Carbs: don’t stop ’em, just swap ’em!

Harness the energy of a low-GI diet and join the fight against diabetes!

Do you cringe at the thought of eating carbohydrates (carbs)? Do you feel guilty reaching for a bread roll or a plate of pasta? Do you avoid carbs for fear they are bad for you?

Try swapping regular carbs for those low in GIycemic Index (GI). 

What is GI? Here are the facts:  

  • GI is a ranking of carbohydrates on a scale from 0 to 100, according to how much they raise blood sugar (glucose) levels after they’re eaten.
  • High GI foods (GI of 70 or above) are quickly digested, absorbed and metabolised and cause fluctuations in blood glucose levels. Low GI foods (GI of 55 or less) are more slowly digested, absorbed and metabolised and cause a lower and slower rise in blood glucose and therefore, usually, lower insulin levels too.
  • Low-GI food products such as some breads, pasta (cooked al dente) and quinoa are higher in protein, fibre and slow-release starches.

Glycemic Index Foundation (GIF) chief executive officer, Kathy Usic, said carbohydrates are an important fuel for our bodies and provide us with energy.

GIF is a member of the Western Sydney Diabetes (WSD) Alliance and a not-for-profit health promotion charity supported by The University of Sydney and Diabetes NSW & ACT.

“It’s all about eating better carbohydrates, not ditching carbs,” Ms Usic said.

“The secret is to eat slow-release carbohydrates, or low-GI foods, which are digested less rapidly by our bodies.

“Research shows that low-GI diets are beneficial for achieving stable blood sugars, which leave you feeling fuller and more energised for longer.

“This is particularly relevant for people living with pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes, as well as anyone who is overweight or obese.”

An article was recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition entitled, “Low-glycemic index diets as an intervention for diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis.”

The findings showed that low-GI diets, in combination with prescribed medications and lifestyle interventions, positively affect blood glucose control and insulin sensitivity, particularly in people with type 2 diabetes. 

Ms Usic said Type 2 diabetes affects more than 1.1 million Australians, with an estimated two million people at high risk of developing the disease.

“Diabetes is a growing problem and our team at GIF were determined to be part of a solution, so we launched the world’s first food brand dedicated to helping prevent type 2 diabetes.

“We wanted to improve the health of Australians not only by educating people about the benefits of ‘better carbohydrates’ and offering a range at local supermarkets, but also funding diabetes prevention and education programs.” 

The profit-for-purpose brand, GiLICIOUS, launched this month with a lower-GI and 25 percent lower carb potato hitting shelves at Woolworths across the State.

A portion of the profits goes back to Australian diabetes education and prevention programs.  

Plans are underway for other low-GI products to be released in coming months.

WSD director, Professor Glen Maberly said healthy diet and lifestyle changes are key in beating the diabetes epidemic.

“Nearly half the population in western Sydney is either affected by, or at risk of developing type 2 diabetes,” said Prof Maberly.

“WSD is thankful to the Glycemic Index Foundation for their support as our Alliance partner and for their work in helping us to beat diabetes together.”

For more information about low GI foods, visit the GIF website. For more information about WSD click HERE.