Not all carbohydrate foods are created equal, in fact they behave quite differently in our bodies.
The Glycemic index (also GI) is a ranking system that ranks the effects of carbohydrates on blood glucose levels.
Carbohydrates that break down slowly, releasing glucose gradually into the blood stream, have a low glycemic index. That is good and that is what you want to happen.
Examples of some low GI foods include:
• Peanuts • Asparagus • Broccoli • Cauliflower • Celery • Cherries • Cucumber • Grapefruit • Green beans • Lettuce • Low-fat yoghurt • Peas • Peppers • Soy Beans • Spinach • Tomatoes
On the other hand, carbohydates that break down rapidly during digestion has a fast release of glucose into the bloodstream and have a high glycemic index.
Examples include: • White bread • Watermelon • Puffed wheat • Corn chips • Waffles • Rice cakes • Candies • Pretzels • White potatoes • White rice • Dates
Eating a lot of high GI foods can be detrimental to your health because it can raise blood sugar and as such pushes your endocrine system to extremes. This is especially true if you are overweight and sedentary. Switching to eating mainly low GI carbohydrates that slowly trickle glucose into your blood stream has many benefits, such as:
• Low GI diets increase the body's sensitivity to insulin
• Low GI carbohydrates improve diabetes control
• Low GI carbohydrates reduce the risk of heart disease
• Low GI carbohydrates reduce blood cholesterol levels
• Low GI carbohydrates reduce hunger and keep you fuller for longer
• Low GI carbohydrates prolong physical endurance
• Low GI diets help people lose and control weight
• Low GI diets help minimize carbohydrate cravings
• Low GI diets help minimize energy crashes
Here are a few tips on choosing better healthier carbohydrates:
• Skip sugary box cereals like Cocoa Puffs. Instead choose breakfast cereals based on oats, barley and bran.
• Skip the white bread and instead choose breads with whole grains or stone-ground flour.
• Reduce the amount of white potatoes you eat, substitute for yams and sweet potatoes
• Skip the white rice and instead choose basmati rice
• Eat plenty of salad vegetables
• Minimize fruit juices
• Choose cherries, peaches, grapefruit or bananas over watermelon or dates
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