Good And Bad Carbs:
Science on nutrition is proving that there are now healthy and unhealthy carbohydrates. They are using the glycemic index to be able to determine the healthier carbohydrates.
The Glycemic index measures how fast and how far blood sugar (glucose) rises after you eat a certain carbohydrate source of food. For example, white bread is considered to be a high glycemic index food. This is because it is quickly digested and absorbed into the blood stream. This consequently increases the blood sugar level very high and very fast. On the other hand whole wheat bread is digested much more slowly. This causes a lower and more gentle change in blood sugar level so it is said to have a low glycemic index
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Carbohydrate foods with high glycemic index have been linked to increase in both diabetes, unhealthy weight and heart disease while low glycemic index has been shown to control type two diabetes. You will find, even though the food pyramid recommends a mainly plant based nutritional diet, it insists on whole foods. This is because a major determinant of a food’s glycemic index is how processed the carbohydrate is.
Some determinants of GI (Glycemic Index) are listed below;
i) Processing: The more finely ground grain is rapidly digested due to increased surface area hence a higher GI. Processing tends to remove the fibre rich outer bran. It also removes the vitamins and mineral rich inner germ, basically stripping the food all its nutrients except carbs.
ii) Fiber-content: The bran for example shields the food from immediate rapid action by enzymes. This slows the enzymes effectiveness in releasing the sugar molecules into the blood stream.
iii) Ripeness: The more ripe a fruit or vegetable the more the sugar it has hence a higher G.I.
iv) Structure of the starch: Occurring in many structural forms, the more a starch isomer is branched the less easily is broken down. For example a potato is more easily broken down because its starch is only a long chain. This makes it a high G.I. food.
v)Fats and acid content: The more fat and acid a food contains the slower its carbohydrates are turned into sugar.
Determining G.I. may end up being a little complicated. A combination of the above factors may have counter-intuitive results. But the rule is simple; always prefer whole grain products and them more natural forms of carbohydrates. Use them more often than highly processed grains, just as recommended in any good weight loss diet.
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Resources: Download printable Glycemic Index Food Chart