No one can go without eating carbs their whole life, it’s unrealistic and unsustainable. But there is a way that you can eat carbs and lose weight.
It’s called Low GI Eating, and it’s all about eating the right kind of carbs and pairing them with foods that promote a slow energy release.
The GI, or glycemic index of a food measures the effect of carbohydrates on your blood sugar levels. High glycemic foods lead to steep spikes in blood sugar levels while low glycemic foods have a more moderate effect. Diets that contain low GI foods can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower your risk of diabetes and heart disease.
When our blood sugar levels are high, it triggers the release of insulin in our bloodstream. When we consume refined carbohydrates, insulin levels spike and this triggers our fat storage hormones, which in turn leads to weight gain.
Having a low GI diet isn’t about cutting carbs, but by being smart about what carbs to eat and how to eat them.
The simplest way is to include protein, healthy fats, and fiber
Dietary protein, fat, and fiber can help slow the release of sugar in the blood stream and lower the overall GI of your meal. But remember, the GI only deals with the carbohydrates and not the overall nutrition of the meal.
Here are the easiest ways to lower the GI of the carbs that you eat:
- Choose the less processed forms of food. Go with whole fruits and vegetables instead of their dried counterparts or juice.
- When eating a carbohydrate rich meal, add a slice of avocado for it’s taste and healthy fats.
- Adding tomato juice, lemon juice, or apple cider vinegar to your meal can help lighten the glycemic load.
- Go with slow-cooked steel cut oats instead of the sugary instant kind.
- If you really want that slice of cake, add protein to it. Whey protein powder or cottage cheese can keep insulin levels from spiking, but remember, protein doesn’t affect the calorie content. You need to lose more calories than you consume to lose weight.
- Cook rice and pasta al dente to keep to maintain a moderate level glycemic load. Over cooking rice and pasta raises the glycemic load.
- Lightly steam vegetables or eat them raw to maintain their fiber content.
- Choose fruits that are firmer and not overly ripe. The riper the fruit, the higher the level of naturally occurring sugars.
- Instead of sushi, choose sashimi instead to avoid the high glycemic load of the rice.
- Try a salad with a scoop of sandwich filling instead of an actual sandwich.
- If you really want pizza, go with a cauliflower crust which is low on carbohydrates instead of traditional crusts.
- Soups made of lentils or legumes are better for you than cream of potato because of their high fiber content and lower glycemic value. If you’re soup has a high glycemic load, try adding some low fat cheese for the fat and protein content.
- Try eating an apple with a tablespoon of organic almond butter to increase the fat, fiber, and protein content of your snack.
- When choosing dessert, go with berries instead of pineapple or bananas because of their lower GI and their high fiber and antioxidant content.
- Dark chocolate is better than milk chocolate because it is lower in sugar and is packed with antioxidants, but you only need a small amount not a whole bar.
While these tips are great for helping you make smart carb choices with low GI, you still need to keep track of the fat content and calories of your meal to ultimately reach your fitness and weight goals.