Carbohydrates are an essential source of energy for the body; however, in a world where diets that restrict carbohydrate intakes, such as the low carb diet and the ketogenic diet, are pretty famous, many people may consider the nutrient as the villain in good shape.
While these diets that significantly reduce carbs work for some people and help them lose weight, that doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone needs to cut carbs.
Consume Low Glycemic Index Carbohydrates
The glycemic index is a measure that was developed to explain how different foods rich in carbohydrates directly affect blood sugar (glucose) levels. This index ranks carbohydrates on a scale from 0 to 100 and is based on how fast and how much they raise blood glucose levels after eating the food in which they are present.
The scale is divided as follows:
- Low glycemic index foods score 55 or lower in the ranking.
- Medium glycemic index foods are between 56 to 69.
- High glycemic index foods have a score between 70 to 100.
While high glycemic index carbohydrates are digested quickly and cause significant fluctuations in blood sugar levels, low glycemic index carbohydrates are digested more slowly, causing a more gradual rise in blood sugar levels.
Consuming too many high glycemic index carbohydrates causes powerful spikes in blood glucose levels. As blood glucose rises, the pancreas produces insulin, the hormone responsible for stimulating cells to absorb glucose from the blood to use it for energy or store it elsewhere in the body.
These spikes in glucose and insulin are closely linked to the storage of fats in the body. Not to mention that spikes in blood glucose levels are followed by drops in these rates, creating hunger. A more gradual increase in blood sugar levels, promoted by carbohydrates with a lower glycemic index, allows better appetite control.
In other words, healthy dietary carbohydrates are released more slowly in the form of glucose into the bloodstream and do not cause unwanted spikes in glucose and insulin in the body.
But what are these healthy sources of carbohydrates? The list includes all kinds of beans, chickpeas, lentils, peas, oats, quinoa, and soy. The absorption and digestion of carbohydrates in these foods are slower because, in addition to containing carbohydrates, they also have proteins and fibers that precisely slow down this process.
Always Add Fiber To Meals
We’ve just learned that fiber helps slow the absorption and digestion of carbohydrates. Adding fiber to the dish is good for preventing the meal’s carbohydrates in question from causing blood glucose spikes that hinder getting in good shape.
The list of good foods that serve as a source of fiber covers examples such as oat bran, flaxseed, and chia, for example. Find out about other fiber-rich foods for your diet.
Don’t Forget About Healthy Fats
Adding foods with healthy fats to a carb recipe is also a good idea, as they are another nutrient that slows the absorption of carbs. Food with more fat takes longer to digest in the stomach and passes more slowly to the intestine and bloodstream.
But which foods provide healthy fats to the diet? In addition to containing fiber, chia and flaxseed are also sources of healthy fats. At the same time, olive oil and avocado are other examples of food that have good fats in their composition. Discover other foods rich in good fats.
Combining Carbohydrates And Proteins
Since protein also slows the absorption of carbohydrates and helps prevent carbohydrates from causing the insulin and glucose spikes that hinder the weight loss process, including protein in carbohydrate meals is also an excellent strategy.
But they should be healthy protein sources, such as high biological value proteins, lean and complete proteins, and complete vegetarian proteins: no processed meats and sausages like ham, bologna, sausage, sausage, and nuggets.
For example, instead of eating only one fruit (which is a food with carbohydrates, although there are low-carb fruits ) in the afternoon snack, the recommendation is to combine the portion of fruit with a source of protein such as natural yogurt. Another possibility is to combine the potato (baked or boiled, never fried) with a chicken filet or egg.
It is essential to keep in mind that consuming pure carbohydrates without the company of protein, fiber, or healthy fats is always worse, as the tendency to cause an insulin spike will be greater. As already highlighted here, the insulin spike is related to fat storage.
Do Not Overdo The Number Of Carbohydrates
It is possible to lose weight. Even consuming carbohydrates does not mean that you can fill up on carbohydrates and still lose weight. A mistake that cannot be made is to think that decreasing the glycemic index of a food is the same as decreasing its amount of carbohydrates, which is not valid. The glycemic index does not refer to the number of carbohydrates in food but the speed of absorption of these carbohydrates.
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