eat the right carbohydrates

Eat the RIGHT carbohydrates

Carbohydrates found in starchy foods have the biggest impact on blood glucose. Some foods cause a slow steady rise, while others elevate blood glucose quickly and to a much higher level. Higher peaks mean steeper drops, often causing blood glucose to dip to levels lower than before you ate – when this happens, your energy stalls and hunger strikes again sending you on a blood sugar roller coaster.

The Glycemic Index (GI) is a system that rates foods according to how fast and how high they raise blood glucose. High GI foods cause the greatest boost in blood glucose. People who eat a lot of these foods tend to carry more fat around their waists. Low GI foods give a smaller, slower, steadier rise in blood glucose. The GI index classifies food between 1 and 100 (lowest GI to highest GI).

Here are some examples of low, medium and high GI foods:

Low (55 or less) Medium (56-69) High (70 or more)
  • 100% Whole grain bread
  • Bran Buds with psyllium fibre
  • Large flake oats
  • Barley
  • Whole grain pasta/noodles
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Sprouted grain bread
  • Beans, peas and lentils
  • Rye bread
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Quick cooking oats
  • Cream of Wheat
  • Basmati or brown rice
  • Sweet corn
  • Popcorn
  • White bread
  • Cornflakes
  • White rice
  • Potatoes
  • Rice cakes

Ask your Copeman dietitian for a more complete list.

Research shows that eating a low glycemic index diet minimizes ups and downs in blood glucose levels which can help to:

  • Control hunger and appetite levels
  • Stabilize blood glucose and energy levels
  • Control cholesterol levels
  • Lower risk of developing heart disease and Type 2 diabetes

The glycemic index is only one tool to help us make healthy food choices. Regular balanced meals in reasonable portions are the basis for good nutrition.

5 Quick tips for putting the Glycemic Index into practice:
  1. Plan your meals with foods with low to medium glycemic indexes
  2. Enjoy vegetables, fruits and low-fat milk with your meals
  3. Choose breakfast cereals based on oats, barley and bran
  4. Use whole grain and sprouted grain breads
  5. Eat potatoes less often or substitute with sweet potatoes

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Are you interested in learning more about other macro-nutrients?
Check out our guide.

Copeman’s Definitive Guide to Healthy Eating Habits