OK, this is going to get into the biochemistry of the body and how it uses food, and specifically how it uses carbohydrates. Trust me, this is actually very cool, and extremely helpful with maintaining a healthy weight and eating lifestyle.
We can classify our food into 3 groups or macro-nutrients, proteins, carbs and fats. Fats are a form of energy storage, proteins are used for tissue and cellular growth and repair, and carbs are used for energy.
Let us focus on carbs and what happens when we eat them. Let's use Basmati rice, my favorite. We use a spoon to put it into our mouth, we chew it and saliva starts to digest it. (Carbs will eventually get digested all the way to down glucose, or sugar, molecules). Then you swallow it and it goes into the stomach, where it gets further churned and digested down to glucose molecules by enzymes. Then the stomach squeezes it into the small intestine, duodenum, where the glucose molecules get absorbed into the blood stream. Now that they are within the blood stream, the glucose molecules pass thru the pancreas. The pancreas monitors the amount of glucose molecules concentration within the blood and releases insulin. The higher the concentration of glucose, the larger the amount of release of insulin. Insulin hormone causes the cells of the body to "open up" and absorb the glucose. With a large release of insulin, at lot of glucose, or sugar, gets taken out of the blood stream and enters the tissues of the body. This now means that there may not be enough glucose in the blood to feed the brain, and that is why you start to feel sleepy after a large carb meal. Also, the tissues of the body cannot handle all of that glucose at once, and will have to store it as fat. So, keeping your blood glucose levels at a lower or more stable level can be very helpful and healthy, even causing the body to burn fat instead of store it.
So now, let's discuss the glycemic index, the GI of food. The GI of food is the measure of insulin release that food will produce. And of course, the lower the GI index, the better. Basically, the faster a food is able to be broken down by the body and digested into the simple glucose molecule, the faster the glucose can be absorbed and cause a high insulin, therefore giving that carb a higher GI index. The GI index is based on pure sugar being a 100 on the scale. Anything 70 or greater is considered high, 50-70 is medium and below 50 is low and are the best. Of course, most of the the normal ones that we tend to eat are 70 or more. Proteins and fats are in the 20s, so they are really great at stabilizing blood sugar. Take a look at the chart above and see where are the carbs are the you eat land, but keep in mind, the chart does not include them all, so just Google the carb that you want to know about.
The lower that you keep your insulin level the healthier you will be. High insulin levels are directly correlated with high cholesterol levels and obesity levels. Keeping lower insulin levels allow for fat loss, higher energy levels during the day, and better bloodwork results. Combining proteins and carbs at each meal also keeps the insulin level down.
Now, the amount of directions that this discussion could go is endless, so if this created questions for you, please feel free to email back with them. We could continue to discuss healthy weight loss, and healthy weight gain. Or eating to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. However, they would all be very similar, in that the diet or eating style would be based around eating to maintain and low insulin level and response. I DON'T CARE WHAT DIET YOU HAVE TRIED IN THE PAST, THIS WORKS!!! This is manipulating the body's hormone release thru the use of certain foods, and you don't have to hate what you eat.
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