Enjoy Healthy Carbs

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Filed Under: Diet, General Health
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

The glycemic index is an update on the old distinction between simple carbohydrates (white sugar, brown sugar, honey, corn syrup, fructose, and other simple sugars) and complex carbohydrates (starches and fibers made up of many sugar molecules bonded or chained together). It provides an accurate way to evaluate foods according to how quickly they are metabolized into glucose, which is the body’s primary source of energy.

Foods with a high glycemic index enter the bloodstream quickly, prompting a rapid rise in blood sugar followed by an equally dramatic drop a few hours later. Fueling your body with these quick-burning carbohydrates can leave you feeling tired, hungry, and irritable.

On the other hand, foods with a low glycemic index are a dieter’s best friend. These foods are broken down more slowly, promoting a slower release of glucose. They provide a sustained source of energy and satisfy your hunger over the long haul.

Vegetables, modest amounts of nuts and seeds, and a little low-glycemic fruit should be a big part of your diet. These foods contain an abundance of health-enhancing nutrients. They’re also excellent sources of fiber, which, among its many attributes, is very satiating. In addition to filling you up, fiber stimulates the release of a hormone in your intestines that signals satiety.

Limit your carbohydrate intake to about 10 grams per meal and five grams per snack. This may not sound like much, but it would be tough to eat enough salad and green vegetables at one sitting to get those 10 grams. Because fruits contain more natural sugars, I recommend only moderate amounts (one serving per day) if you’re trying to lose weight.
 

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