If you’re like me you hear words like “insulin” , “blood sugar” and “glycemic” and you wonder what the heck are we talking about here. What do they mean? And how do I need to understand these to keep healthy.
For this reason let’s take a look into “good carbs” and “bad carbs” and how to make the right decisions to help you get the most out of your fitness goals.
Let’s quickly go over these terms so we have a clear understanding of each of them
- Glycemic Index – A numerical index given to a carbohydrate-rich food that is based on the average increase in blood glucose levels occurring after the food is eaten.
- Insulin – a peptinde hormone that helps regulate the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats, especially the conversion of glucose to glycogen, and promotes protein synthesis
- Blood Sugar – blood sugar concentration or blood glucose level is the amount of glucose (sugar) present in the blood of a human or animal. The body naturally tightly regulates blood glucose levels as a part of metabolic homeostasis.
- Glucose – sugar in the body
Are Carbs Good or Bad?
Contrary to certain diets carbs are an essential part of our daily nutrition. However, not all carbs are created equal. Cells in our body need carbs for energy. They are crucial for brain functioning and power vital organs such as your: heart, lungs, liver and kidneys.
“Not all carbs are created equal…”
There are two types of carbs.
Good carbs are also referred to as complex carbs. These are the good quality found in high fiber nutrient rich foods like whole grain bread, brown rice whole wheat pasta and beans. Complex carbs take longer to digest and fuel our bodies slowly and evenly over a longer period of time. This kind of carbs can provide energy during your workout and eating them prior to exercising will spare the amount of energy that has to be used by the muscles which enable you to workout harder and longer.Their chemical structure and fibers require our bodies to work harder to digest and energy is released over a long period of time.
For the most part good carbs are in their natural state or very close to it. Some of which include: whole grain breads, cereals and pastas.
- High in fiber and nutrients
- Low glycemic index
- Help you feel fuller with fewer calories
- Naturally stimulates metabolism
Bad carbs are refered to as simple carbs. These are the naturally produced sugars found in fruit and refined and processed foods like white bread and sugary drinks. These smaller molecules of sugar that our digested quickly into our body and diverted into glucose (sugar) in our body. These are used up quickly providing short bursts of energy but lead to fatigue. The energy is stored as glycogen in our cells and if not used immediately they turn into fat.
Bad carbs are generally processed carb foods that have been stripped of their natural nutrients and fiber to make them consumer friendly.
- Low in fiber and nutrients
- High Glycemic index
- Empty calories converted to fat
- High blood glucose levels=Feel tired
Nutritionist are becoming increasingly aware of the health benefits associated with good quality carbs and the problems with simple carbs. The glycemic index is an important parameter for when you are trying to lose weight and get all the nutrients that you can while not taking in a lot of sugar. It’s basically the numeric value based on how a carb effect our blood glucose levels. The GI scale goes from 1-100 where the higher number is given to foods that will cause a rapid increase in blood sugar.
Why Do We Care?
Your body does it’s best when your blood sugar is kept consistent. If it drops to low you can feel lethargic or hungry. If it’s to high, your body releases insulin which will bring your blood sugar back down BUT converting the excess sugar into FAT.
Glycemic Index For Common Foods.
The table below shows values of the Glycemic Index (GI) and Glycemic Load (GL) for a few common foods. GI’s of 55 or below are considered low, and 70 or above are considered high. GL’s of 10 or below are considered low, and 20 or above are considered high. For example Team Beachbody’s Shakeology (my favorite supplement) has a GI score of only 24. Click here to check out Shakeology’s Glycemic Index.
Read More http://nutritiondata.self.com/topics/glycemic-index#ixzz2CmQdiSpQ
Check out this video, it will explain the Glycemic Index and how Shakeology fits into the index.
It’s not necessary to have to memorize the entire index. The best rule of thumb would be to locate and remember those that are considered high and try to avoid them. Some foods may contain the same amount of carbs, but like we just learned above, not all carbs are the same. Just by knowing a little about the glycemic index we can understand how some foods are better for us than others.
I know there is a lot to learn here but what we need to take away from this is that keeping our bodies fueled with a sustained source of low releasing energy is the best way to reach your goals. So try to stay with high quality proteins and carbs with a low GI.
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