What is the benefit of low glycemic foods?
In short, they can stabilize blood sugar levels.
Including as many of foods in your diet that have a minimal effect on blood sugar is the way to go, when it comes to avoiding the pitfalls (excuse the pun) of roller coaster blood sugar.
Diets explain this in detail.
Fluctuating blood sugar levels, whether peaks or lows, pose a serious health threat, especially if the problem persists long term. Low glycemic foods keep blood sugar stable and help prevent or reverse the following conditions:
What is Metabolic Syndrome? - symptoms include (i) excess fat around the middle (an apple shape); (ii) high blood pressure; (iii) high blood sugar levels; and (iv) high cholesterol (HDL); People suffering metabolic syndrome are at especially high risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Low glycemic foods may be part of the treatment as part of a weight loss program.
Check out Jenny Ruhl's book
for more details about the health effects of unstable blood sugars.
|The Link between Low Glycemic Foods and Preventing
Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) |
Ironically low glycemic foods can prevent hypoglycaemia, routinely a consequence of the flood of insulin that occurs when blood sugar spikes too high too quickly. Hypoglycemia can lead to food cravings, dizziness and brain fog and is the dieter’s nemesis, because it leads to binge eating and dieter’s remorse. Low glycemic foods can help stabilize blood sugar.
It’s an impressive number of reasons
So far so good…
Picking Low Glycemic Foods – Which Foods Raise Blood Sugar
When it comes to blood sugar, carbohydrates – the starches and sugars in food - raise blood sugar, not fat or protein (except in certain situations if your diabetes is so extreme that you start burning protein for energy). Knowing the GI or Glycemic Load of a food will tell you how much the carbohydrate in that food will raise blood sugar.
While pure sugar or glucose is 100%
carbohydrate and butter is
almost entirely 100%
fat, most foods are a combination of carbohydrates, fats and protein, with some containing more of one than
another. The challenge is that most foods are a combination of carbs, proteins
and fats and you may not be sure proportions and how they will affect blood sugar.
What’s Wrong with Rock’n Roll Blood Sugar and Why Low Glycemic Foods are Important . As well as high sugar and high insulin, which occurs in the case of unmanaged insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and Type II diabetes, fluctuating blood sugar can
1. damage blood vessels;
2. raise triglyceride levels;
3. lower your immune response;
4. encourage fat accumulation over energy burning; and
5. promote inflammation.
Low Glycemic Foods Facts - What about Carbs? Why not ditch them from your diet?
While carbohydrate in food converts into sugar in the blood, don’t throw all carbs out with the bath water as some diet gurus might suggest.
You need carbohydrates for good health. Carbohydrate foods include many nutritious plant foods that contain a surfeit of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, prebiotics, and flavonoids, essential for long term health and prevention of chronic diseases including heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Glycemic Index versus Glycemic Load - Glycemic Index (GI) – tracks how fast carbohydrate in food raises your blood sugar compared to pure glucose. A food that raises blood sugar quickly has a high GI; one that raises it slowly or not at all has a low GI. Glycemic Load (GL), by contrast, gives a more complete picture of the effects of a carbohydrate on blood sugar because, in addition to measuring the ability of a food’s carbohydrate to raise blood sugar, it tracks how much of that carbohydrate is in the food. The result is that GL measures more accurately than GI does how a quantity of food will affect your blood sugar, for better or worse.
The secret to avoid blood sugar highs is
not to nix carbs
entirely from your diet – Every fruit,
veg, legume and grain contains carbs so that would be nutritional suicide.
The key to is to source healthy fats and protein foods and moderate your carb intake, avoiding the high glycemic nutritionally depleted junk and focus on nutritionally dense low glycemic versions.
Tip for finding healthy Low Glycemic Foods:
1. When picking low GL carbs, the more complex the carbohydrate the less the effect on blood sugar. Simple sugars move quickly into the blood; complex carbs, having more molecular bonds, take longer to be digested and hit the blood stream. The effect is a gentler effect on blood sugar levels.
2. The more raw and less processed the better – peeled raw carrots have a lower GL than a serving of purred carrots. Cooking breaks down fiber and concentrates sugars, increasing a food's overall GL.
3. Eat foods where the original fibre is kept intact and not removed or destroyed. Fibre in food, especially the insoluble kind found in whole fruits, veg and whole grains and legumes, moderates blood sugar both slowing absorption of food and encouraging proliferation of healthy gut bacteria that assists digestion and maintaining blood sugar.
4. Avoid foods with added sugars or concentrated natural sugars whatever the name, especially ones you drink. Drinking your calories and concentrated sugars is an easy way to send your blood sugar levels to the moon.
Beware the many guises sugar can wear on a food label. Some common aliases include fructose, glucose, sucrose, glucose solids, diastatic malt,ethyl maltol, dextran, cane juice crystals, crystalline fructose, buttered syrup, blackstrap molasses, molasses, caramel, maltose, galactose, high fructose corn syrup (HFC), invert sugar, demerara, sugar, Barbados sugar, castor sugar, invert sugar, honey, fruit juice concentrate, treacle, syrup, sorghum syrup, evaporated cane juice, refiner's syrup, raw sugar, organic raw sugar, xylose, saccharose, confectioner's sugar,golden syrup, rice syrup, fruit juice, muscavado sugar, maltodextrin, maple syrup, date sugar, brown sugar, yellow sugar, agave nectar, or lactose. Because food manufacturers must list all ingredients by weight, they sometimes choose to list various types of sugar to disguise the fact that the product is laced with the sweet stuff. Thanks to Robert Lustig's Fat Chance for the above list.
5. Avoid the high glycemic sugar boosted foods in your family’s diet with a particular focus on breakfast when fasting blood sugar levels are normally their highest. Higher than normal fasting glucose levels are due to the morning surge of wake up hormones including cortisol, noradrenaline and adrenaline that kicks in starting around 5 am to help you wake.
6. When consuming higher glycemic carbs, eat them with healthy fat and protein foods. Remember that fat and protein rate zero on the GL scale so can be used to lower the glycemic effect of a carbohydrate food, if consumed alongside a protein or healthy fat food.
7. Avoid commercial baked goods unless they are lower sugar, high fiber and trans fat-free. Commercially baked bran muffins are often chock-a-block with sugar and white flour – the minimal bran does little to reduce the effect on blood sugar.
Use the below table to pick low glycemic foods.
Looking for Low Glycemic Foods? List of GL for various foods*
To help find low glycemic foods, use the following for an idea of the GL for a variety of foods. For more on GL including an on-line GI calculator, check out Low Glycemic Diets page.
Example equivalencies between grams and ounces
30 g = 1 oz 60 g = 2 oz 100 g = 3.5 oz
*Info taken from Patrick Holford’s The Holford Diet GL Counter, published by Piatkus, 2009.
Interested in Learning More about Low Glycemic Foods and related issues? ...
Click here if you want to learn more about Low Glycemic Foods as part of a Low Glycemic Diet.
Click here to learn more about Metabolic Syndrome.
Low glycemic foods are part of the Healthy Balanced Diet. Click here, if you want to learn more about A Healthy Balanced Diet
Click here to read about Chromium and its effect on blood sugar.
Click here to learn more about Anti-inflammatory Diets.
Click here to learn more about Inflammatory Foods.
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