|Not so long ago, the media reported that we should
reduce our fat intake for health reasons. Consequently,
carbohydrates came under the spotlight and a new trend
developed: eat less fat and fill up on carbs.
Carbohydrates may be low in fat, but eat too many and
the excess calories is readily and easily converted by your
body into fat.
Given that most people think only of carbohydrates as
starchy foods such as bread and pasta, the new trend
resulted in rapidly expanding waistbands!
Fortunately, fruit and vegetables are also carbohydrates -
commonly known as 'complex' carbohydrates.
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|These re the 'good guys' because they are slowly digested and help to reduce
hunger and keep blood sugar levels on an even keel. This is ever so important for
people trying to maintain or control their weight. Whenever blood sugar levels
drop too low, this very often is a powerful trigger sending you into the cupboard
in search for sugar or starchy carbohydrates.
Good carbohydrates are easy to spot. They are the vividly coloured fresh fruit
and vegetables such as peppers, carrots, tomatoes and spinach.
The Glycemic Index, otherwise known as GI, is a measurement that can help us
differentiate between carbohydrates and choose those that have the most hunger
control and the greatest potential to maintain blood sugar levels.
The GI is a system that indicates how fast a particular food will trigger a rise in
blood sugar levels. A food with a high GI will cause a rapid rise in blood sugar
while a food with a low GI will create a slower rise.
The GI runs from 0 to 100 and uses pure glucose as a reference point, with the
maximum value of 100. For example, a banana has a GI score of 62, foods
between 55-70 are mid-GI and foods over 70 are considered high GI.
Low GI Apples (39), oranges (40), pears (38), soy beans (15), kidney beans (29),
lentils (29), porridge (49), wholegrain rye bread (41), corn on the cob (35),
High GI White bread (70), French bread (95), white rice (70), baked potatoes
(85), mashed potatoes (90), cooked carrots (85)
Glycemic Index Facts Foods only appear on the GI if they contain
carbohydrates. Meat, chicken, eggs, fish and cheese are not given a GI value as
these are sources of protein. However, processed meats such as sausages may be
included because they contain flour which is a carbohydrate. Low GI foods can
help control your appetite by creating a fuller feeling for longer after eating
which is good news for weight management.
Fats and protein slow down the absorption of carbohydrates, whilst the GI of
foods can be further affected by cooking, processing, ripeness and variety. This
makes it difficult to accurately rate the GI of a typical meal.
Low GI foods can be high in calories. For example, a cup of kidney beans is
approximately 215 calories, yet 1/2 cup of peanuts is approximately 450 calories!
High GI foods are useful after exercise when muscle stores of sugar need to be
A typical balanced meal should provide a mixture of foods including fats,
proteins and carbohydrates. By including low GI foods with each meal, the body
takes longer to absorb the carbohydrates, which helps to slow overall absorption
and keep blood sugar levels steadier between meals.
Kim Beardsmore - EzineArticles Expert Author
Kim Beardsmore M.B.A., B.Sc. (Biochemistry) is the creator of the online weight
loss, health & fitness magazine Weight Loss Health. For free resources, tips and
healthy recipes to help you lose weight and gain energy, visit
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