blood glucose control
  • Reducing the risk of developing diabetes or insulin resistance
  • Improving cholesterol levels and reducing risk of heart disease
  • Reducing the risk of developing some cancers including endometrial, colorectal and breast cancer
  • Providing sustained release of energy during exercise
  • Improving concentration
  • Reducing fatigue and improving energy levels
  • Reducing circulating insulin and systemic inflammation

That’s a pretty long list. Gee, thanks GI! 

We rarely eat our carbs solo.

Carbohydrates attract friends. Bread and butter. Spaghetti and meatballs. You feel.

We know this, so while the GI measures the change in blood glucose levels by a certain food, the impact of a group of foods, or a meal, on our blood glucose levels is referred to as the glycaemic load (GL). Having large doses of carbohydrate foods in one sitting will increase the blood glucose (and insulin) spike. Pairing carbohydrate foods with sources of protein, fibre or acidic foods can lower the GL of the meal.

Can’t resist that potato?

Do we have news for you!

Cooked and cooled potato, pasta and rice become high in resistant starch – a type of carbohydrate that isn’t broken down and absorbed by our body i.e what goes in goes out (and feeds the good bugs in our gut on their journey).

Potato salad anyone?

For more info on the GI including more GI lowering hacks and cheeky tips AND a comprehensive GI shopping list to help keep your heart glowing with the best carbs for you, get your hands on our OnCore GI guide today!

T A I L O R  Y O U R  P L A T E   |   B U I L D  Y O U R  B E S T  Y O U 

Lauren Atkins

Accredited Practising Dietitian

  1. Barclay A et al. Glycemic index, glycemic load, and chronic disease risk–a meta-analysis of observational studies. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Mar;87(3):627-37.

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