The Glycaemic Index (GI) measures the rate at which carbohydrate foods are broken down into single glucose molecules and enter the bloodstream. For overall health and weight reduction purposes, following a low GI eating plan is advisable; when blood glucose levels rise too quickly, the body is subjected to an oversupply, which can trigger an inflammatory response as the pancreas is obligated to release insulin immediately, in order to remove glucose from the blood and transport it to the muscles and organ cells of the body where it can be converted to energy.

The problem occurs when sugary foods – or any foods with a very high carb. content – are eaten too frequently, which causes high blood glucose followed by high insulin levels. Once blood glucose levels fall (due to the actions of insulin), this produces sugary cravings anew, and the cycle repeats itself. As well as the possible risk of health complications; diabetes (type II), blood glucose imbalance and cardiovascular disease, a high sugar/high GI diet can lead to unwanted weight gain, as superfluous glucose is converted to body fat.

There are several carbohydrate sources that you can include in your diet that have a recommendable score on the GI chart. These include sweet potatoes (they have a lower GI than regular, white potatoes!), wholegrain Basmati rice and wholewheat spaghetti.

But there are also foods which have a low GI but provide ‘empty’ calories and lack nutrient density; chocolate is an example of such. Likewise, there are also foods which are nutrient dense, but have a high GI, such as certain types of fruits. So, what is the solution? Aside from eating these foods in moderation, there are several things you can do to lower the overall GI of a snack/meal.

Think of: PAFF. Yes, PAFF – Protein, Acidity, Fats, Fibre! Eat lean protein with carbs.; protein takes longer to digest, and so in theory, if eaten with carbs., this will slow down their release into the bloodstream. A similar theory applies with dietary fats. Dietary fibre is indigestible; it passes through the digestive tract, creating a barrier of sorts, so that simple sugar molecules are broken down slowly, preventing all of them from being absorbed by the body, and therefore, reducing the food's energy value. In practice, this could be as simple as eating fruit with a handful of nuts or nut butter (nuts = protein + beneficial fats + fibre), or adding sliced avocado, sour cream, or drizzle of high quality oils (such as walnut; coconut) to meals.

Scientific studies have shown that an acid pH slows down the rate of carb. absorption – so try adding apple cider or other type of vinegar to salad dressings and vegetables, or lemon/lime juice.