Many people when trying to lose weight go on a “Low Carb or No Carb” diet. The common attitude is that carbs are bad. Actually, not all carbs or carbohydrates are created equal. There is a good and the bad carbs.
Good carbohydrates provide a source of vitamins, antioxidants, minerals and fuel for the body to function properly. Eating good carbohydrates provide the body with necessary building blocks to make healthy cells, enhance the body natural immune and defense system, natural repair system as well as balance the hormones.
To evaluate whether it is good or bad carbs, you should use the Glycemic Index (GI) and Glycemic Load (GL):
- Glycemic Index (GI)– measures the effect of carbohydrates on the blood sugar. The higher the GI, the higher the blood sugar level after its digestion.
- Glycemic Load (GL)– measures the GI with the amount of carbohydrate in the food. Watermelon has GI of 72, but GL of 4.
Good carbohydrates are unprocessed food, whole foods such as the fruits, vegetables and grains. Whole foods are any foods that have not been changed in any way by processing. These foods are low in GI and low in GL, except for potato, which has GI of 85 and GL of 26.
For good carbohydrates, we should eat at least 7 portions a day. According to MyPlate, you should fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables in very meals.
Bad carbohydrates are the processed and refined carbs that are high in GI and GL. They cause a drastic surge in blood sugar, which triggers equally high secretion of insulin, sending a cascade of response leading to eventual fat storage, insulin resistance, diabetes and sugar addictions.
Bad carbs are the main cause of fat and weight gain. Here are main examples of bad carbs:
1) Breakfast cereals
The cereals that comes in a box, we eat every morning are high in Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load. The processing of carbohydrates to form the cereal removes most of the nutrients. That is why it has to be fortified with vitamins on top of the flavouring and colorings.
Slow cooked oatmeal is far superior because they are low in GI and GL. The grains are intact and have minimal processing. You certainly won’t need the mid morning snack if you take this for breakfast.
White bread has GI of 70 and GL of 10. Even the whole meal wheat bread that is made from processed wheat flour has GI 74 and GL of 9. Brown bread may look healthier but it is fake
Therefore, avoid bread if you want to lose weight. But if you really must eat bread, then go for coarse rye kernel (pumpernickel) bread (GI-41, GL-5), whole oat bran bread (GI-44, GL-8), sourdough bread (lactic acid slows down the rate of absorption of sugar) and bread without flour.
3) Cookies, cakes, donuts, snacks, crackers
These foods are so highly processed that there is no natural nutritional values at all. They should be avoided at all cost if you are serious about weight loss.
4) Processed fruits
Canned fruits and packaged fruit juices do not contain 100% fresh fruits as they are diluted or sweetened. Fresh orange juice has GI of 48 and GL of 5 compared to orange juice from frozen concentrate that has GI 57 and GL 15.
5) White rice, noodles, and pasta
White rice has GI of 64 and GL of 23 compared to brown rice GI is 55 and GL is 18. White rice is removed of the kernel and gem, which contains vitamins and fiber. Spaghetti has GI 61 and GL 27. Noodles and pastas are made from flour, which is processed.
Not all carbs are created equal. Whole foods with good carbs take a longer time to prepare, but the benefits are plenty. Start eating the good carbs and you will see your food cravings decreasing and fats naturally melting away.
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