Low Glycemic Carbs
Your body needs carbohydrates as a source of energy and low glycemic carbs are the most effective means of producing ongoing and stable energy.
If you cut all carbs out of your diet, your brain will not function properly, you will feel really tired, lack energy and crave for unhealthy foods. Just like when you eat foods rich in certain carbs that cause a sudden spike and a crash straight after: tired, lacking energy, hungry and craving junk foods. The result is you not being able to stick to your diet, not losing weight and perhaps putting on more than when you first started.
The Glycemic Index was first developed to help diabetes patients, then was noted for its benefits in weight loss, fitness and preventing other illnesses. It is about how your body’s blood glucose levels respond to eating certain carbohydrate rich foods. Foods are rated from 0 to 100, 100 being the glycemic index value for sugar:
• Low GI: 55 or less
• Medium GI: 56 – 69
• High GI: 70 or more.
Low glycemic carbs include oatmeal- porridge, low sugar high fiber cereals, vegetables except for potatoes (sweet potatoes are lower in GI), corn and carrots, most fruits (low to medium GI), al dente pasta, legumes (beans, chick peas, lentils), dairy products (stick to low fat yogurt, milk and cheese), basmati and brown rice and nuts.
High glycemic carbs include desserts, candies, high sugar low fiber breakfast cereals (interestingly enough, most cereals are in this category!), potatoes, corn, carrots, honey, white bread, rice cakes, corn chips and any kind of processed or instant foods.
High glycemic index carbs will cause a quick rise in your blood sugar while low glycemic index carbs will do this slowly. Glycemic Index is a great tool to help you eat healthy and it is good to roughly know the individual GI values of foods, or whether they are low, medium or high.
However, you cook or prepare these foods in different ways and you usually don’t eat them on their own. And there are some tricks to spot your high or low glycemic carbs or ways of lowering the overall GI value of your meal:
• A certain carbohydrate rich food can be low in glycemic index but simplyprocessing this food can increase the GI value significantly. Try and keep away from refined / processed / instant foods.
• Have some lean protein with your carb as protein has no glycemic index value and can be quite filling.
• The same applies to having good fats- monounsaturated or polyunsaturated with your carbs. Fats slow the absorption of foods and have no glycemic value.
• If you have to have a high GI food, combine it with something much lower in GI: mashed potatoes with steamed vegetables.
• The way you cook is also important: Al dente pasta is lower in GI than overcooked pasta and boiled potatoes lower than baked potatoes.
• Please also note that most foods that are high in dietary fiber tend to be lower in glycemic index too.
*Before we continue with health benefits of low glycemic carbs, I’d like to tell you about my favorite diet program that uses a lot of the healthy lower GI foods: Isabel de los Rios’ ‘The Diet Solution Program’.
Health Benefits of Low Glycemic Carbs:
Reported health benefits of eating low glycemic index carbs include:
• Easier weight loss and being able to maintain your ideal weight in the long-run.
• Generally feeling well, healthy and more energetic.
• A more stable mind with less of mood swings.
• Not craving for junk foods and feeling less hungry.
• Improved resistance to insulin and reduced risk of diabetes.
• Lower blood cholesterol and reduced risk of heart complications.
• Clearer and more youthful skin.
• Prolonged physical endurance and better muscle recovery after an intense exercise session.