What you need to know about GI (Glycemic Index), Nigerian foods and their glycemic index, Glycemic index table of Nigerian foods.
Glycemic index list food items by the rate of its influence on blood sugar level. It is different from caloric content because while caloric content shows the amount of energy present in a given food in(kcal), the Glycemic Index ranks foods according to their effect on your blood glucose level.
Foods with a high GI, such as white bread and short-grained white rice, are converted almost immediately to blood sugar, causing your blood sugar levels to spike rapidly.
Glycemic index provides information about the rate in which glucose is absorbed by the body using a scoring system of 0 to 100. Pure sugar has a GI score of 100. Carbohydrates are classified into simple and complex sugars.
Our normal table sugar, sweets,icecream, cake icing are simple sugars with a very high glycemic index. Legumes(beans),yam,and grains are complex sugars. Experts once believed that complex carbohydrates were less likely to cause blood glucose spikes, however further research found that the relationship between carbohydrates and blood glucose is more complex.
GI accounts for the complexity by ranking food on how quickly the increase blood sugar. The higher a food GI is, the more rapidly it increases blood glucose followed by rapid decline in blood glucose. As the blood sugar declines one maybe hungry again. Food with high GI can cause overeating leading to weight gain and other complications. Research has it that eating diets with low GI can reduce a person’s risk of developing diabetes and heart diseases.
The GI scores are as follows:
●low GI foods; less than 55
●medium GI foods; 56-69
●high GI foods; 70 and above.
Common Nigerian foods and their glycemic index
Ofada rice: 50
Plantain: Ripe (54), Unripe (45)
Pounded yam: 61
Sweet potato: 41
White potato: 111
Pap: 56 – 69
Refined foods have no fiber and have a high glycemic index – they are everywhere: white rice, white flour, white bread, pasta, pastries etc.
Whole fruits typically has a lower GI score than fruit juice, due to it’s high fibre contents.
Fibre slows down digestion thereby lowering the total GI of the food.
Some examples of food with low GI include non starchy vegetable such as Irish potatoes, carrots, whole grain pasta(e.g spaghetti), whole wheat, whole wheat bread, legumes (beans,soy beans),whole oat meal among others.
Medium GI foods includes yam,cocoyam, wateryam ,ofada rice (locally made rice), amala, unripe plantain and banana.
Processing increases GI, most processed foods falls under high GI foods examples; wheat meal, white bread, cakes, French fries, potato chips, corn flakes, corn meal parboiled rice, garri fufu, semovita, beverages fizzy drinks.
Some fruit with high GI includes pineapple, apple, citrus, grapes, ripe banana, peach, strawberry among others .
No registered Dietitian (#RDN)will restrict you from any diets except on extreme chronic complications.
Rather it should be about portion control, diet modification and intake moderation.