The low carbohydrate diet fad has most people believe that carbohydrates are the enemy and should be avoided, especially to lose weight. However, that there are different types of carbohydrates and each kind has a different effect on our body.

Carbohydrates are ranked according to how they affect blood glucose levels. The higher a food’s glycemic index, the more it affects blood sugar and insulin levels. If carbohydrates in a food cause a person’s blood sugar to spike, it is considered a high glycemic food.

Low glycemic foods do not have a significant effect on blood sugar, and foods that fall somewhere in the middle are considered a moderate glycemic food. This measurement of the effect that a food has on blood sugar is known as the glycemic index.

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Low GI Medium GI High GI
0-55 56-69 70 or greater

The elevated blood sugar causes insulin levels to rapidly spike, subjecting the body to the unhealthy side effects associated with strong insulin responses, such as increased food cravings and the development of unhealthy eating patterns. Insulin spikes are also linked to an increased risk of developing heart disease, obesity, cancer and diabetes.

low glycemic carbs2

Times where a rapid rise in blood sugar is desired include after strenuous exercise, a rise in blood sugar will shift glucose to the muscles to help repair tissue that was damaged during exercise. During pregnancy, blood sugar levels can decline too quickly, resulting in fatigue, shakiness and dizziness. Eating high GI foods can be beneficial in these situations.

The following foods contain low glycemic index and help in regulating blood sugar:

1.- Oatmeal (2/3 cup): 45
2.- Lentils (2/3 cup): 21
3.- Beans (2/3 cup): 37
4.- Chickpeas: 37
5.- Plums (2 whole): 24
6.- Lettuce (4 leaves): 0
7.- Apricots ( 5 whole): 34
8.- Apples (1 medium): 37
9.- Grapefruit : 25
10.- Pears (1 small): 37

Low-GI diets have been associated with decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, stroke, depression, chronic kidney disease, formation of gall stones, neural tube defects, formation of uterine fibroids, and cancers of the breast, colon, prostate, and pancreas.

In order to benefit from the potential health benefits , sticking with whole, natural foods that are either low or very low in their GI value is a must.

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