Carb versus Carb. The difference between ‘good carbs’ and ‘bad carbs’. It’s all down to the GI numbers.

For this post, I’m going to jump right in… No preamble, and also keep it short.  This is an important topic and one that many people need to hear.

I must start by explaining something.  Pretty much all plant life contains carbohydrates of some sort, even the healthiest of vegetables such as broccoli.  Within the healthier options, they are locked away within the structure of the food such that they are digested/released slowly, causing even and slow release of sugars into the body for metabolism.

Carbohydrates are essential for human wellbeing, but unfortunately a lot of us put highly refined carbohydrates (that have been broken down either by cooking or mechanical processes) in our mouths instead of the healthy stuff, resulting in blood sugar spikes and sugar crashes thereafter, thus making us feel hungry once again and causing a negative feedback loop.  The key to feeling satisfied for longer is to eat low GI carbohydrates more often that high GI (usually processed) ones.  It’s not to say that you should not eat refined carbs, just that you should try to limit them, (which would make you enjoy them more when you do eat them).

Examples of low GI carbs.  (Lower than 55 is considered low, 55-70 is considered intermediate, greater than 75 is considered high).

  • Kidney beans – 28
  • Lentils – 22-52
  • broccoli -15

High GI carbs

  • Starchy/fluffy baked potatoes – 93!!!
  • Any white bread – around 70

And an example of a contentious one!

  • Rice (some rice such as basmati (GI – 58) is harder for the body to digest due to its structure, and therefere has a lower glycemic index than ‘stickier’ varieties, such as short grain rice, which has a GI of 72.  As a good rule of thumb, the stickier the rice, the worse the GI is for your blood sugar.  That stickiness is starch that has been liberated from the food, and now ready to be turned into glucose by your magic body!

Obviously you want to stick to as low a GI as possible for best results on weight loss (and health for that matter, as you may be lowering your chances of developing adult onset diabetes by not forcing your blood sugar to spike).  But eating brocolli day in day out is no fun, so as ususal, take this advice with a pinch of salt, and have fun whatever you’re doing.  Remember that enjoying your food/life is arguably as important as losing weight, for happiness is a beautiful thing.

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