I’ve already mentioned in my post “PCOS weight loss diet plan” that it’s important to eat low GI foods to heal PCOS symptoms and lose weight. The lower index of the food the less it causes blood sugar raises and insulin spikes. And that’s what we really want with PCOS.
But how to follow a Low-Glycemic Diet? What foods to eat and to avoid? What is the difference between glycemic Index and glycemic
I will cover all these topics in this post. So stay tuned! 🙂
What is a Low-Glycemic diet?
In short, this is a diet that includes meals with a low glycemic index (GI). The glycemic index (GI) shows how different foods a
There are 3 categories of the
- Low: 55 or less
- Medium: 56–69
- High: 70 or more
Obviously, to follow a low-glycemic diet you have to focus on foods with low and medium GI.
To know the numbers for any foods you can use different GI tables here:
The measurements are roughly estimated. That’s why sometimes you can see different numbers for the same products. But this database still gives a good idea of what foods to eat on a Low-glycemic diet.
But I will also share a low-glycemic diet food list with the most popular products at the end of this article. Don’t forget to check it out!
Foods with a low-GI value are the preferred choice, as they are slowly digested and absorbed, causing a slower and smaller rise in blood sugar levels.
Keep in mind that only carbohydrates have the
That’s why many women with PCOS have success with the keto diet, because it almost doesn’t contain carbs, and therefore – no need to worry about the
But most nutritionists still consider keto unbalanced as our body needs all the nutrients. And when you try to heal PCOS, it’s very important to maintain a healthy balanced diet which contains complex carbs as well as fats and protein.
So don’t cut off carbs completely. Just learn which ones have low GI and are beneficial for you. And which ones are better to be avoided.
The difference between the glycemic index (GI) and the glycemic load (GL)
It’s important to understand that not only glycemic index of carbs affect your blood sugar level, but also the amount of carbs you eat. This is why you need to know about the glycemic load (GL). Glycemic Load combines both the quantity and quality of carbohydrates.
The formula for calculating the GL of a particular food or meal is:
Glycemic Load = GI x Carbohydrate (g) content per portion ÷ 100.
The GL has three categories:
- Low: 10 or less
- Medium: 11–19
- High: 20 or more
Of course, calculating all the food you eat may not be practical for everyone. But if you want to know how your staple meals affect your blood sugar, you can use this formula to figure it out.
Knowing the GL of a food is a better indicator of whether that food will cause your blood sugar to spike. For example, watermelon has a high GI but by calculating the GL of 1 cup watermelon we see than it won’t cause blood sugar spikes as its load is low. So as long as you don’t eat lots and lots of watermelon at once, it is okay
That’s why in my free 7-day Low-carb Meal Plan I mostly focus not on the number of carbs but on their quantity and quality. Let’s say, chia and blueberries have a decent amount of carbs but they won’t affect insulin levels as they have low GI and GL.
How to follow a Low-Glycemic diet?
The GI of a food or meal is influenced by many factors such as the type of sugar, level of ripeness, pairing with other foods, cooking method. That’s why there are some tricks you can use to decrease the GI of meals and prevent insulin spikes.
– Always choose less processed foods. The more processed a food is the higher its GI. Processing can include grinding, cutting, rolling
– Generally, the longer you cook your food, the higher glycemic index it has. It becomes easier to digest and the sugars will be released faster. For example, if you cook pasta you want it to be undercooked a little.
It’s also better to avoid cooked fruits and choose raw fruits instead to reap the benefits.
– If you pair your carbs with fat and acid it will help to lower GI. You can use it to your advantage. For example, if you want to eat an apple, choose a green sour one and add a tablespoon of peanut butter to it (or any nuts and seeds). This way you balance the meal by adding fat so it won’t create such insulin response as if you eat a sweet apple alone.
Adding avocado, nuts and seeds, coconut oil, apple cider vinegar and sauerkraut to your meals is always a good idea. Just make it a habit.
