Frequently Asked Low Glycemic Questions

What is the Glycemic Index?

The Glycemic Index (GI) ranks carbohydrate foods according to their effect on blood glucose levels. Foods that score high on the 1 to 100 GI ranking are rapidly absorbed and result in sharp blood sugar peaks (also called spikes). That effect is called the Glucoload or (GL).
Low GI foods — because they are slowly digested and absorbed by the cells of the body — generally produce gradual increases in blood sugar levels and so their “glucoload” scores are lower.

What is a Low GL?
A GL of ten or less is low. Scores of 11-19 fall in the medium range, and scores of 20+ indicate high gluco loads.

Why Do I Have to Pay Attention to the Amount of Carbohydrate I Eat?

The fact is that not all carbohydrate foods are equal. Unfortunately, the American Diabetes Association, a wonderful organization that sponsors much of the research in the field of diabetes, is mired in the past and doesn’t recognize this.
In the opinion of hundreds of experts – the ADA’s food recommendations are almost criminally too high when it comes to carbohydrates. Eating too many carbs causes blood sugar spikes and resulting lows which are directly related to the epidemic of obesity sweeping industrialized nations.

In 1999 the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended that people in first world (industrialized) nations base their diets on low-GI foods to prevent the most common diseases of civilization including coronary heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

Study after study has shown that low GI eating improves blood levels of both glucose and lipids (fats, particularly the “bad guy” cholesterol).

Several relatively recent eye-opening studies conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health indicate that the risks of diseases such as Type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease are strongly related to high GI scores of the overall diet!

So, What Should I Be Eating or Drinking?

Here’s What to Eat for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and as Snacks:

Breakfast: Pack in the protein – eggs, beans, cheese, peanut (or almond) butter, grilled chicken, lean beef, fish, turkey and other high-protein sources such as high protein, low- carb meal replacement bars or shakes (see some options at: www.maurybreecher.tsfl.com).

Why high protein at the beginning of the day? It ensures that you will have MORE energy all day long. Avoid high glycemic, high carbohydrate foods. It’s the sugar spikes and following crashes that cause weight gain, high blood lipids, and eventual arteriosclerosis as well as that fatigued, tired, “can’t keep going” feeling when a sugar spike crashes by mid-morning so, with the exception of low- carb oatmeal and a few dry cereals, I usually avoid carb loading in the morning.

Mid-Morning or Mid-Afternoon Snack If you get up early, later that morning, or midway between lunch and dinner, you may need an energy-providing snack. Reach for a high-protein, low- carb meal replacement bar or some fresh fruit. If you need a mid-morning snack, feel free to enjoy the snacks listed as “afternoon” or “evening” snacks. You can eat those foods at any time.

Indeed, mid-morning or mid-afternoon snacking is a good time to pick fruit as a snack. Fruit is tasty, quick, and not too messy if you remember to grab a paper towel or napkin before biting in!

How to remember which fruits are best for anyone, including people with Type 2 diabetes?

Just think about those that stain — blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries. Also, consider an apple, pear, or banana, or maybe even a nice ripe orange. However, if you haven’t already made a habit of it, test your blood sugar levels before eating fruit and then two hours after. Learn what each type of fruit does to your individual blood sugar levels.
You won’t have to test after every snack, just do it once for each fruit to find out what it does to your blood sugar levels. Apples and pears are low (55 or less) on the Glycemic Index (GI) scale which ranks many carbohydrate from 1 to 100 in comparison to sugar/glucose (and consequently their GLs are low too. The GI of bananas is usually in the medium range (46-69) and their GL scores also scored as medium (11-19). Still, bananas raise the blood sugar levels of many too high and too fast to eat them on a regular basis.  Choose a banana which is slightly under-ripe.  Nutritionists recommend eating half a banana to maintain more stable blood sugar levels.

Oranges are often ranked midway (56-79) on the GI scale, in between the low (55 or less) and high (70 to 100) glycemic scores, but some oranges, depending on the region of or the country where they were grown, are very sweet and they can be very high on the GI scale (70 to 100). Nevertheless, the amount of natural fiber in oranges usually lowers the GL scores of oranges splendidly to between 2.9 and 4.7 on that scale so we can enjoy an orange for a morning snack – that is, as long as we eat the pulp.

Lunch: Lean meat or other protein sources combined with non-starchy carbohydrates. For example, chicken or fish combined with salad, green beans, squash, spinach, broccoli, peas, or asparagus. Nutritionists recommend that we all eat five servings of vegetables and fruit per day. These are powerhouses of nutrition, providing much needed fiber as well as high levels of vitamins and minerals to keep our bodies strong and healthy. Watch our recipes for tantalizing ways to include more healthful fruits and vegetables in your diet.

Dinner: Always have a source of lean protein with your dinner meal.  This is the time for complex carbohydrates such as pasta, brown rice, low- carb whole grain bread, and (surprise), even oatmeal cereal (who says you can’t have oatmeal for dinner or for a snack? Nobody!

Be careful though about how much carbohydrate you eat at any one meal. While most of the complex carbohydrate recipes supplied here are low glycemic, they still contain carbohydrates that convert to glucose (sugar) in your bloodstream. Eating too much at one time will eventually raise your blood sugar higher than is healthy for you.

Generally, try to limit your carbohydrate intake to 30 grams or less per meal or snack. Be especially careful of corn. Avoid it most of the time. Corn is not low glycemic. It is ranked as moderate to high on the GI scale. Now you realize why most farmers call it “sweet corn” and use it to fatten up their cattle! Additionally, food companies convert corn into corn syrup, the cause, according to many experts, of most of the obesity in the Americas.

What Can I Drink?
Here’s a news flash: If you avoid the sugar spikes, you won’t need coffee for its caffeine. Instead, enjoy herbal teas, decaffeinated green tea, caffeine-free Yogi Tea (that’s a brand name). Egyptian licorice is my favorite because it is naturally sweet but doesn’t raise blood sugar). You may also drink caffeine-free Charantea (Another brand name; it’s an all-natural tea made from the fruit of Ampalaya plant. It makers claim it “helps maintain normal blood sugar levels.” I can’t vouch for this statement, but it is a pleasant tasting tea.

O.K., it’s time to get to get more detailed and give you specific day-by-day recipes. By now, every week you should have received in your e-mail sample low-glycemic recipes, sometimes even an entire day of menus. However, to get the full benefits of the low glycemic lifestyle you should learn what to cook and what to order from restaurants every day.

Never again will you have to ask yourself, “What can I eat?” And, because of the wide variety of foods and flavors in these delicious, healthy meals, you’ll never suffer from taste fatigue again.


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