Understanding the Glycemic Index
Things get so confusing when it comes to understanding what foods are high on the glycemic index scale and what effects your blood sugar production.
I have focused a lot of my diet around eating lower glycemic index foods, but more importantly understanding that even when you eat high glycemic foods you can help reduce the blood sugar impact, by eating a combination of both high and low glycemic index foods together, that overall helps slow down the insulin production in your body.
What I mean would be the following example :
Say you're hungry for toast in the morning. Your first and worst option would be to grab a couple slices of plain white bread and put jelly and butter on them. You have three sets of problems with this scenario. One is the bad carbohydrates in the over processed white bread and the next is the saturated fat levels in the butter, and third is the sugar content in the jelly that factors into spiking your insulin production. So many people eat something simple like toast in the morning and this is just one example of a choice that could be improved upon.
Let's look at another way to eat more healthy:
So you're hungry for toast in the morning. How about this option : Select whole wheat pita bread that is all natural. I get mine from Trader Joe's!! I love this store. Next you slice the pita in half and put NO FAT or reduced fat cheese in between the pocket and toast away. Now you have incorporated a lower glycemic index carbohydrate that provides more fiber and added a protein in the NO FAT or low fat cheese, that in combination with the consumption of the good quality carbohydrate, produces a mucher lower effect on spiking your insulin production.
So Make your choices wisely when it comes to selecting the right types of foods that have an impact on raising and lowering your blood sugar levels quickly.
Remember it takes less than an hour to metabolize carbohydrates, between 2-3 hours for proteins, and over 3 hours to metabolize fat in your diet.
Ever get that hungry feeling less than an hour after chowing down on a bag of Doritos or potato chips. Ever feel hungry less than an hour after eating a plate full of oriental food that was all vegetables. It is because your body starts metabolizing almost right away, when it comes to carbohydrates. Now just imagine those carbohydrates are made up of simple carbohydrates (sugar-like in regular soda, potato chips or other over processed snack foods, or French fries- deep fried potatoes that are loaded with saturated fat and heavy on the high glycemic index scale of carbohydrates.) Also there have been some recent studies that have stated that high fructose corn syrup- found in many foods produced for children that include fruit drinks, fruit snacks, and things like ketchup, are helping enormously to contribute to the huge increases in childhood obesity.
A BAD COMBINATION THAT DOES NOT SUPPORT A HEART HEALTH LIFESTLYE
Here are some other great options :
One of the keys to a lean, sexy, healthy body is controlling insulin production and blood-sugar levels. The easiest way to do that is by eating healthy low-glycemic foods -- things like vegetables, fibrous fruits, whole grains, seeds, nuts, lean proteins, etc. Generally, it's a good idea to avoid most foods that contain high-glycemic ingredients like white flour, white sugar, corn syrup, etc. These are those 'bad' foods that wreak havoc on your insulin levels and increase your body fat levels in the process. They can also damage your health over time.
However, if you can't stand the idea of never again eating some of your favorite foods - pancakes and muffins for instance - and 100% whole grain flour just isn't an option for you, there is an easy way to lower the glycemic count of just about any food:
Oat bran can be added to most foods to help lower their glycemic counts. It's one of those 'magical' fiber foods that does all kinds of good things for your body. In fact, oat bran is probably one of the healthiest low-glycemic carbs you can eat.
The best part is that oat bran can be added to literally hundreds of different foods and recipes without significantly changing their taste. That's not the case with most other brans and whole grains, which definitely alter the taste and texture of any food they're added to.
You can mix oat bran into muffins, pancakes, breads, scones, soups, stews...the list goes on! These normally high-glycemic foods all become quite a bit healthier when you add in a good amount of oat bran...and less likely to cause your body to store more fat. (Of course, using whole grain flours and whey protein powders will make them even healthier and MUCH lower on the glycemic scale!)
Pure oat bran can be purchased at many health food stores and natural grocery stores, as well as on the Internet. Always choose an 'organic' version when possible to limit your intake of harmful chemicals.
So remember choose low glycemic index foods that do not cause your blood sugar to spike and insulin production to jump. If you are eating potentially higher glycemic index foods select the best ones that provide the most in the way of nutrition and health, and always try to incorporate proteins that will help slow down the metabolizing of those higher glycemic index foods and keep your blood sugar and insulin production in check.
Robert Adams holds an Associates Degree in Culinary Arts from the Culinary Institute of America, is a Certified Coach in Coaching for Personal Development as well Interaction Management, is a member of NESTA- National Endurance Sports Trainers Association, and lives a healthy lifestyle through his Body Perfect Fitness philosophy of healthy eating and fitness focus.