I have come across many people want to feel better about themselves after having a cheat meal / cheat day or something that they know is unhealthy, but they want to convince themselves that it can be cancelled out by doing something extra that day. These are the terms I hear almost on a daily basis:
– I joined the gym so I could eat everything.
– I had a cake now, so I won’t have lentils in the night. The calories will be canceled out.
– It’s Diet Coke, better than consuming fruit juice calories. (PS: Read my article on pH Balance here).
– I’ve had Pizza, it’s healthy, look its good these vegetables on top plus I’ll walk tomorrow morning and “burn off” the extra calories.
– Protein is not good for you (while munching on the donut)
– I don’t take sugar, I take equal, zero calories! (PS: Read my article on pH Balance here).
– Carbohydrates are bad for you (This one is a classic and we’ll get into why carbs that are labeled “evil” are really not so).
Contrary to what you may hear, not all calories are created equal. A spoon of sugar versus a spoon of Honey are totally two different things. Ginger + Honey is a wonderful example of how the combination can soothe cough and sugar does not do anything at all.
But honey has more calories……
True, honey has more calories and both are carbohydrates, but work very differently once it is absorbed by the system.
Let’s talk about Glycemic Index
What has Glycemic Index to do with carbohydrates? Often, folks who are diabetic, are required to avoid ‘Simple Carbohydrates’ and consume more ‘ Complex Carbohydrates’, this is in-line with the concept of ‘Not all calories are created equal’. Think about it, a bowl of white rice has almost the same calories as a bowl of brown rice, but White Rice is a simple carb and Brown Rice is a complex carb. So, for folks with diabetes, Brown Rice is recommended and White Rice can cause more health problems. Why does this happen?
The Glycemic Index (GI) is a measure of how a particular food (mostly carbohydrates) affect the glucose in our blood levels. A carb with high GI (Simple Carb) causes high glucose fluctuations whereas carb with Low GI (Complex Carb) causes low(er) fluctuations.
How does the fluctuation affect my health??
High glucose fluctuations cause higher insulin to be released to stabilize the sugar level in the body. It is pushing your body to the extreme. Spikes in blood glucose levels are BAD for the health. After the large insulin release, the body goes into ‘Crash’ mode and you’re hungry all over again. If, on the other hand, a Complex carb is consumed, the insulin release is slow, gradual, feeling full over a longer period of time and giving you more energy throughout the day! That’s a good thing, isn’t it?
Choosing foods with low GI will be overall beneficial for the health, even though the amount of calories is the same! Here are a few benefits of foods with lower GI:
1) Lose and Manage weight.
2) Increase Insulin sensitivity.
3) Improve Diabetes Management.
4) Feel full for a longer time and have more sustained energy throughout the day.
GI is measured on scale of 100, the Higher the GI, more detrimental it is for your health.
GI greater than 70 is High
GI ranging from 50 – 60 is Moderate
GI less than 50 is Low.
Let’s go over a few of the regular foods with their GI score:
– White Bread – 71 (High)
– Wheat Bread – 50 (Low)
– Apple – 38 (Low)
– Banana – 54 (Low)
– Carrots – 20 (Low)
– Broccoli – 15 (Low)
– Black Beans – 30 (Low)
– Potato – 85 (High)
– Sweet Potato – 54 (Low)
– Shakeology – 24 (Low)
The list above is just an example of some of the foods, note how Shakeology has shown to improve digestion, reduce cravings and sustained energy for a longer period of time, partly because it has a low GI. Whatever food you choose to eat, do make sure to choose more low GI foods and be selective.
Check out this Video that talks about Glycemic Index for Shakeology
Avoid any simple carbohydrate, White Rice, White Flour, Sugars, etc. Eat more whole foods, and get sugars from fruits, Complex carbohydrates such as Oats (unsweetened), Brown Rice, Quinoa, Wheat Flour, Sweet Potato, Amaranth, etc.
As a rule of exception, for athletes, immediately Post Workout, High GI with some protein is recommended for immediate delivery of nutrients. This is an exception and you must EARN this recovery drink when you have totally drained yourself.
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