You may have heard about glycemic control in relation to managing diabetes. However, the benefits of stabilizing your blood sugar levels (which in essence is what this control is all about) actually pertain to everybody striving to live a healthy lifestyle.
In short, a low glycemic index diet will help you to choose the right kinds of carbs (there are many kinds, you see) so that your blood sugar doesn’t go through the roof when you eat (which happens with the wrong kinds of carbs).
Before getting more into the types of carbs, we need to get a bit more background info by understanding the difference between the glycemic index and glycemic load.
The Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load
Go for Foods with a Low Glycemic Index and a Low Glycemic Load
The Glycemic Index is a list that tells you how much effect various foods will have on your blood sugar.
Some foods will cause a much more noticeable increase in your blood sugar levels, while others will have a very small effect.
A list with low glycemic foods will help you to be sure that you’re eating only the foods that will have a limited effect on your glucose.
The Glycemic Load is a more comprehensive term that describes how the foods will affect your body, and it takes into account the fiber and other nutrients in food.
While the Glycemic Index tells you about the types of carbs in your food, the Glycemic Load will deduct the grams of fiber from the grams of carbs to tell you how many net carbs will affect your body.
The Glycemic Load can be more accurate, but you’ll need both for good glycemic control to help you watch your blood sugar levels.
So in short, the GI will tell you how fast your body turns a food into sugar, but the GL will help you to determine how much of an effect the food will have on your body overall.
The Importance of Eating Good Carbs
There are two types of carbs.
The simple carbs are the ones that contain almost no nutrients, and they are the ones that will be higher on the Glycemic Index.
Complex carbs often contain fiber and other nutrients in abundance, and they’ll be the foods that will do wonders for your body. It’s always best to try and eat these carbs, especially if you’re trying to keep your blood sugar under control.
Even if you’re not trying to keep glycemic control and watching your blood sugar levels, eating the right complex carbs will help you to lose weight if that is one of your goals too.
Low Glycemic Foods (Complex Carbs) Are Naturally Related to Weight Loss
The fiber in the carbs will stop your body from absorbing them and turning them into fat, so you’ll be able to keep the extra weight away.
By eating the foods that are rich in complex carbs and low in simple carbs, you’ll ensure that weight loss is the natural byproduct of your eating.
Good complex carbs should be eaten alongside lean proteins, healthy fats, and plenty of fiber.
If you pair all of these nutrients together, you’ll find that your body will stay healthy for a lot longer – and who doesn’t want that!
- Choosing to eat more of the right kinds of fats (unsaturated) will ensure you don’t need to worry about heart disorders
- Keeping your body filled with protein will help to build muscle
- Getting fiber will ensure that your digestion keeps running smoothly
- Getting plenty of complex carbs will keep your body’s internal engines stocked with energy.
The result: a healthier you! 🙂
Things that Affect Glycemic Index Ratings
– Pay Attention to How the Food Is Processed and Prepared
- For example, the GI of pasta noodles increases when you overcook them, as they are much easier for your body to break down once they’re been cooked too much (breaking down faster means entering the bloodstream quicker, which again means affecting the bloodstream more).
- Eating an orange will be very different (has a lower GI) than squeezing an orange for the juice (Once again, more processed and prepared means quicker bodily absorption).
- Also pairing foods will have a completely different effect on your body than eating them alone. Mixing tomato sauce with noodles can actually raise the GI of a food, as the acid in the tomato sauce will help your stomach to break down the noodles more quickly.
Also, every body treats food differently, and a food that should have a higher effect on your blood sugar levels may not, or vice versa.
Choosing the Right Carbs
If you’re going to try glycemic control via a low glycemic index diet and cook low glycemic recipes, it’s important that you know how to choose the right items from the low glycemic food chart list.
Even without referring to the glycemic index, you can know a few simple things about which foods contain the best carbs for your low glycemic carb diet:
1) Less Processing – Get the Foods in Their Natural State
One very good rule of thumb to follow when trying to determine which foods are the best for your low glycemic carb diet will be to mainly eat foods that have not been processed or which are in their natural state.
