You may have heard of the Glycemic Index. It’s often referenced by nutritionists, dieticians and weight loss programs. But what is it?

The Glycemic Index (GI) provides a measure for how quickly blood sugar rises after eating a particular food item. This is important to measure because if you feed your body more sugar that is required it will convert the sugar into fat and you will gain weight.

Sugar is contained in carbohydrates and processed foods. Carbohydrates are necessary for a healthy diet, but not all carbs are created equal. The Glycemic index is important because it offers a guide on what carbohydrates are better than others. Carbohydrates that have a low GI are typically considered to be healthier options. Low GI foods include most fruit and vegetables, and beans, nuts and seeds. In most cases all processed food has a very high GI value and should be avoided.

Understanding the GI value of food is also important if you work out regularly. Restoring glycogen stores after a workout is important for recovery. If you are working out more than once in 24 hours, or for longer than an hour you will want to eat foods that have a higher GI value as they will restore the glycogen faster. If your workout session lasts less than an hour, and you are not working out twice in one day, then low GI valued foods are still your best option.