Lose Weight the Glycemic Way
The perfect 'quality-not-quantity' dietary regime....
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 mot people think only of carbohydrates
as starchy foods such as bread and pasta, the new trend
resulted in rapidly expanding waistbands!
fruit and vegetables are also carbohydrates - commonly known
as 'complex' carbohydrates. 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
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
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.
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), peanuts (15).
White bread (70), French bread (95), white rice (70), baked
potatoes (85), mashed potatoes (90), cooked carrots (85)
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 quickly restored.
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.
- Adapted from Herbalife Today Magazine