GLYCEMIC INDEX AND GLYCEMIC LOAD
When you consume carbohydrates, your body produces insulin. And insulin is often nicknamed the “fat storage hormone”. However, not all carbohydrates are the same and a key difference comes from where they lie on the glycemic index (GI) and the glycemic load (GL) which adjusts for a standard portion size of that food.
Low GI foods, when consumed produce a small rise in blood glucose levels. Your body produces less insulin in response to the lower blood glucose levels. Conversely, high GI foods produce a higher rise in blood glucose levels. Your body produces more insulin to get the blood glucose level back to its optimal range. In the latter case, this means more glucose is stored away as fat in the body’s pool of fat cells.
COMMON MEAL TIME CARBS VS. SNACK TIME SWEETS
What did I do? Quite simply, I added more meal friendly carbs like potatoes and peas and cut back on snack time sweets and candy.
While most people would say that this would be obvious, let’s do just a quick comparison to show why this isn’t so straight forward.
On a regular basis, I ensure that when I have carbohydrates, I combine them with protein, vegetables and oil. Why is this important? For that, here’s how combining food groups can change the glycemic index of the meal. Here’s a simple example using potatoes.
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE GLYCEMIC INDEX WHEN DIFFERENT FOODS ARE EATEN TOGETHER?
HOW TO LOWER THE GLYCEMIC INDEX IN EVERYDAY MEALS
When I discovered this, I changed how I ate. I used to eat mostly carbohydrates and vegetables, and used to restrict the amount of fat in my diet. Then I started ensuring that nearly every meal I ate contained a fair size of protein, along with some carbohydrates and good quality oils. While eating a balanced meal is important, I realized that this way of eating would allow me to eat a wider variety of foods and food groups, stay full and not suffer wild swings in my blood glucose levels.
If you are a pasta or pizza fiend, what can you do if you can’t give these up? If you are going to order the pizza or pasta dish, add a salad with extra roast chicken, turkey, beef or eggs. Eat a quarter or half at the most of the pasta or pizza dish. If you are out with friends, share the pizza and pasta. If you on your own, save the rest of your pasta or pizza for later.
Here’s an additional example if you like your Asian noodles. On the days I feel like having noodles and I am out, I usually ask for extra portions of meat, fish and vegetables to be added to the dish and pay extra for these. Most of the time, I may not finish all the noodles as I have already filled up on the extra protein and vegetables.
Wanted to know the additional benefits of eating this way? Read my next blog!
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