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Posts from the ‘Glycemic Index’ Category


Carbohydrates, moderation or nothing?

I, me and my fat, Part 8

 There is no one-size-fits-all prescription for the quantity of carbohydrates in our diet.

There are genetic variations in fatness and leanness, that are independent of diet. Also, multiple hormones and enzymes affect our fat accumulation (e.g. menopausal men and women lose the restraining effect of testosterone and estrogen as they age.) 

Insulin is the one hormone that we can consciously control through our diet. For some, staying lean or getting lean, might mean avoiding sugars and eating fattening carbohydrates in moderation. For others, losing weight might only be possible with virtually zero carbohydrates. But, then for some obese patients, the longer they had been obese, the more likely they were to remain obese. They have reached a point of no return, where they could not reverse all the damage done by a lifetime of eating carbohydrate-rich foods. 

The conventional logic of diets is a “quick fix” in weight loss. The dieters don’t try to reregulate their fat tissue, but only reduce the calories they consume, expecting their fat cells to willingly give up it’s fat. If there are no immediate results, they decide the diet has failed and they move on to the next one or give up totally. The fact is, unfortunately, that we are counteracting a regulatory disorder of fat metabolism, that took years to develop and will take a few months, to years, to reverse!.

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Glycemic load and it’s role in weight loss

The glycemic index (GI) ranks foods and beverages based on how they affect your blood sugar levels. Foods are scored on a scale of 0-100. Only foods that contain carbohydrates are ranked, since they have the biggest effect on blood sugar.

The GI scores are:

  • Low (below 55) – raw carrots, raw apple, grapefruit, peas, skim milk, kidney beans, lentils etc.
  • Medium (55 – 69) – bananas, raisins, raw pineapple, sweet corn, certain types of ice creams etc.
  • High (70 and up) – white rice, brown rice, white bread, watermelon, white skinless baked potato, boiled red potatoes with skin.

A food ranking high on the GI produces a large spike in glucose after it has been consumed, while a food with a low GI causes a slower, sustained rise in blood glucose. Several factors affect a food’s GI, like it’s physical form (liquid/solid); the amount of fiber and preparation method (raw/cooked) e.g. highly processed food containing refined sugars (crackers, corn syrup) will have a higher GI.

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