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GI + GL Diet (Collins Need to Know?)

GI + GL Diet (Collins Need to Know?)

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GI + GL Diet (Collins Need to Know?)

Lunghezza:
276 pagine
2 ore
Pubblicato:
Apr 24, 2014
ISBN:
9780007563579
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

Whilst GI (Glycaemic Index) diets are very popular, it is also important to know the GL (Glycaemic Load) per portion to get the full picture on how a meal or snack will affect you. This clear introduction to GI and GL explains how following a low GI/GL diet can help you lose weight and keep blood sugar levels under control.

Do you want a food programme that will keep you healthy and boost your energy levels? Want clarification on good carbs and bad carbs?

The Glycaemic Index (GI) is a simple measure of the effect of carbohydrates on blood sugar levels. The Glycaemic Load (GL) refines this to allow for everyday portion sizes. The GI+GL Diet points you to foods that regulate blood sugar levels and help you to control your weight.

Still unclear? This book will explain it all, by including: basic GI+GL rules, shopping lists, recipes, and advice for eating out; practical ways to fit low GI+GL foods into your lifestyle; clear explanation of Glycaemic Index and Glycaemic Load

Pubblicato:
Apr 24, 2014
ISBN:
9780007563579
Formato:
Libro

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GI + GL Diet (Collins Need to Know?) - Collins

1 How does it work?

Now for the science. It’s not tricky to follow. You’ll probably find that you recognise the effects different types of food have on your blood sugar and energy levels, because you’ve been noticing it yourself for years. Ever felt you needed an afternoon nap after a lunch of pizza and garlic bread? Does that 4pm Danish pastry really get you through the rest of the working day? Help yourself by regulating your blood sugar and gaining energy at the same time.

How does it work?

Food has an effect on the way your body works. Nobody doubts that. The key to the success of the GI diet is that it uses your body’s natural responses to help you lose weight.

What happens when we eat?

When you eat starchy carbohydrates like bread, cereals, pasta or potatoes, your body digests the starch they contain. This becomes glucose – sugar – and is then used by the body as a source of energy.

In digestion, all foods are broken down into molecules which can be absorbed by the body. This process happens in the digestive tract, where enzymes are secreted which break down the food into its component parts. Most digestion happens in the small intestine, but some ‘simple’ foods are digested in the stomach itself. Glucose is one, and as a result it enters the bloodstream rapidly. The level of glucose in the blood then shoots up. (You can imagine how fast this happens, because alcohol is also digested in the stomach and everyone knows how quickly you can get drunk, especially on an empty stomach.)

Pizzas are high GI, causing blood sugar to peak then plummet.

Why does blood sugar matter?

The rapid rise in the level of glucose in the blood can be followed by an equally rapid fall, which sends a signal to your body telling it to boost the glucose level again. This is why you often feel hungry soon after eating something that causes a rapid rise in glucose. So grabbing a chocolate bar when you’re hungry might make you feel better for a while, but the energy boost is short term. It is soon followed by a drop in blood sugar levels, making you feel hungrier than ever.

This is where insulin becomes part of the picture. Insulin is a hormone generated in the pancreas which helps glucose enter the cells of your body where it can be used as energy. Most people have heard of insulin; it is the substance lacking in people with type 1 diabetes, which they need to inject every day if they are to survive. But many other people have the opposite problem with insulin – they have too much circulating in their blood. In fact, it is possible to develop a resistance to insulin, known as insulin resistance syndrome, syndrome X or metabolic syndrome. If you are resistant to insulin, then your body just produces more and more, trying to provoke the correct response.

Most icecreams are high GI, high GL and high calorie.

This is important because if you have high insulin levels you are likely to get fatter, whatever steps you take to reduce your weight. The higher the level of insulin, the more carbohydrate your body uses up – and the lower the amount of fat it uses. This is because insulin doesn’t just make it possible for glucose to enter the cells of the body; it also inhibits the release of stored fat. So stabilising insulin levels is essential, and to do that you have to stabilise your blood sugar levels. It is crucial to keep your blood sugar levels on an even keel if you want to lose weight.

What diabetics know

Diabetics have known about the importance of insulin for a long time, but certain recent changes in the way the condition is managed can be useful for those who want to lose weight. There are two types of diabetes. People with type 1 diabetes don’t produce insulin at all; their injections keep them alive. Type 2 diabetes is more common and generally develops later in life, though there are now some cases occurring in children. Worryingly, one of the risk factors for developing it is simply being overweight or obese.

