Carbohydrates have received a lot of bad press over the years, being blamed as the sole reason that individuals gain weight and experience cravings for sweets. Although consuming a diet predominantly made up of foods high in carbohydrates can lead to weight gain, this can happen with a variety of foods, not just the “dreaded bread”. Carbohydrates can be very beneficial to your health; which leads us to the glycemic index. Ever heard of it?
The Glycemic Index (GI) is a rating given to foods high in carbohydrates that indicates the degree to which a food or drink will raise your blood sugars after consuming it. Foods with a high GI increase blood sugars faster and higher than those with a lower GI. Lower GI foods help keep blood sugars stable throughout the day, which can lead to a number of health benefits. These include weight loss or maintenance, a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes and its complications and a decreased risk of heart disease and stroke.
The common denominator of these foods is fibre. The more fibre, the lower the GI and the fuller you will feel after your meals. So, in order to make sure you are choosing foods lower in GI more often, take a look at the fibre content. Options that contain whole grains, are minimally processed and are less sweet tend to be among this group. Consider some of these substitutions to help incorporate healthier carbohydrates into your diet.
- Whole grain bread or wraps instead of white bread
- All Bran or steel cut oats instead of the sugary sweet cereals
- Quinoa, parboiled or converted rice instead of jasmine rice or instant rice
- Apples, oranges or berries instead of overripe bananas
Remember, there are no "good" or "bad" foods, but choosing options that will benefit your health more often is something to strive toward. Opt for lower glycemic index foods and feel confident in your choice to lead a balanced and energized life.