weight loss logo 

weight loss logo

AddThis Feed Button

HOMEWEIGHT LOSSHEALTHNUTRITIONFITNESSBEAUTYRECIPESLIFESTYLE
spacer spacer  
     

Weight Loss Articles

  1

Boost metabolism for weight loss

  28 Ways to bust a weight loss plateau
  3Top four tips to lose weight
  4What's your healthy weight?
  5Bogus weight loss claims busted!

Weight Loss Resources

 Weight Loss Books
 Weight Loss Articles
 Weight Loss Coach
 Weight Loss Health Videos
 Weight Loss Products
 Weight Loss Directory

Weight Loss Tools

 Body Mass Index
 Calorie & Fat Counter
 Weight Loss Journal
 Weight Watchers Points
 Weight Loss News

Today's Weight Loss Tip

Weight Loss Sponsors

 
 

 

 

spacer

The Nutrition Centre

Searching For A Good Carbohydrate

 

25 Grams of Carbohydrate!

carbohydrate bananaA few days ago as I was taking a break and eating a banana at my desk, a co-worker came in to my office to ask a question. As she was leaving my office she pointed at the banana and said, "You know that banana has 25 grams of carbohydrate." Until then I had never given much thought to how much carbohydrate was in a banana, but her statement made think twice. Eating a banana did not seem particularly harmful, because bananas are a low fat, low sodium food that supplies potassium fibre, vitamin A and folate. In view of the recent publicity regarding the health benefits of low carbohydrate diets, I think my co-worker's comment for bananas was based on the general concept that carbohydrates are bad as presented in magazines, newspapers, some popular diet books and television.

 

Not All Carbohydrates Are Equal

Although there are justifiable concerns regarding carbohydrate consumption, it is important to realize that all carbohydrates are not created equal. When a food is eaten, its digestible carbohydrates are converted to glucose by the body to provide energy for cellular function. Glucose released from the digested carbohydrates also causes the pancreas to secrete insulin, which promotes absorption of the glucose by muscle, fat and other cells. But some carbohydrates in food are digested and converted to glucose faster than others. To account for differences in how rapidly carbohydrates in different foods are digested, and subsequently release glucose into the blood stream, scientists have ranked foods according to their "glycemic index."

 

A Carbohydrate Measure

The glycemic index of a food is measured by comparing the change in blood glucose after a person eats a portion of food containing 50 grams of available carbohydrate, to the change in blood glucose after a person eats a reference food - either glucose or white bread - also containing 50 grams of available carbohydrate. The reference foods are assigned a glycemic index of 100. This means that a food having a glycemic index of 50 causes about half the change in blood glucose over a time period (usually 2 or 3 hours) when compared to the reference food.

While the glycemic index gives an indication of how a food will affect blood glucose, it is based on the amount of the food that provides 50 grams of carbohydrate, and not on the amount of available carbohydrate present in a normal serving of that food. The concept of glycemic load was introduced by scientists at Harvard University to correct for the effect of serving size on the glycemic index, because not all serving sizes of a food contain 50 grams of available carbohydrate.

Carbohydrate Comparisons

Glycemic load is defined as the glycemic index of a food, times the amount of available carbohydrate in the food, divided by 100. Foods having a high glycemic load cause blood glucose levels and insulin to rise faster and higher than foods having a low glycemic load. Furthermore, the spike in insulin release caused by high glycemic load leads to a rapid decline in blood glucose, which in turn causes a feeling of hunger and the need to eat. In addition to the undesirable effect that high glycemic load has on blood glucose and insulin release, the long-term consumption of foods having high glycemic loads is also a predictor of risk for developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

 

Good Carbohydrates

All of this means that one should eat foods having low glycemic load, which brings me back to the banana. A banana has a glycemic index of 52 and 24 grams of available carbohydrate. This gives a glycemic load of 12. In comparison, an apple having a glycemic index of 38 and 15 grams of available carbohydrate has a glycemic load of 6. Does this mean that I was properly chastised by my co-worker for eating a banana? Although an apple may be a little better choice for a snack, eating a banana isn't all that bad either because foods with glycemic loads in the low teens and below are the ones that should be selected as part of a balanced diet.

 

Carbohydrate Conclusion

Generally, fruits, non-starchy vegetables, nuts and legumes have desirable glycemic loads. Their sugars enter the blood stream gradually and trigger only a modest release of insulin. In considering low carbohydrate diets, it is important to remember that even though fruits, vegetables, beans and nuts contain carbohydrates, they also contain important vitamins, minerals and fibre. Removing these foods from your diet to achieve low carbohydrate intake also means that you are reducing your intake of important, essential nutrients. Although foods having high glycemic loads should be eaten infrequently, foods with glycemic loads in the low teens and below contain "good carbohydrates" along with other important nutrients and should be part of a healthy diet. The glycemic loads for many foods are available on the internet and finding a "good carbohydrate" is as easy as typing either glycemic load or glycemic index into your search engine.

 

W. Thomas Johnson

Agricultural Research Service, USA

 
 
 
spacer

 

 

 

button Fast track weight loss with vegetables in your daily diet

button Superfood almonds great for weight loss snacks

 

button How to choose whole grains for health and weight loss
arrow  Visit all videos
 

Popular Topics On Weight Loss Health

weight loss bullet How to get a flat, toned tummy.

weight loss bullet Cut out hunger with protein.
weight loss bullet How to snack without getting fat.
weight loss bullet Tummy fat!  Does it matter?
weight loss bullet Body shape impact on  weight loss
weight loss bullet Is your body chemistry making you over weight?
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

Your Weight (kgs)

Your Height (cms)

Your BMI

 

 What does your BMI number mean?  Find out more.

 
weight loss advert
 

 

 
 spacer