Carbs, The Reason For The Glycemic Index?
Now that we know what this supposedly “healthy” food staple has been doing for us as well as what it’s doing to us, how is this information going to help us, if we don’t know what kind of foods they’re actually coming from. That’s what we’re going to talk about here. What can I eat? What effect will this have on my body? How is this food going to affect my glycemic index load? Where do these foods lie on the glycemic index? What can I eat and what effect will that have on my body?
Before we can start on the foods that are good for us and the ones that aren’t, we have to talk about the effect these foods have on the Glycemic Index, and how that impacts what kind of effect they have on your body. The first thing you should know is that foods that are lower on the glycemic index are much healthier than those that are higher on the index.
This is due to the number of sugars that are present in the food, that influence your blood glucose, making necessary the production of insulin in your body. Insulin is what you need to digest those sugars, to turn them into a fuel that your body can use, fat. The higher the food is on the glycemic index, the more insulin it needs to be digested and hence because it needs more insulin, that means it going to create more fat. This is your body’s Fat Factory and it’s carbohydrates, that turn it on.
The Glycemic Index is your best guide to what’s going to increase your fat, by increasing your blood glucose.
This is how it works; It’s the insulin that turns carbohydrates into fat, so it can be burned and used by the body. The more carbohydrates you feed yourself, the more sugar you’re feeding the Fat Factory and the more glucose you’re pouring into your system, requiring your pancreas to crank out more insulin to digest those carbohydrates. Because, carbs aren’t fully digested in your intestines, they’re simply broken down into sugars to be metabolized cellularly with insulin. The more glucose you have in your system, the more insulin your body needs to turn all that glucose into fat. The more insulin you need to digest your carbs, year after year, the more this puts your pancreas into a mode that keeps generating insulin and after a while your body becomes adjusted to the excessive amounts of insulin in your system to digest the excessive amounts of carbs in your system and your body becomes insulin resistant. This is type 2 diabetes and it’s deadly. This is what leads to four of the deadliest of cancers, most of all cardiovascular diseases (which are the number one killer or all diseases), all Alzheimer’s disease as well as most all brain disorders. It also plays a major role in many emotional disorders. This is why it’s so important to control the intake of sugars into your body and carbohydrates are sugars.
So, what should we be eating and what shouldn’t we be eating?
Starchy carbs are the foods that occupy the highest slots on the glycemic index, with the exception of alcohol and beer, and potatoes and parsnips which are also very high on the index. Beer is one of two things that can raise your blood sugar more than pure glucose, which is what the index is based on.
According to Wikipedia;
“The glycemic index or glycaemic index (GI) is a number associated with a particular type of food that indicates the food’s effect on a person’s blood glucose (also called blood sugar) level. A value of 100 represents the standard, an equivalent amount of pure glucose.
The GI represents the total rise in a person’s blood sugar level following consumption of the food; it may or may not represent the rapidity of the rise in blood sugar. The steepness of the rise can be influenced by a number of other factors, such as the quantity of fat eaten with the food. The GI is useful for understanding how the body breaks down carbohydrates and only takes into account the available carbohydrate (total carbohydrate minus fiber) in a food. Although the food may contain fats and other components that contribute to the total rise in blood sugar, these effects are not reflected in the GI.”
“The glycemic index is usually applied in the context of the quantity of the food and the amount of carbohydrate in the food that is actually consumed. A related measure, the glycemic load (GL), factors this in by multiplying the glycemic index of the food in question by the carbohydrate content of the actual serving. Watermelon has a high glycemic index, but a low glycemic load for the quantity typically consumed. Fructose, by contrast, has a low glycemic index, but can have a high glycemic load if a large quantity is consumed.”
“Glycemic load is based on the glycemic index (GI), and is calculated by multiplying the grams of available carbohydrate in the food times the food’s GI and then dividing by 100. Glycemic load estimates the impact of carbohydrate consumption using the glycemic index while taking into account the amount of carbohydrate that is consumed. GL is a GI-weighted measure of carbohydrate content. For instance, watermelon has a high GI, but a typical serving of watermelon does not contain much carbohydrate, so the glycemic load of eating it is low. Whereas glycemic index is defined for each type of food, glycemic load can be calculated for any size serving of a food, an entire meal, or an entire day’s meals.”
