Adapted from Chiropediatric Times, 2006.
Most of us know what a Calorie is, and know that too many can pack on extra pounds. But, it’s not just how many calories you eat, it’s how those calories affect your body chemistry, that really can add or take off those pounds. Glycemic index measures how much and how fast a food raises the blood sugar level. This information is combined with the type and amount of carbohydrates to give a glycemic load. It’s possible to eat something with a high glycemic index (such as carrots or watermelon) but such a small amount of carbohydrate that its glycemic load is very low.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Lower glycemic load = Healthier for you!
High-glycemic foods include:
- white bread and other processed or refined-flour products
- baked potatoes
- French fries
- white rice
- pasta made from white flour
- sugar-sweetened drinks
These low-glycemic foods are better choices:
- high-fiber fruits and vegetables (excluding white potatoes)
- whole grains, and the cereals or breads made from them
- brown rice
- whole grain pasta
- black beans
The University of Sydney, Australia, provides a searchable database for hundreds of foods, showing glycemic index, glycemic load and amount of carbohydrates per serving, at www.glycemicindex.com.
- Combine switching to low-glycemic carbohydrates, cutting portion sizes, increasing physical activity and reducing daily food intake by 250 to 500 calories to give a sure fire recipe for weight loss.
- Fiber is a carbohydrate, but does not raise blood sugar levels. Eat lots of soluble fiber foods such as oatmeal, fresh fruits and vegetables. These also lower cholesterol.
- Aim to get 20-35 grams of fiber daily. If you are diabetic, you can consume up to 50 grams a day. Unprocessed and whole-grain foods are best sources, but fiber supplements such as psyllium may be added.
- Proteins have virtually no carbohydrates. Choose lean protein such as fish, skinless poultry, nonfat or low-fat dairy products, legumes and tofu. Minimize or avoid high saturated fat sources such as beef, pork and high-fat dairy items.
- If you have more questions about glycemic index and load, talk with Dr. Kuty.