Choose Your Carbs Wisely

 

Carbs are not the enemy. Say it with me: “It’s the type and amount of carb you eat that makes it good or bad.”

What does that mean? Well, i’m sure you’ve heard me say this numerous times before but carbs are the body’s primary source of fuel, it gives us energy. Its like putting gas in the car, if we don’t put gas in we will be running on empty and if we put the wrong gas in the car, it will eventually break down, pretty much like us when we get sick. This is why it’s the quality and the quantity of the carb that matters most. Enter the Glycemic Index (GI) and Glycemic Load (GL)

What is the Glycemic Index (GI)?

The Glycemic Index, or GI, measures how fast a specific carbohydrate (e.g. a banana) will convert into sugar (glucose) in your blood. The GI of a food can be thought of as the impact it makes on the amount of sugar in our blood that is circulating to all our organs and altering the level of inflammation in our system, normally not in a good way!

Glucose is ranked 100 and all the other foods are given a ranking by comparison of 0-100. The higher the number, the quicker they will convert into sugar in your blood. The ”white stuff” – white sugar, white bread, pasta, potatoes all have a high GI and a high intake of these foods can often lead to emotional and physiological roller coasters, often associated with mood swings, skin flare-ups, and sleep disturbances.

Fibre, fat and protein all promote even-keel blood sugar levels via different mechanisms. Fibre expands in the digestive tract, slowing the entry of sugar from a carbohydrate source into the bloodstream. This is why a minimum daily amount of 35 grams is recommended. A high fiber diet can also help with lowering cholesterol and blood pressure as well as preventing other serious health issues such as cancer. It can also help with losing weight and keeping it off!

Classification GI range Examples
Low GI 55 or less most fruits and vegetables (excluding root vegetables), oats, buckwheat, quinoa, whole barley, All-Bran
Medium GI 56 – 69 sucrose, candy bar, croissant, brown rice
High GI 70 or more corn flakes, baked potato, jasmine rice, white bread, white rice

What is the “Glycemic Load”?

A food’s GI ranking is based on a standardized 50 grams of carbohydrates and this leads me to the big limitation of the glycemic index. It does not take into account the actual serving you are eating. Let’s take carrots as an example. Carrots have been given a bad rap because of their high GI ranking of 74 but, in order to consume 50 grams of carbohydrates from carrots, you would have to eat approximately 50 baby carrots. I want to point out though that just 1 cookie or 1 cup quinoa would cause the same spike, this is where the quanity aspect or portion size really comes into play.

Using the glycemic load ranking ensures you are choosing the best carbohydrate options that are based on the actual serving size you are eating. The glycemic load is a way of using the GI ranking to make them apply to food as people actually eat them – which is not always 50 grams of carbohydrates!

Glycemic Load Ranking:

  • Low GL = 10 or less is good
  • Medium GL = 10-19 is OK, should be eaten in moderation
  • High GL = 20+ is bad and these foods should be avoided

How To Calculate the Glycemic Load:

GL = GI ranking x serving size of carbohydrates in grams

For example:

  • 1 Can of Classic Coca Cola:  0.97 (GI Ranking) x 39 (grams of carbohydrates in 1 can) = 38 (Gross!)
  • 1 cup Watermelon: 0.72 (high GI ranking) x 12g (grams of carbohydrates in 1 cup) = 8.64 ( 🙂 )

A great website that i use alot is www. nutritiondata.self.com this will give you the glycemic load ranking of any food you search, check it out!

Watermelon Gazpacho

Serves 4-6

15 oz watermelon

1 large vine tomato

1 red bell pepper

1/4 English cucumber, peeled

1/8 fresh chilli

1/4 tsp grated fresh ginger

1 celery stalk

Juice of 2 limes

1.5 Tbsp cilantro

Put all the ingredients apart from the cilantro into a blender and blend until smooth. Then add the cilantro and pulse just for a few seconds. Serve super-chilled.

These are great served in shot glasses as appetizers.

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