The Glycemic Index (GI) of Food

The Glycemic Index or GI, is a ranking of carbohydrates from 0 to 100 based on the rise in blood sugar levels after consumption. Foods which contain a low GI have a slower digestion and absorption, giving a greater sense of fullness and sustained energy. 

Following a low GI eating plan is a key treatment in PCOS, as we know that many women are suffering from insulin resistance and need to keep their insulin levels under control. Foods with a high GI are absorbed and digested rapidly, causing a very quick increase in blood sugar levels and that 'crash and burn' feeling where you are hungry again twenty minutes later. We've all been there after a bar of chocolate....

The Glycemic Index Foundation, a not-for-profit health promotion charity supported by the University of Sydney, developed the International GI Index and work tirelessly to promote the benefits of following a low GI lifestyle. It is not a diet. Jennie Brand-Miller is professor of the foundation and one of the world's leading authorities on the glycemic index and has written a number of books on the subject - all are highly recommended for those wanting to follow a low GI lifestyle to manage PCOS. You'll be your very own 'GI Jane' before you know it!



As outlined in Medical SOS, Insulin is a hormone that is critical for the body’s use of glucose as energy. Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body’s cells become resistant to the effects of insulin. That is, the normal response to a given amount of insulin is reduced. As a result, higher levels of insulin are needed in order for insulin to do its job. Unfortunately lots of the carbohydrates we eat are high GI, meaning that they are absorbed really quickly and cause those fast, blood glucose spikes before crashing. Low GI carbohydrates cause a much lower and slower rise in blood glucose levels and therefore, insulin. This helps to sustain energy levels longer, improving mental and physical performance and helping weight loss and the risk of developing other lifestyle related diseases. 

There are three ratings for GI:

Low GI = value 55 or less

Medium GI = value of 56 to 69

High GI = value of 70 or more

Here's a fantastic infographic from The Glycemic Index Foundation that gives you the overall lowdown on why you need to become a 'GI Jane'...