For example, white bread has been refined, ground, and baked, but brown rice has not been processed in any way.
Orange juice is completely free of fiber, but oranges are natural and lower in carbs than you might expect.
The least amount of processing is ideal, and you should always try to get foods in their natural state if you want to ensure that the carbs in the foods have as little effect on your blood sugar as possible.
2) Fruits and Veggies – More Fiber Lower Blood Sugar Levels
If it’s green, yellow, orange, red, or purple, it’s probably healthy 🙂
Fruits and veggies are almost always high in fiber, which means that they will have a much lower effect on your blood sugar levels.
The fiber will help to cancel out a lot of the carbs, which means that fewer net carbs will be absorbed by your blood stream.
The fruits that are lower in sugar are almost always best, though you can expect most sweet fruits to have a good amount of sugar.
Vegetables that are rich in starch – like potatoes – will usually be higher in carbs. The best vegetables are the leafy greens, as they contain lots of fiber and almost no carbs.
3) Read the Label
One very good way to determine if there are lots of carbs in your food is to real the label on the package of the food.
Packaged foods are already going to be much higher in fast carbs than their natural counterparts.
Make sure to read the labels to determine which kinds of carbs are in the food in the package, and try and find the food that has been processed as little as possible. Eat only the foods that are made with natural, unprocessed ingredients.
4) High in Fiber – Less Glycemic Effect
If it has a lot of fiber in it, it’s probably good to eat as part of your low glycemic carb diet.
Foods that are low in fiber tend to have a lot more noticeable effect on your blood sugar, as there is nothing to prevent the carbs from being absorbed into your body.
With fiber, however, there is a much lesser effect. The fiber will absorb the carbs, and it will prevent them from being taken into your bloodstream.
Fiber will help to eliminate most of the carbs, and there will be a much lesser effect on your blood sugar levels thanks to the fiber.
If the food has a lot of fiber, it’s going to be lower in net carbs – and thus the glycemic effect on your body will be less.
5) Follow the Food Pyramid
The Food Pyramid was developed by the USDA, and it was designed in order to help people know what a healthy meal plan looked like.
If you want to follow a general rule of thumb to help you keep your fast carb consumption low, following the Food Pyramid can be a good way to go.
The bottom of the pyramid is for unrefined carbohydrates, which includes whole grains, fruits, veggies, and foods that are low in fast carbs.
Proteins and fats are a bit higher up on the list, and the top tier of the pyramid is for sugar and other tasty treats.
Following this diet plan can help you to keep your total carb consumption under control, as the net carbs in the food you eat will be lower thanks to the natural state of most of the food you’ll be eating.
6) Go for Self-Prepared Natural Meals
Another excellent rule that you should follow is to always eat natural food.
If it’s in its natural form and you prepare it yourself, you can take precautions to ensure that you don’t have too many fast carbs in the food you eat.
Always buy the raw ingredients as much as possible, and prepare all of the food you eat yourself in order to keep your carb levels healthy.
Other Pages on This Site, You Might Want to Visit
Guide to a Low Glycemic Diet: Identifying Foods Low in the Glycemic Index & Ruling out the Sugary High GI Traitors
Find the Values of Different Low Glycemic Index Foods and Learn How to Healthily Follow a Low Carb Diet
A Low Glycemic Food List: Identifying the Good Slow Carbs and the Bad Fast Carbs
Glycemic Index Diet Guidelines: Low Glycemic Recipes and Foods
A Long Glycemic Index Food List to Keep Your Blood Sugar Levels Balanced
A Comprensive Glycemic Index Chart along with a Low Glycemic Food List
Low Glycemic Index Diet Tips: Simple Guidelines to Avoid the Trickery Pitfalls
Glycemic Index Food Chart Model: Showing You Carbohydrates High and Low in GI
The Healthy Low Glycemic Foods Diet: How to Eat According to the Glycemic Index
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