Carbs: friend or foe? Nutrionist Romer Estrada guides us through the glycemic index, and why you shouldn’t cut out carbohydrates altogether.
We have heard so much about how carbohydrates are the antagonists in our diets. With the throng of bad raps inflicted on this nutrient, such as being the chief suspect to the proliferation of diabetes, the reason for the uncontainable spike of obesity, or worse, a cancer causing food item that should be avoided at all possible cost, it’s possible for our imagination to stir a devil out of this nutrient.
With all honesty, there are actually lots of ill effects that you can attribute to carbohydrates. Nonetheless, there are flaws in the claims that ALL carbohydrates are evil and should not be consumed, and one of those is the dreadful weight gain that comes with eating carbs. But is it really logical to scrap it from our meals just to be safe?
No. In fact, consuming this nutrient properly will give more beneficial effects and none of those adverse outcomes at all! As for the weight loss, consuming the right amount of good quality carbohydrates will definitely give you an advantage in your pursuit of a healthier weight. But how will we know if a source is good or bad? Let me introduce to you the Glycemic Index.
Originally used by diabetics, the Glycemic Index is the list of carbohydrates that categorizes sources in various degrees. Carbohydrates break down into glucose, which eventually disperses in our bloodstream. When it comes to glucose content, each carbohydrate source has a different level of speed of dispersion, therefore knowing which source that gives the least glucose spikes would definitely help.
Aside from predisposition to diabetes, high blood sugar elevates the chances of weight gain. Your body’s insulin keeps the blood sugar at a desirable level by bringing the excess glucose to your liver and muscles for storage. But once the storages are full, the remaining glucose will then be converted to fat. In the glycemic index, the higher the score of the carbohydrate source in the list, the faster it disperses sugar. And the faster the sugar disperses in your blood stream, the more excess glucose is expected to be converted to fat unless immediately used.
Many weight watchers are using this list to have a more definite guide to which carbohydrate sources should be included in their plates. Though we cannot instantly tell which source is better than the other, the basic hint here is to limit the consumption of white starches (white rice, bread, etc.) and table sugar, while adhering to healthier options such as whole grain and lesser processed items such brown rice, oats, rye bread, and anything grainy. Consumption of these carbohydrates would ensure a steadier release of glucose on our blood, thus avoiding the instant conversion of excess sugar into fat.
Following fly-by-night information can be tempting, but we should not be easily petrified by a claim that isn’t supported by sufficient evidence. Ask your dietitian for any concerns about your diet. They always know what’s best to recommend depending on your needs.