In part 2 of inside macronutrients: Carbohydrates, we’re discussing the Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load. Next week we’ll be taking a look into the world of lipids, also known as fats, which is also considered to be ‘Bad’, but perhaps when you have a better understanding of their role in the body you may just see how essential they are for good health.
The glycemic Index (GI) ranks foods based on how they affect a body’s blood-glucose levels. High GI foods cause a rapid increase to the blood glucose levels, while low-GI foods are more slowly absorbed by the body, providing a more satisfying source of sustained energy and can help control blood-glucose and energy levels. As a general rule of thumb, a GI rating below 55 is low, 56 t\o 69 is moderate and 70 or more is high.
Low GI diets can be an effective tool in aiding weight loss, keeping cholesterol levels healthy, assisting in diabetes maintainence and providing cancer patients with a healthy diet to aid in recovery.
The downside of the GI rating is that its values are based on a standard universal measurement for all foods. In some instances people don’t tend to eat the same weight of sugar as they do for pasta or breads. So scientists have translated the GI into a more practical means in the form of Glycemic Load (GL). The Glycemic Load is the most practical way to apply the Glycemic Index to dieting, and is easily calculated by multiplying a food’s Glycemic Index (as a percentage) by the number of net carbohydrates in a given serving. Meaning, GL measures the effects of carbohydrates in a standard serve of foods to reflect which foods are most likely to make blood-glucose levels spike.
Utilising both tools can be extremely useful as GI helps you choose better carbohydrates, while GL helps predict the Carb’s effect on your blood-glucose levels. But if all these numbers seem too confusing, as science is unambiguous,try choosing better carbohydrate foods that provide nutrients, vitamins and minerals in the form of fruits and vegetables, whole-grains, fibres and resistant starches.
What’s so special about Oat bran?
Oat bran is a soluble fibre with resistant starches. It takes cholesterol with it as it travels through the body, this way the cholesterol doesn’t get a chance to enter the bloodstream and possibly clog the arteries. Oats slow digestion, which helps keep blood- glucose levels slow-rising and steady, helping you to feel fuller for longer and more satisfied. Some other examples of soluble fibre include carrots, apples, legumes and barley.
Countering Chronic Inflammation
When cholesterol assaults artery walls, the immune system’s response is inflammation. A US study involving more than 500 people found that high fibre diets, over 20grams per day, helps more than 63% of the participants had lower CRP* levels than those who ate low-fibre diets. *CRP is one of the body’s inflammation markers.
Weight Loss and Metabolic Syndrome
It has been well research that low-GI foods help a person feel fuller for longer, curbing appetite and aiding weight loss. In an Australian research, people who ate low-GI diets were twice as likely to lose 5% of their body weight and keep it off, as people who ate the conventional high-carbohydrate, low-fat diets.
Metabolic syndrome occurs when people who have insulin resistance, high blood pressure, elevated triglycerides and are obese. A recipes for Heart disease. One study found overweight people on a low-GI diet had lower insulin levels, triglycerides, blood pressure and less inflammation than people who ate a low-fat diet.
Carbohydrates are our body’s first choice for energy, and our brain’s major energy source, so it’s important to be smart about the choices of Carbs in your diet. Making sure to include plenty of whole-grains, fruits and vegetables, fibre, eat for health australia reccomends 30grams per day, and resistant starches. By making the right choice you can provide your body with the best nutrients and energy foods for top quality performance.
If you would like more information on GI and GL, I have added links below. Remember it can be as easy as swapping just one baked potato a week for a serving of brown rice to help reduce your chances of developing type 2 diabetes by 30%!!