Food for Thought

Choose tricklers not gushers
Because there have been inconsistent findings from observational studies, the controversy over the effects of GI and the risk of lifestyle diseases has had that ‘how long is a piece of string quality’ about it.

The first meta-analysis to evaluate the association between the GI of the diet, and the risk of developing common lifestyle-related diseases, was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in March and provides additional evidence that diets with a high GI or a high GL will increase your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. It also shows there is evidence for links between high blood glucose and gallstones and even some types of cancer. ‘The key message,’ says lead author Alan Barclay, ‘is that the GI of your diet is a predictor of your disease risk. Grandma was right, you are what you eat.’


Low GI foods (the ones that trickle glucose into your bloodstream) have benefits for everybody. Not only can they keep you feeling full longer, they help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight and provide you and your brain with more consistent energy throughout the day. They can also have a major effect on the way the body functions and whether or not you develop health problems. Alan Barclay explains why: ‘If you have constantly high blood glucose levels from eating a high GI diet, you may literally “wear out” your pancreas over time and eventually this can lead to pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes.’

‘There’s also evidence from the studies that have been done that high blood glucose levels are linked to certain types of cancer, as well. This is because constant spikes in blood glucose from eating high GI gushers cause the body to release more insulin, and also increase a related substance called insulin like growth factor one (IGF-1). Both these hormones increase cell growth and decrease cell death, and have been shown to increase the risk of developing some types of cancer.’

‘Other research shows that a high GI diet tends to reduce “good” HDL cholesterol levels and raise triglycerides levels; bad news for cardiovascular diseases. And people with low HDL cholesterol and high triglyceride levels are more prone to gallstones.’

‘What it comes down to is that there’s a simple, cost-effective way for everybody to reduce their risk of developing diabetes and heart disease and enhance their quality of life. We all need to eat a healthy, low GI diet. I guess that simply means when it comes to carb-rich foods, choose the tricklers and reduce the overall GI of your diet.’

10 tips for reducing the GI of your diet


Two extra tips to reduce blood glucose spikes