Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The GI of food: How low should you go? continue...

Insulin and carbohydrates

Your pancreas produces the hormone insulin. Of all foods, carbohydrates stimulate the secretion of insulin most.

Eating carbohydrates with a low GI causes slow absorption of the food and so, slow entry of glucose into the bloodstream, with a gentler rise and fall in the curve. This means that the pancreas is not over-taxed and can produce less, and more consistent levels of insulin.

To recap briefly on what was said in What's wrong with sugar and starch?: if the pancreas is over-stimulated for long periods of time, because of mostly eating foods with a high GI (such as refined starch and sugar), it may become exhausted and insulin resistance or even type II diabetes could develop. Even if they do not cause diabetes, high (and unnecessary!) insulin levels are undesirable and dangerous. And similarly, high glucose levels in the blood are as dangerous. And we know for a fact that it seriously affects your body fat percentage!

Diet Start

It is sensible to know and understand and to remember when next you crave foods with a high GI (such as bread or refined sugar) that insulin plays a direct part in how your food is metabolised. It also determines whether your body will burn fat or carbohydrate to meet your energy needs. And finally, it determines what your body will do with the available energy in your blood - use it, or store it as body fat.

If you can't go low, go without

Which means go without the fatty topping or other additions to the carbohydrates. By now we all know, GI aside, that what we odd to our carbohydrates is usually what adds to our weight. And by now we also know that carbohydrates - either sugar or starch - don't taste as good without those little additions. They require that 'little something' to make them more palatable: cream with the pasta, gravy on the rice, butter on bread, cheese on pizza and of course dollops of cream on meringues. These succulent little extras not only make the food taste more delicious, which makes us eat more of it, but the fat also aids excessive fat gain.

Go slow, go low!

Believe this: if you can control your food intake in such a way that you eat mostly low GI carbohydrates, your weight will decrease steadily and rather satisfyingly. Your health will improve and your moods will be better. You will have fewer mood swings and you will feel less exhausted. Your appetite won't get out of hand and you won't have those dangerous food cravings. You will enjoy a better quality of life for longer and have the energy with which to enjoy it!

These are not unfounded claims - they are provable and based on scientific trials, conducted worldwide by independent universities and medical authorities.

The magical benefits of low GI foods were discovered when clinical trials proved that the GI of food influences the rate at which animals gain body fat and develop abnormalities in insulin secretion. These trials were extended to humans and proved how the GI of food influences sport performance and appetite control. From there it expanded into lifestyle improvement and more effective body weight control and thus the GI revolution was born. It changed the way in which millions of dieters selected and ate their food. It also changed their body weights for life - downwards!

Yet, it is not always possible to avoid the foods we love; and as far as I'm concerned, it isn't advisable either. We are sensual beings and to ignore or not to respect the cravings for foods that please us sensually, is a sure way of falling back into those old habits of bread and honey and chocolates and all the other high GI foods.

The answer is therefore to combine your foods wisely. One can have high GI bread, topped with low GI cooked beans or humus. At breakfast time, for instance, one can have low GI oats with high GI toast to follow, Combined, the overall GI will be lower than simply having toast with jam and cheese or wheat cereal and toast.

... andjoyohoxing