Low Glycemic Eating {Why It's Important For You & Your Family}

WHAT IS IT
Short Version
Eating foods that are low glycemic and therefore maintain a more even blood sugar will keep you feeling fuller longer and contribute to a healthy weight management and reduce your risk for chronic disease
Long Version
Foods are rated 0 to 100 on the Glycemic Index (GI). It measures how quickly your body processes the food and causes a spike in blood sugar. Pure glucose has a GI rating of 100.  Eating high GI foods can make us feel sluggish, cause peaks and drops in our blood sugar (associated with metabolic stress, a precursor to Type 2 diabetes) and contribute to weight problems.  Read on for more information….
Source
LOW GI EATING IS NOT A ‘DIET’
Eating low GI foods is successful for many people in improving their health and maintaining their weight. This is because it is a long-term change, not a diet.
It isn’t necessary to starve yourself to lose weight. In fact, consistently eating less than 1,000 calories a day may actually slow down your metabolism and make it harder to lose weight.
A diet obligates you to temporarily deny yourself certain foods, follow the latest diet trend, count calories or severely restrict your diet. With low glycemic eating you eat complete meals and simply choose the low GI options at each meal and snack.  For the most part it is a simple substitution of higher GI foods for lower GI foods (for example choosing sweet potatoes or yams rather than white potatoes). And the best thing is you aren’t alone in eating low GI. It is a healthy way your whole family can eat and still enjoy the food they eat
BENEFITS OF LOW GI EATING IN A NUTSHELL
Choosing lower GI foods will help you to:
        Control your appetite and cravings (you will feel fuller longer)
        Eat less calories (if you start your day with a low GI meal you may eat up to 80% less calories than if you start with a high GI meal)
        Maintain a healthy weight
        Control your blood sugar levels (and lower your risk of type 2 diabetes)
        Control your cholesterol levels (and lower your risk of heart disease)
        Reduce inflammation in the body from spikes and drops in blood sugar (and lower your risk for chronic degenerative diseases)
        Reduce the chances of ‘crash and burn’ through the day as you are maintaining a steady blood sugar

Source:Temasek Polytechnic, School of Applied Science
HOW THE GLYCEMIC INDEX WORKS
Short Version
Foods that spike your blood sugar have a higher glycemic index (GI) rating than foods that maintain a more even blood sugar. Generally speaking, low GI foods are usually low in calories and fat, while also being high in fiber, nutrients and antioxidants
Long Version
Lower GI foods
(GI rating of 0-55)
Choose these foods the MOST
Medium GI Foods
(GI rating of 56-69)
Choose these foods OFTEN
Higher GI foods
(GI rating of 70-100)
Choose these foods the LEAST
Lower GI foods include:
-Sprouted grain, oat bran, sourdough breads
– Sprouted grain tortilla
-Slow cooked oats
-Cereal brands include All Bran, Bran Buds With Psyllium, Oat Bran, Red River And Fiber 1
– Barley, bulgur, quinoa
– Vegetables, Fruit, beans
– Skim milk, soy milk, yogurt
– Whey and soy protein powder
– Low GI meal replacement powder (e.g. Nutrimeal)
Medium GI foods include:
– Whole grain, whole grain rye bread
– Whole wheat or flax tortilla, whole wheat pita
– Quick oats
– Cereal brands include Grapenuts, Shredded Wheat
– Basmati, brown, parboiled or converted rice
– Couscous, pasta and noodles cooked al dente
– Red or new potatoes, sweet corn, popcorn
– Rye crisps (Ryvita), Stoned Wheat Thins
Higher GI foods include:
– White bread and buns, whole wheat flour bread, bagels, croissant, baguettes, pancakes, waffles
– Bran flakes, corn flakes, Rice Krispies, Cheerios, Instant oats, commercial granola
– Short-grain and instant rice
– Grits, canned pasta, macaroni and cheese, instant noodles
– Russet potatoes, French fries, rice cakes, soda crackers, granola bars, cake, cookies, candy, pop, fruit juice

List adapted from LOW-GLYCEMIC MEALS IN MINUTES cookbook
For a complete library of the GI Index of foods, check out this International Database from the University of Sydney

In Australia you can find this symbol on LOW GI Certified foods. Read here for more info
THE ROLE OF BLOOD SUGAR IN WEIGHT MANAGEMENT & HEALTH
Short Version 
High spikes and drops in blood sugar can lead to insulin resistance and increase your risk for health conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, arthritis and other chronic degenerative diseases
Long Version

Our body’s cells use carbs/glucose as fuel, however too much can be an overload. When you eat something high glycemic your blood sugar spikes your body releases insulin to drop it down (insulin’s job is to transport glucose to your cells). However this dramatic rise and fall in blood sugar causes inflammation in the body and also releases a stress hormone, cortisol, resulting in an uncontrollable hunger and the body storing fat around the abdomen.  

Here are three MAJOR health issues related to eating high glycemic foods:
1.      Insulin Resistance: The repeat of spike and drop in blood sugar can lead your body to become insulin resistant – this resistance is associated with Type 2 diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease.
2.     Inflammation: Inflammation in the body is linked to many chronic degenerative diseases (cancer, diabetes, dementia, arthritis, osteoporosis, etc.).
3.     The ‘spare tire’: Cortisol (the stress hormone) causes the body to store fat around the abdomen, sometimes referred to as the ‘spare tire’. This fat around the abdomen puts you at higher risk of chronic disease (type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure)
IS YOUR BODY EXPERIENCING GLYCEMIC STRESS?
Glycemic stress occurs before insulin resistance.  With higher blood sugar levels there is an increase in free radicals in the body. Free radicals damage the fine lining of the arteries, which causes thickening of the arteries which leads to hypertension

Signs and symptoms of Glycemic Stress:
·       Carb cravings,
·       Pattern of nighttime eating,
·       Expanding waist size,
·       Increasing resistance to weight loss,
·       Fatigue
START EATING LOW GI TODAY
1.      Start with simple substitutions (for example: choose quinoa over white rice, cook your pasta al dente, add protein to all your meals)
2.     Seek out some good low GI recipes and add them to your meal planning. A fantastic international best selling book is LOW-GLYCEMIC MEALSIN MINUTES (and it’s CANADIAN too!)
3.     Get your family involved. Try new veggies and grains; prepare food together as a family. As recommended in the Meals in Minutes book, take a day to chop veggies, make dips and cook proteins – then you and your family will have low GI delicious foods at the ready rather than reaching for the coffee and donut.
4.     If you want a jump start and are nervous about struggling with carb cravings then try a low-glycemic RESET program to reset your blood sugar levels, curb cravings and reverse the effects of glycemic stress (contact me for more information on this)
5.     Talk to your local Registered Dietician for tips and advice on eating low glycemic 

REMEMBER, eating Low GI isn’t the ONLY thing you need to do to maintain your weight & health!

EAT LOCAL | GET ACTIVE | TAKE A NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENT | GET YOUR SLEEP 

LOWER GI RECIPE SITES

 
SOURCES USED IN THIS BLOG POST:
Low-Glycemic Meals in Minutes by Laura Kalina and Cheryl Christian
Mayo Clinic: Glycemic index diet
You: The Owner’s Manual by Dr.Oz and Dr. Roizen
Content from a webinar, Glycemic Stress and Sugar Addiction held Feb 2 2012 by Dr. Karen Wolfe
USANA, RESET Information Page

Check out my Top Meal Planning Tips
Check out my Recipe posts here

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