Thursday, October 16, 2008

Glycemic Index, Blood Sugar and Weight Loss

Carbs have gotten a bad rap in the past decade or so, being blamed for poor health and excessive weight gain. While this holds true for some things, not all carbohydrates are created equal. Some are rapidly digested and processed, kicking off a quick spike and crash in blood sugar levels, while others burn slowly and keep the blood sugar at bay by releasing glucose bit by bit. To help people decipher which carbs are which, the glycemic index was created.

The glycemic index ranks carbohydrates on a scale of 0 to 100 – 0 being foods with very minimal impact on blood sugar (such as beans) and 100 being foods that are extremely sugary (such as jelly). For weight loss, low-GI foods are key components of a healthy diet. Their smaller fluctuations in blood sugar levels help control the appetite, reduce insulin levels and insulin resistance, and ultimately combat obesity and general unhealthiness.

Never has the phrase “you are what you eat” been proven more true than in the case of carbohydrates. Swapping high-GI carbs for those at the lower end of the spectrum can be very beneficial, especially when it comes to watching your waistline. Try couscous instead of white rice; fresh fruits instead of dried. It's an easy and effective way to maintain a healthy weight without sacrificing the carbs you love.


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