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Glycemic Index in Grains & Pasta
We all love pasta and grains, but sadly, they're some of the least healthy foods around! Why is this? Simple: it's all thanks to the carbs!
You see, carbs are the first thing absorbed into your body. They are taken to the liver and turned into glucose, which is basically a form of energy your body can use. But glucose is sugar, and too much sugar can cause problems. Your body responds by lowering sugar levels, leading to EXCESSIVELY low blood sugar levels--causing fatigue.
It's unhealthy to have high blood sugar levels, as that can lead to insulin resistance. Remember that insulin is the hormone that lowers blood sugar. Pasta and grains are rich in carbs, but they have very little or no fiber to slow down the absorption rate. They are absorbed too quickly into your body, leading to high blood sugar levels.
The G.I. food list below shows the Glycemic Index score for many basic grains and pasta. The G.I score for each food will dictate the speed at which the sugar will be absorbed.
- A low Glycemic index means the sugar will be absorbed slowly.
- The higher the G.I score the quicker the sugar is absorbed into the blood.
For reduced sugar craving and help with weight loss the lower the G.I score then the better.
Note: All foods on our G.I tables are based on 100g (3.5 oz) of product. The portion size doesn't change the Glycemic Index value, but it does count towards the quantity of sugar (carbs) for the item; the bigger the portion the more sugar you would be consuming.
Here's one important thing to keep in mind: a high GI score doesn't make a food good or bad. Some of the highest-GI foods are still fairly healthy. It’s all about the amount of fiber in the food. The more fiber a food has, the longer it will take your body to absorb the food.
The Glycemic Index only looks at how many grams of carbs each food item has, but the Glycemic Load looks at both fiber and carbs. The Glycemic Load of a food will tell you how much of a strain it will place on your body. The lower the Glycemic Load, the slower it will be absorbed into your body. Even if the food is high in carbs, if it's high in fiber, it can still be healthy!
If you want to eat pasta and grain, here are a few tips to help you do it right:
- Mix it with veggies! The fiber in the veggies will slow down the rate at which your body absorbs the carbs from the pasta, and the overall glycemic load will be much lower than it would be had you eaten the pasta alone.
- Find high fiber varieties. You may not like buckwheat noodles, quinoa, or barley, but they're much healthier than egg noodles and refined wheat. They contain much more fiber (and nutrients), so they will have a lower glycemic load on your body.
- Eat less. The glycemic load of pasta and grains is measured according to a particular serving size (100 grams, in the case of the list above). To reduce the glycemic load, eat less of the pasta. If a food has a glycemic load of 50 for 100 grams, it will only have a glycemic load of 25 for 50 grams.
It's vital that you understand what you're putting into your body, and realize that the WAY you eat is almost more important than WHAT you eat in the long run!