low-gi dietDiabetics use it for blood sugar control. Athletes depend on it for peak sports performance. It even helps promote weight-loss in overweight people by slowing digestion and delaying hunger pangs. Nutritionist Sarina Lococo explains why the Glycemic Index (GI) is such an important scientific discovery.

It's called the glycemic index or the GI factor and it is simply a ranking of goods based on their effect on blood sugar or glucose levels. A new concept of classifying carbohydrates in particular, the GI factor was first developed in 1981 by Dr David Jenkins. As a professor of nutrition at the University of Toronto Canada, he helped determine what were the best foods for diabetics.

Medical researchers and scientists around the world including Australian authors of the book The New Glucose Revolution, Professor Jennie Brand Miller, Dr Stephen Colagiuri and Kaye Foster-Powell have since then, spoken about how the Glycemic Index of your diet can be applied to sports performance, weight reduction, diabetes control and heart disease prevention.

CARBOHYDRATES WERE NOT CREATED EQUAL

Carbohydrate foods like bread, cereals, pasta and rice, fruit and vegetables, sugars and confectionery have traditionally been classified in terms of how complicated their structure is. Hence, the well-known concept of 'simple' and 'complex' carbohydrates. Scientists now want us to forget about these terms as they tell us nothing about how carbohydrates behave in the body. In fact, we had it all wrong when we assumed complex carbohydrates such as starches like rice and potato were slowly digested and absorbed. Similarly, it was believed simple sugars digested and absorbed quickly. Not so, according to the GI factor.