I copied the above 4 paragraphs from Wikipedia for a reason, as important as the glycemic index is, it’s the glycemic load that’s more important because this is what dictates how much insulin your body is going to need to digest all the carbohydrates you eat. It also tells you how much fat that food is going to create when you eat it. The only thing that creates fat in your body is carbohydrates and how much they create can be seen by how high a food is on the glycemic index. The higher a food is on the glycemic index, the more fattening it is. It’s that simple.
If it’s glucose in the system that leads to fat on the body, what does that tell us? To stay away from foods that raise the glucose levels in your blood. When you look at all the foods on the glycemic index, you’ll see all the starchy foods that are grain-based, at the highest levels of the glycemic index. This one factor should tell you to stay away from those foods. Problem is those foods are the ones that are most addictive, simply because of the amount of sugar (carbs) in them.
The first thing you need to recognize is that carbohydrates are not nutrition, by themselves. They simply offer a path to get that nutrition into your body. Carbohydrates are complex sugars that are turned into fat, the kind of fat your body doesn’t use that much. When you eat fruits and vegetables, you’re eating carbohydrates, but the tradeoff of the nutrition you’re getting with the small amount of sugar that comes with it makes it worth the trade-off.
That means you need to weigh the nutrition you’re getting from the food against the number of empty starchy carbs that you’re putting into that same system. Does this food offer enough nutrition for all the carbs you’re getting out of it? If so, is it worth the tradeoff?
This is where grains based foods fall short. None of them have enough nutrition to counterbalance the number of carbs they put into your system. The sugar overload is just too much. This is because of their easily digestible fiberless carbohydrates that are made from flour and sugar. Despite what others say, any food that’s made out of whole wheat has hardly any fiber that’s worth anything. What fiber it had was lost as soon as it was milled into flour and it’s the flour that you need to make any bread product, like pastries, pasta, cereals, tortillas, crackers, cookies, cakes. Without milling the flour, the grain can’t be used to make any of the comfort foods that everyone loves to eat so much. This is what makes the food so satiating or satisfying, the amount of sugar it immediately dumps into your body to create more fat. This is also what makes it addictive, but then, you know that by now. For ideas of how to eliminate this from your diet, see Carbs, How To Cut Back.
Quite possibly the most important carbs to avoid are the ones you drink. The ones that come from sodas, fruits drinks and juices and worst of all alcohol, especially grain alcohol should be avoided at all costs. Rule # 1 when it comes to cutting your carbs, is to stop drinking your calories. Those calories are truly worthless calories and should be the first to be removed from your diet.
Too often though, these carbs are the most addictive making them the hardest to stop. We all know how addictive alcohol is. Where does most drinkable alcohol come from? Carbohydrates, like fruit and grains. Both make ethanol, ethyl alcohol, which is the predominant alcohol in alcoholic beverages” This means that they are concentrated sugars, waiting to create fat in your Fat Factory. Obviously, this is a whole other world to the sins of sugar. That’s why drinking your calories, should be at the top of your list, NOT TO DO.
What to do? If you have to have something sweet, don’t use artificial sweeteners, as many of those are more fattening than sugar itself or they carry implications of causing cancer. I use Stevia. It’s natural and it’s very sweet. Too much of it though can be bitter. As well as being completely natural, it has 0 calories, nor is it linked to cancer in any way, shape or form. I sweeten my green tea with it. (I still haven’t been able to drink my tea without it or lemon juice.) I also sweeten my hot chocolate with it.
If you’re not lactose intolerant, dairy products are a great source of protein. If you are lactose intolerant, you can still enjoy some cheeses, as they also make an excellent source of protein (clean protein if it comes from grass-fed cows). I’ve known a lot of lactose intolerant people who ate cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese and sour cream without any problems. All of those are good sources of protein.