– Sprinkle fruits with cinnamon/ground flaxseeds which is very helpful in balancing blood sugar levels.
– The presence of any viscous fiber accompanying the carbohydrate. This increases the viscosity of the contents of the intestines, slowing down the interaction between digestive enzymes and starch and so slowing digestion e.g. barley, oats.
For the same reason it’s not the best idea to consume fruit juices. They lack all the fiber and would spike blood sugar levels.
– If you love sweet fruits such as bananas, apples, pears
– You can reduce the high glycemic index of your meals by combining them with some low GI foods. Usually, a complex meal full of different vegetables, fats, protein
Knowing all that, you can make a low-glycemic diet easier to stick to. Just try to focus on the foods from the low-glycemic diet food list below. But when you eat something with a higher GI, make sure you implement the tips to lower Glycemic Load of your meal.
Low-glycemic diet food list
If you want to check the GI and GL of your favorite foods, you can go to the University of Sydney GI database and check it there.
I’ve created this table with the most popular fruits, vegetables
|FRUITS (g)||GI |
|Sour cherries (120)||22||3|
|Banana unripe (120)||30||6|
|Passion fruit (120)||30||6|
|Banana ripe (120)||46||12|
|Sweet cherries (120)||62||6|
The winners here are sour cherries, plum, grapefruit, oranges, raspberries
But I would say that most fresh fruits & berries are good for you as long as you eat them in small portions because the majority of foods in this table are low in GL.
|VEGETABLES (g)||GI |
|Spinach/leafy greens (1 cup)||0||0|
|Celery (1 cup)||0||0|
|Radishes, mushrooms, cabbage, cauliflower||10||0|
|Zucchini, Asparagus, Eggplant, |
Cucumber, Tomato (1 cup)
|Green peas (80)||39||3|
|Peppers (1 cup)||40||5|
|Sweet potato (150)||46||15|
|Sweet corn (80)||48||8|
The winners here are leafy greens and non-starchy veggies. But almost all veggies here are low GI and you can eat them a lot. Only beets, pumpkins
And, of course, regular potatoes. You can make them less harmful if boil with skin and refrigerate for 24 hours prior to eating. I use this method as I am such a lover of potatoes 🙂 But as a general rule, most of the time you have to avoid white potatoes and eat non-starchy veggies instead.
|BEANS / GRAINS / NUTS (g)||GI |
|Soya beans (150)||15||1|
|Whole peas (150)||22||2|
|Kidney beans (150)||28||7|
|Butter beans (150)||30||6|
|Black-eyed beans (150)||42||12|
|Black rice (150)||42||14|
|Rolled oats (150)||47||10|
|Wild rice (150)||53||12|
Most beans, chickpeas and lentils are great for low GI diet. The same can be said for nuts/seeds. As for the grains, they are close to a medium glycemic load so it’s better to eat them in small portions (which will be different for everybody) and always pair them with vegetables and some protein.
Of course, there are some other foods that aren’t included, but we had to stop somewhere. You can always check the links I provided above to find certain foods you are interested in.
As a recap, to be healthy and improve PCOS symptoms you have to consider low GI (and GL) foods as your main options. It’s okay to eat high GI meals occasionally. We all humans here. But just be mindful – choose smaller portions and try to pair carbs with lean protein and healthy fats as well as with acid dressings in order to lower glycemic load.
Keep your diet (and life) well-balanced. You can eat any wholefoods to provide your body with all the nutrients it needs. Even if you are diabetic or have PCOS, don’t eliminate fruits and berries. The key is to eat a wide variety of foods to keep your body toxin-free and anti-inflammatory. That’s why a strict keto diet is not the best for PCOS. You need fruits and complex carbs to get all the benefits for your health.
So follow a Low-Glycemic Diet, eat as clean as possible, choose wholefoods and you will improve your health and quality of life.
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