Carbohydrate Intake

Low G.I Vs High GI

Carbohydrates are our body’s preferred energy source as our digestive system breaks down the carbohydrate into a simple chemical compound called Glucose (glycogen).

Glucose is released into our blood stream and is transported by insulin to provide energy throughout the body. Insulin, which is created in the pancreas, is required to keep blood sugar levels low. Without insulin, glucose can not enter our cells therefore can’t be used by our body as energy. Insulin’s job is to bring blood sugars down by storing the glucose and the body will use it as required.

Some carbohydrates can enter our blood stream quickly, and others can enter our blood stream a lot slower giving a more sustained release of energy. To maximise your carbohydrate nutrition, timing is a key important factor.

The glycemic index {GI} indicates how quickly blood sugar levels will raise after consumption of a specific carbohydrate based food. Furthermore, these carbohydrates are categorised into fast, medium, and slow releasing carbohydrates. Fast acting is numbered from 70-100, medium acting is 55-70, and a slow is from 55 and under. This rating can be found on some food packaging.


It’s all a question of timing!

High GI containing foods Are foods that are released quickly into the blood stream and so are considered as foods that will cause our bodies to store fat.

Let’s have a look as to why ?

When we eat a high, or fast releasing carbohydrate meal the glucose that has been derived from digesting the meal will be carried to the cells by insulin, if not required at that specific moment. This action will force our muscles to store glucose, or if it is really high in GI the glucose will be stored as fat {excess energy is always stored as fat}.

Slow G.I Containing Foods:

These foods are released slowly therefore our digestive system will slowly release the glucose into our bloodstream having no chance to be stored as fat. Now if it is released slowly then it’s less likely you will be storing fat as you would when eating high GI foods. So the point here is to eat carbohydrates that are low GI, (slow releasing carbohydrates) throughout the day, therefore your body is getting a steady release of energy, without storing the unnecessary amount as fat, and furthermore it will power you through the day.

There is a time when High GI foods are best received by the body and that is straight after training. Those who recommend diet consisting solely of low GI foods are ill advising their clients. When we exercise our bodies we use glycogen which is stored in our muscles for energy, after we have finished training our glycogen levels are depleted and need replenishing fast. The reasoning is it needs a fast acting carbohydrate to shuttle through protein {to rebuild muscle} and replenish energy stores. Now I am not talking about Coca cola’s or kids soft drinks. I am talking about a natural sugar, for example Oranges, Cherries, Apricots, Nectarines, and some sports drinks containing fructose. An ideal meal after training would be a glass of orange juice and a nice grilled chicken breast.

Below is a list of high, moderate and low GI foods: Low GI Foods All bran cereals, Barley, Apple juice, Grape fruit, Berries, Muesli cereal, Apples, Strawberries, Milk {low fat}, Wild rice, Beans, Brown rice, Peas, Plums, Soybeans, Yogurt {no added sugar} .

Moderate G.I Foods

Basmati rice, Sweet potato, Buckwheat, Raisins, Cereal {low sugar}, Whole wheat bread, Pasta, Yogurts {with some added sugar}, Spaghetti, Noodles, Oatmeal .

HI G.I Foods

Good for after training Apricots, Cherries, Nectarines, Mango, Orange juice, Breakfast cereals {refined with added sugar}, Corn flakes, Pancakes, Muffins, Sports drinks {containing dextrose and fructose}, Watermelon, White bread, Bananas, White rice Bad No matter when Chocolate,Soft drinks, Hamburgers, Doughnuts, Hot dogs, Corn chips,Crackers, Potatoe chips, Ice cream, Kids cereals, Toaster waffles.


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