The GI Factor

For sustained energy you need to eat foods that have a low "glycaemic index" (GI) which means that they release energy slowly over time. These foods include certain types of fruit and vegetables, wholegrain foods, pulses, lean animal proteins, yoghurt and milk.

High GI foods include: sugary foods, chips, sweetened breakfast cereals, white bread and baked potatoes. The problem with high GI foods is that they give you a quick energy boost but interfere with your blood sugar levels and eventually send them crashing.

Learning to live by the "80:20 rule" could be the answer - 80% of food should be to maintain your health, and 20% of food for pleasure. This translates to trying to ensure that every plate of food contains 3/4 Low GI foods and 1/4 High GI foods.

Other tricks to keep your blood sugar level:

  1. Always eat breakfast.
  2. Aim for 4-6 small meals a day, rather than 1-2 large ones.
  3. In between breakfast, lunch and dinner snack on health foods with a low GI such as nuts and dried fruit, oatcakes and hummous, or a pot of yoghurt with nuts and seeds.
  4. Mix carbohydrates with protein and/or fat, as this provides something that is more "slow-burn" helping to maintain your blood sugar level.
  5. If you feel like chocolate or biscuits, have a piece of fruit first, or a small handful of nuts and raisins, then wait 10 minutes before indulging - thus fulfilling the 80:20 rule.

For more information on healthy eating go to the Healthy Nutrition series

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