People with type 2 diabetes fail to produce enough insulin for their bodies, but they can usually manage to control their condition by modifying what they eat, or by the combination of healthy eating and medication. There’s no such thing as ‘mild’ diabetes – the consequences of both types can be severe – and the main consideration of all diabetics is to avoid highs and lows in their blood sugar levels.

Diabetics used to be recommended to eat a diet rich in starchy carbs. However, recent studies have shown that these carbs release their sugar into the bloodstream too quickly, resulting in surges in blood sugar levels known as ‘spikes’. These surges can lead to collapse, so it was important for doctors to understand more. Scientists and researchers began to realise that not all carbs produced blood sugar rushes because some were broken down more slowly, and they started systematic testing. Controlled scientific trials produced an interesting result: far better for diabetics were those foods that were much less disruptive to the level of blood sugar. Eating food that was more slowly absorbed by the digestive system could smooth out blood sugar levels over the whole day.

The glycaemic index, or GI, developed out of all the testing that was being carried out in several centres worldwide in the 1980s and 90s. Then the concept of the GL – glycaemic load – was also developed, to modify some of the shortcomings of the GI, and has been gaining credibility in the diabetic community when used together with the GI. Trials with diabetics have now specifically shown that a diet with a low GI improves blood sugar control, and scientists have stressed that high GI foods are best avoided. Other researchers were also developing their ideas, and the whole idea of using the GI more generally began to snowball.

Could you pick the foods from the picture below that would give you a blood sugar spike?

The glycaemic index

The GI is a numerical system that indicates how quickly a specific food will trigger a rise in the level of blood sugar. Researchers began to give relative scores to the different types of carbs they were testing, according to how quickly they were converted into blood sugar, and these scores became known as the glycaemic index. Foods with a low GI (under 55) break down slowly, giving a slow rise in blood sugar and insulin levels; high GI foods – like white bread – break down much more quickly, sending both blood sugar and insulin levels surging upwards.

How is the GI value decided?

Carbs are rated by testing precisely measured portions of food on ten or more healthy people first thing in the morning, before they have eaten anything else. The food they are given is usually a portion which contains 50g of carbs, so that the relative rises in blood sugar levels caused by different foods can be assessed against each other. Over the next two hours the human guinea pigs have their blood sugar levels monitored at specific intervals. The results are then used to plot a curve on a graph for the food being tested. This curve is assessed against a reference food – glucose in most testing centres, but sometimes white bread – which is given a value of 100.

High, medium or low?

Every food has a specific numerical GI value, but for practical, everyday purposes it is much more convenient to divide foods into high, medium and low GI.

High GI foods have a value of 70 or more. They include white bread, chips, easy-cook rice, cakes, biscuits, chocolate and a lot of processed foods. Cornflakes, for example, have a GI of 84, while a basic muesli is just 56.

Medium GI foods have a GI value of between 56 and 69. They include things like rye crispbreads, figs and bananas, and bran-based or multigrain cereals.

Low GI foods are the most important for anyone trying to control their weight and are the ones you are supposed to favour on the GI diet. They include many vegetables and a lot of fruit – cherries have a GI of 22 – beans, pulses . . . and lots more.

These categories are often given a traffic-light coding: red for ‘high and hardly ever’, amber or yellow for ‘medium and maybe’, and green for ‘low and go’.

Quick and easy clues

There are a couple of basic guidelines which you can use to distinguish between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ carbs, as some people call them – though, as many nutritionists have pointed out, ‘good’ and ‘bad’ aren’t really helpful words to use. It’s the proportion of them in the diet that’s the problem, not the carb itself.

Firstly, taste is a good guide. The sweeter something is, the more quickly you’ll get a blood sugar surge when you eat it. Sugars – simple carbohydrates – are the fastest carbs to be converted to blood glucose.

Beans and pulses tend to have low GI and GL values.

Then there’s fibre. Carbs like whole grains, beans, seeds, pulses and some vegetables are much, much slower to be broken down, and one of the things that slows them down is the amount of fibre they contain. Refined, processed foods, like white flour, cakes, biscuits or rice which is treated to make it easier to cook, are also relatively quick to be converted as the processes they are subjected to in manufacture remove a lot of their fibre. Complex carbs like whole grains need to be broken down and therefore take some time to be absorbed into the bloodstream. The result is a slower rise in blood sugar levels.

The GI is especially valuable because it encourages healthy eating, and that doesn’t just mean a loss in weight. Low GI diets have also been shown to lower the risk of

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