Carbs have received quite a bad reputation in the recent years and have confused so many people of their benefits and disadvantages. So I had to find out if all carbohydrates are bad for us and which ones we can eat with a good conscience.. The Glycemic Index is a helpful indicator to help you chose which ones are good or bad for you…
What is a Glycemic Index [GI]?
The Glycemic Index measures how FAST or how SLOW a carbohydrate releases sugar into your blood stream. It’s actually that simple..
High GI Foods
HIGH GI Foods are foods that release sugar very fast into your blood stream and are therefore considered unhealthy foods.
Low GI Foods
LOW GI Foods are foods that release sugar very slow into our bloodstream and are therefore considered to be healthy foods.
***Do not believe “labels” on packaged foods. For example I heared that Nutella has been labelled a “low GI Food” but it is far from the truth! Nutella is very high in sugar and therefore releases sugar very fast into your blood!
What happens when we eat GI Foods…
- When we eat a food high in GI such as a Pizza our pancreas releases a hormone called insulin in order to process the high amount of sugar swimming in our blood
- Insulin helps to convert sugar into energy. Without insulin the sugar would just swim around in our body
- Because we ate a high amount of sugar we had a very fast spike in sugar and after the insulin reduced the sugar levels our body is then very fast too low in blood sugar.
- Our pancreas responds to low blood sugar levels in releasing the hormone glucagon.
- Glucagon sends signals to our brain that we need more glucose/sugar for energy when it reaches low levels.
As a result you get a hunger pang for carbs and therefore eat more which leads to weight gain!
Why HIGH GI Foods are Bad for us…
High GI Foods start a catch 22 in our body: We eat high GI carbs and our blood sugar levels shoot up, insulin get’s released to reduce the sugar in our blood and as a result we produce glucagon which tells our brain to eat again.. Then we get the craving for carbs [mostly in form of sugar such as a Muffin] to not to feel so “tiered” which started the process anew and we go up and down like a Jojo.
Consequences of the High GI Foods
We get moody, hungry and want more sugar. If we eat lots of sugar over a long period of time our pancreas get tiered and stop producing insulin which results in the chronic disease called Diabetes! A diabetic needs to manually add insulin into his blood.
Why are low GI Food’s good for us?
Low GI Food are called complex carbohydrates because your body takes much longer to process the sugar which comes packed with a lot of fiber and therefore releases the blood sugar very slowly into your system.
As it get;s slowly released we do not get a sugar “high” and cravings for carbs. We have more energy, feel fuller for longer and EAT LESS FOODS which aids weight loss!
Which foods Contain Low GI & High GI:
High GI Foods
- White Flour, Pasta, bread, toast, bagel
- White Rice
- Ice Cream/Sweets/ Cake/Cookies
- Sports Drink/Soft Drinks/ Fruit Juices
- Breakfast Cereals
- Sugar and High Fructose Corn Syrup and its products
Low GI Foods
- Whole grains
- Brown rice
- Lentils, Beans, Chickpeas
- Vegetables in general
So there are carbs we can eat without feeling bad about it! In fact if you eat whole fresh foods you get the benefit of adding super important vitamins and minerals into your diet! Just ensure that you eat the LOW GI Carbs and minimize the amount of HIGH GO Foods in your diet 🙂
I hope this blog helps you choose the “healthier” carbs when you go grocery shopping or eat in a restaurant 🙂