By understanding the glycemic index and glycemic load, we can choose better ways of eating carbohydrates that will not cause chaotic swings in the blood glucose level. The guidelines are as follows:
- Avoid high GI/GL carbohydrates as far as possible;
- Avoid combining two or more types of high GI / GL carbohydrates;
- Avoid combining high- with medium-GI / GL carbohydrates. Instead, combine them with Low Gl carbohydrates, or with proteins, fats, fibers and other foods that slow down digestion and glucose absorption. The list below gives examples of better versus poorer choices of carbohydrate combinations:
- White bread with jam
- Refined flour pancakes with maple syrup / honey
- Cornflakes and sweetened breakfast cereals
- White rice with potatoes, carrots and other starchy root vegetables Chocolate bars Bananas
- Wholemeal bread with butter / olive oil / sardines / baked beans / vegetables
- Oatmeal pancakes with butter / cream / cream cheese/eggs
- Oatmeal porridge with nuts / seeds like sunflower or pumpkin seeds
- Brown rice or millet porridge with vegetables and natural salted pickles Brown rice with green leafy vegetables and meat / eggs / fish Root vegetables with green leafy vegetables and meat/eggs / fish Nut and seed bars
- Berries / apples / melons / oranges
Why avoid Fruit juices
Many people have the misconception that fruit juices are healthy. But there are several reasons why they are not all that good for health and why you should take them more as occasional treats rather than regular drinks.
By now, you should have understood the key message of this chapter - that your body cannot cope with a sudden, large increase in the amount of glucose in your blood. Yet this is exactly what fruit juices do to you - they raise your blood glucose level quickly and sharply.
All types of fruit juice produce this effect, whether it is freshly squeezed at home or taken from a packet. The only difference is that fruits that are less sweet (like apples) will not have as strong an effect on the blood glucose level compared to fruits that are intensely sweet, like mango.
This content is adapted, with permission, from Book 1 of 2 : The Wonders of Nutrition by Dr Ang Poon Liat. MBBS, M.MED (PAED), MRCP (UK PAED), FAMS, MD.