I can see where that might raise concerns for someone who it lactose intolerant, but “ripened cheeses like Cheddar contain only about 5% of the lactose found in whole milk, and aged cheeses contain almost none. Wikipedia also says about the lactose in cheese, “Cheese is often avoided by those who are lactose intolerant, but ripened cheeses like Cheddar contain only about 5% of the lactose found in whole milk, and aged cheeses contain almost none.
Nevertheless, people with severe lactose intolerance should avoid eating dairy cheese. As a natural product, the same kind of cheese may contain different amounts of lactose on different occasions, causing unexpected painful reactions. Yet, I had a friend who was lactose intolerant and loved to eat cheese. According to Wikipedia, “For a few cheeses, the milk is curdled by adding acids such as vinegar or lemon juice. Most cheeses are acidified to a lesser degree by bacteria, which turn milk sugars into lactic acid, then the addition of rennet completes the curdling.”
Dr Perlmutter has a number of lactose intolerant patients whose symptoms cleared up, simply by stopping their consumption of wheat. What was thought to be lactose intolerance was actually gluten intolerance. Because once the gluten was removed from the diet, lactose could be re-introduced again back into the diet with no severe reactions. No other doctor, at the time though, thought that something made from a staple food such as bread could ever cause something so bad – gluten intolerance. I guess they never read any of the studies. They all thought that the only gluten intolerance was that of celiac disease. little did they know that 90% of the population have some sort of intolerance to gluten. I happen to be one of those people. If you’re overweight, you are too.
What I eat most of, myself, are raw nuts. They’re super high in clean protein and fats making them very nutritious calories to use to fuel my body. I say clean protein because wheat has protein also, but it’s not clean. It’s a very dirty protein, as it comes with carbohydrates and carbohydrates are the bane of healthy protein because they have a tendency to bend the protein into misshaped amyloids, which are the basis of the deadliest of diseases, both cancer and heart disease. And that’s not to mention what it does to the brain. Amyloid plaque is associated with half of the cancers and Atheroma plaque is the biggest player in cardiovascular diseases. And these are only two of the 4 different kinds of plaque caused by this food. That, to me is the definition of dirty protein, especially when you look at what it does to the body.
When people ask me, what exactly I do eat? I say everything but grains and high starch foods, which actually includes more than grains. It includes potatoes, parsnips and even sweet potatoes. It doesn’t include yams, though. They’re tubers and have a lot more fiber than potatoes and sweet potatoes, making them much more difficult to digest quickly. Because of their fiber, they’re actually digested slowly making their glycemic load much lower than their glycemic index number which is still low.
When I stopped my bread ingestion, I replaced those lost calories in my diet with a lot of yams. They’re high in beta-carotene and they taste great. I got in the habit of carrying a baked yam with me, just so I had it to gnaw on, whenever I was hungry.
You basically can’t go wrong eating those truly high fiber carbohydrates. Almost all vegetables are excellent sources of nutrition. The nutrition to carb ratio is worth the tradeoff because the carbs are so slow to digest, lessening their impact on the blood glucose. I say almost because some vegetables are primarily starch and have little nutritional benefit for the body. Potatoes and parsnips fall into this category.
If you’re not a vegetarian, meats are excellent sources of clean protein, as most meats have more iron in them than other sources of protein. Eggs are another excellent source of protein and vitamins and minerals, all essential to your health. Dr. Perlmutter likes to remind us of the old egg commercials of the Incredible, Edible Egg. I still remember the jingle. Eggs are an excellent source of protein and cholesterol. Remember, cholesterol is your friend. Your brain uses cholesterol. Your body uses cholesterol. Your immune system uses cholesterol. There are only a few parts of your body where it isn’t important.
What should you fear while choosing your foods? Fear the substance that glycates cholesterol, glucose. It’s glucose in the system that gums it up and keeps it from running efficiently. You might find after you cease your intake of wheat and grain products that your options to eat other foods that used to be off-limits to you, may be more easier to eat, now. It’s happened for a lot of other people, who’s to say it can’t happen to you? The important thing is to keep track of what you eat and where it falls on the glycemic index.