Good health is all about balance, especially when it comes to blood sugar.
Do you wonder why you sometimes have energy dips in the afternoon, feel completely drained at night, struggle to maintain your weight, mood and manage your cravings?
You could be on the blood sugar roller coaster.
Picture a roller-coaster in a theme park, this is how the levels of sugar in your blood and the hormone, insulin, that is used to regulate it, performs through-out the day. The highs follow meals and drops to low later on. Ideally, you’d like your blood sugar levels to resemble a kiddie roller-coaster with gentle ups and downs rather than the massive, strap yourself in and hang on tight kind. The kind of roller coaster can have a big impact on your health.
How is this achieved?
The low glycemic load (GL) way of eating can help. The GL measures the quantity of carbohydrates in a food and how quickly it raises blood sugar levels. High GL foods promote fat storage and low GL foods encourage fat burning. Eating low GL can help you balance your blood sugar levels. This way of eating can help maintain weight loss and may reduce the risk of certain cancers and heart disease.
Carbohydrates are the main component of pasta, bread, cereals, beans, vegetables, and dairy foods. Carbs are made up of sugar molecules. Some carbs, like sucrose (table sugar) is just a pair of linked sugar molecules, glucose and fructose. Other carbs, such as the starches in wheat, potatoes and corn, are a web of glucose molecules strung together in long chains. What impact the carb-containing food has on blood sugar depends on how quickly your body can break down the food into its component sugar molecules and the sugar molecules present. It also depends on the sugar molecules present.
Let's look at it more closely
GL has three classifications:
Low: 10 or less
High: 20 or more
It is recommended to keep your total daily GL under 100. The GL way of eating does not require calorie counting or protein, fat and carb tracking. However, it is important to have a balanced, diet full of variety to ensure all nutrients are attained. This way of eating involves swapping high-GL foods for low-GL alternatives.
So what should I eat?
Low GL foods to consume:
Bread: Whole grain, multigrain, rye, sourdough
Breakfast cereals: Rolled oats, low sugar granola, muesli, All-Bran
Fruit: Apples, strawberries, apricots, peaches, plums, pears, kiwi
Vegetables: Carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, tomatoes, zucchini
Starchy vegetables: Sweet potatoes, corn, yams
Legumes: Lentils, chickpeas, black beans, butter beans, kidney beans
Pasta and noodles: Pasta, soba noodles, vermicelli noodles, rice noodles
Rice: Basmati, long-grain, brown rice
Grains: Quinoa, barley, pearl couscous, buckwheat, semolina
Dairy: Milk, cheese, yogurt, custard (low sugar), soy milk, almond milk
Foods with no GL value:
Meat: Beef, chicken, pork, lamb, eggs
Fish and seafood: Salmon, trout, tuna, sardines, mackerel, cod, prawns
Nuts: Almonds, cashews, pistachios, walnuts, macadamia nuts
Fats and oils: Olive oil, coconut oil, butter
Herbs and spices: Salt, pepper, garlic, basil, dill
High GL foods to avoid:
Bread: White bread, bagels, naan bread, French baguettes
Breakfast cereals: Instant oats, Rice Krispies, Corn Flakes, Froot Loops
Starchy vegetables: Potatoes, instant mashed potatoes
Pasta and noodles: White pasta, corn pasta, instant noodles
Rice: Jasmine, risotto, medium-grain white rice
Dairy replacements: Rice milk, oat milk
Savory snacks: Rice crackers, corn thins, rice cakes, pretzels, corn chips
Cakes and biscuits: Scones, doughnuts, cupcakes, cookies, waffles
Extras: Jelly beans, licorice, energy drinks, sodas