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One Step At A Time Christian Growth Series – Step 15 – Battle For Your Mind

One Step At A Time Christian Growth Series – Step 15 – Battle For Your Mind.

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Understanding The Relationship of Carbohydrate and Glycemic Index (GI)

What is A Carbohydrate?

A Carbohydrate can be defined as a starch or a sugar. Carbohydrates are essentially broken down into glucose  units during digestion process. Glucose is one of the main source of energy for our bodies. however the amount of carbohydrate foods eaten will have an impact on our blood glucose levels. High carbohydrate consumptions may result in a higher blood glucose levels. Therefore when it comes to meals, carbohydrates should be spread out envely thought the day.

   

What Foods consists of Carbohydrates 

The most common ones are:

Bread, Cereals, legumes, rice, fruit, grains, cakes, pasta, milk, yoghurt, sweets, starchy vegetables.

What is the Glycemic Index (GI)?

The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly carbohydrates are broken down and released into the blood.

High GI vs Low GI

High GI foods are digested and absorbed quickly. This causes higher blood  glucose levels.  On the other hand Low GI foods are digested and absorbed more slowly. This causes small rises in blood glucose levels. low GI foods increase satiety and delay the return of hunger. A low GI has also been shown to prevent the development of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, coronary heart disease and cancer.

Applying the GI

1. Include at least one low GI food at each meal.

2. When you are eating a high GI , combine it with a low GI food. This will help  lower the overall GI of the meal :). Also fat and protein does not really have much effect when it comes to blood glucose, so it is important to include  dietary fat and protein with any carbohydrate meal.

3. Be careful of the quantity of carbohydrate you eat if its is a low GI. If you eat too much of a low GI food, it will also  increase your blood glucose levels.

The table below, which is derived from The new glucose Revolution – The low GI shopper’s guide to GI values shows us some examples foods that are caterogized based on the GI, which will help us apply these principles to our everyday meal plans/choices.

Breakfast cereals

Low(Best Choices) Medium High Serve (15g Carbohydrate)
  • All Bran
  • Guardian
  • Sustain
  • Porridge
  • Natural Muesli
  • Linseed
  • Weet-bix
  • Vitabrits
  • Special K
  • Just Right
  • Wise for bowels
  • Sultana Bran
  • Instant Porridge
  • Coco Pops
  • Corn flakes
  • Rice Bubbles
  • 1/3- ¾ cup
  • 1.5 Weet-bix

Rice, pasta and Noodles

Low(Best Choices) Medium High Serve size
  • Pasta (all varieties)
  • Semolina
  • Soba Noodles
  • 2 minutes noodles
  • Basmati rice
  • Doongara rice
  • Arborio rice
  • Moolgiri rice
  • Gnocchi
  • Udon noodles
  • Rice noodles
  • Plain popcorn
  • White rice
  • Brown rice
  • Jasmine rice
  • Pasta = ½ cup cooked
  • Rice/noodles = 1/3 cup cooked.

Vegetables ( most of the vegetables are low in carbohydrates and will have little effect on blood glucose levels.  (Aim for 5  servings of vegetables)

Low(Best Choices) Medium High Serve size
  • Legumes, (lentils, baked beans, Chickpeas, kidney beans)
  • Carrots
  • Sweet potato
  • Sweet corn
  • Pumpkin
  • Carisma
  • white potato
  • Beetroot
  • Board beans.
  • White potato
  • Swede.
  • ½ cup – 1 cup of legumes
  • 1 medium potato
  • 1 medium corn cob
  • 1/2 cooked vegetables
  • 1 cup salad vegetables

Fruit (Aim for 2  servings of fruit)

Low(Best Choices) Medium High Serve size
  • Apple
  • Berries
  • Orange
  • Peaches
  • Pear
  • Plums
  • Grape
  • Nectarines
  • Kiwi fruit,
  • firm banana
  • Mango.
  • Rock melon
  • Pineapple
  • Apricot
  • Cherries
  • Mixed dry fruit
  • Watermelon
  • Dried dates
  • 1 medium piece
  • 1 cup grapes/cherries.

It is crucial that we monitor our blood glucose levels as it is also another  factor that determines your appetite and even weight management.  If your blood glucose levels drop low, you eventually start to feel hungry. So when you ingest carbohydrates and begin the breakdown and absorption process via into the blood stream, your blood sugar levels increase. Our bodies produce a hormone known as insulin which help uptake the glucose into our cells, which is then eventually used to produce energy.


 

The problem with blood glucose level can be when a person has meals which consists of too much sugar. Because of the high consumption of sugar the blood glucose will increase rapidly. Eventually the body will not be able to take in all of the glucose as there is only certain amount of insulin that can uptake glucose. As a result glucose will then be converted into glycogen ( a storage form ,where gluose can be kept in both muscle and liver).

Soon the glycogen store will be unable to uptake any glucose , which leads the body system to convert the excess glucose into fat (since our bodies can store higher proptions of fat) , which results in weight gain. if no changes are made in reducing the blood glucose over a long period of time, this could lead to the development of type II diabetes.

Blood glucose and the GI

As I previously mentioned when your blood glucose is low, you may feel hungry. However if you only indulge in a meal, that primarily  fast-energy- relaseing fuels such as sweets or high GI foods as shown in the table, this will results rapid increase in blood glucose. After a while your blood glucose levels will drop substainially. Overally this results in a repeative yo-yo cycle, which makes it difficult to regulate blood glucose sugar levels. This is why again if the we apply the 2nd principle (including a low GI food in our will help control the blood glucose levels). 🙂