Glycemic Index: Will It Help You Lose Weight?
Carbohydrates can be a mysterious thing and can be used for good or evil. One day you will hear carbs are bad for you, the next you’ll be told you can’t do without them. What gives?! One thing that makes this food group so questionable is the sheer size of this food group. From steel cut oats to white rice the grains group covers a lot – and not all of it is good. Without spending a ton of time in the grocery aisle or digging up information online, how do you tell the difference between the good and bad?
Introducing…the glycemic index.
This is nothing new, but it is often forgotten by the population at large. If you suffer from diabetes you may be very familiar with the glycemic index, but there are benefits for those simply wanting to lose weight and regain a healthier life.
The glycemic load of any food impacts the body. Specifically, the glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how food affects your blood sugar and insulin. The higher the glycemic index, the more it impacts your blood sugar and insulin. Foods with a GI of 70 or above are considered high and should be avoided for those wanting to maximize the potential of their diet. Some high GI foods include:
- White bread
- Shortgrain white rice
- Corn flakes
- Most breakfast cereals – puffed rice, bran flakes, corn flakes, instant oatmeal
- Glucose (sugar)
- Melons and pineapple
As you can see from the list above, most high GI foods are also refined carbs which provide your body with a double whammy. Carbs impact the body like no other macronutrient. When these foods are digested they quickly hit the blood stream sending glucose levels skyrocketing. To combat this, the body releases insulin which works to move the blood sugar into cells where it can do its work. The problem becomes when there is too much sugar and instead of being used it is stored as fat. This leads to weight gain and a more challenging time leaning out.
Additionally, there is no benefit of eating foods with a high GI; therefore sticking with a combination of protein, fat and low GI carbs is best for weight loss. Low GI foods are those with a measurement of 55 or less and include foods such as:
- Beans (white, black, pink, kidney, lentil, soy, almond, peanut, walnut, and chickpea)
- Small seeds (sunflower, flax, pumpkin, poppy, sesame)
- Most whole grains (durum, spelt, kamut, wheat, millet, oat, rye, rice, barley)
- Most vegetables
- Most fruits
When you consider what foods to include in your diet you also what to consider what you may need to take out of your life. Instead of piling these good foods onto the “ick” already in your body, cleanse, and start fresh with low-glycemic foods. You can also find health recipes to go along with these healthy choices here.