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Not Everything Is The Higher The Better – Glycemic Index, Low Profile But Vital (Part 1)

We eat carbohydrates every day. Most of us know that carbohydrate is the main energy source for us to carry out our daily activities. However, do you know what glycemic index (GI) is? I believe many Malaysians are not aware that the glycemic index is a very useful guideline for us to choose carbohydrates wisely for our long-term health. Similar to ranking for rich persons, there is a ranking for carbohydrates – glycemic index (GI). This ranking has a scale (or the so-called GI scores) from 0 to 100, which indicates how quick or slow the carbohydrate raises blood sugar level after eating it.

The higher the glycemic index (GI) score, the faster the blood sugar level is raised. The chart below shows the GI categories, GI scores and examples of food.

Source: Ministry of Health, Malaysia, 2015.

However, the GI scores are not shown on the food label. So how to choose foods wisely according to GI? Here are some tips for you:

  1. You can try to memorize the chart above.
  2. You can download and keep this chart in your smartphone so that you can refer when you go for groceries.
  3. You can print out this chart and paste it inside the phone casing or keep it in your wallet. With that, you can refer when needed.
  4. You can always add fiber-rich foods in your meals because they are always low in GI.  

In conclusion, glycemic index is not something the higher the better. Even though the awareness of choosing foods according to glycemic index is still quite low in Malaysia, no doubt the glycemic index is very important for us to be healthier. To be continued…

Ministry of Health, Malaysia.

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