- High GI = 70+: glucose.
- Mid GI = 56-69: sucrose, cane sugar, white sugar, brown sugar, honey.
- Low GI = <55: fructose, maple syrup, agave syrup, coconut sugar.
The importance of Glycemic Index in our Diet.
According to an article in the medical journal of Australia "Australia is in the throes of an unprecedented epidemic of diabetes and obesity." A study quoted in this article has found that 1 million people in Australia are effected by Diabetes and that obesity is a driving force behind type 2 diabetes, which has cardiovascular and other complications, such as renal failure and blindness. The secret to long-term health; reducing your risk of heart disease and diabetes; and the key to sustainable weight loss is eating a diet that contains low GI carbohydrates. We have been able to source several organic and wildcrafted foods from Mexico and Peru that are extremely low GI and play a key role in regulating healthy blood sugar levels. These are delicious and in most cases naturally sweet whole foods that can be incorporated into the daily diet that not only help to maintain healthy blood sugar levels, but also have a whole host of other health benefits.
GI means Glycemic Index, which is a way of measuring the short-term effect of foods on blood sugar. Carbohydrates that break down quickly during digestion and release glucose rapidly into the bloodstream have a high GI; carbohydrates that break down more slowly, releasing glucose more gradually into the bloodstream, have a low GI.
Broadly speaking, low GI foods will give you a long, sustained supply of energy while high GI foods will give you a short, intense burst of energy. All of Loving Earth’s sweeteners are low GI and diabetic friendly: Coconut Sugar has a GI rating of 35, Agave Syrup of <30, Mesquite of 25 and Yacon Syrup an unbelievably low rating of 1.
An interesting insight into the global diabetes epidemic can be seen in the story of the Pima Indians. Living in the area nowadays known as Arizona, their traditional way of life was devastated with the birth of the modern United States. Prior to that the Pima consumed Mesquite as a staple food, milling the pods into a flour to make breads. Sweet and caramel-like, it was consumed in great quantities and the Pima benefitted greatly from its healthy properties. High in protein and containing significant quantities of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc, it’s also rich in the amino acid lysine. When the Pima were taken off their land and forced onto reservations in the mid-to-late 19thcentury, their diet changed dramatically, taking on higher and higher quantities of processed foods. That community now has the highest incidence of diabetes on the planet: 95% of their people suffer from the disease. Why is this? Well, Mesquite has an incredibly low GI and a high mineral content, and the reason why the GI is so low is partly because of that very high mineral content. So although the Pima were used to a very sweet diet, it was nonetheless extremely healthy for them. When they went off this traditional diet, they retained a preference for sweet foods, yet their bodies simply couldn’t cope with white sugar and flour which have a high GI content and are devoid of minerals…the high GI value being partly because these foods are devoid of minerals. Hence, widespread diabetes.
Our basic approach to sweeteners is that no matter what type you use, they’re all concentrated: honey, maple syrup, fruit juice, agave –all of them. Therefore they must be used in moderation. We recommend that people experiment with different healthy sweeteners and tune in to what their own bodies are telling them. If consumed in such a way, they can provide a great enhancement to one’s diet in terms of flavour and enjoyment.