The impact a carbohydrate will have on blood sugar (and consequently it’s GI/GL values) is, basically, determined by the speed with which the carb is digested or broken down into glucose
(and other components) to allow for absorption and use in the body
. The slower the digestion of the carbs, the lower the spike in blood sugar levels and the more gentle and more gradual the return to normal levels and the lower the GI. The faster the food is digested, the faster the glucose hits your bloodstream; the higher the level spikes, and the faster and deeper it drops again, and the higher the GI.
Obviously the amount of carbohydrate in the food has a big impact on this little roller coaster routine, but numerous other things have an impact too. The first of these -- the amount of Fibre or Fat the food contains
-- is well illustrated by our first two MAGIC FOODS
– GI of 38/GL of 6 (for an average sized apple) -- contain lots of Pectin
, a form of Soluble Fibre
. Soluble Fibre binds with the food in the stomach and intestines and slows the rate of absorption and consequently the rate that the carbohydrate in the apple is converted to glucose. Apples have a few other benefits too – they’re loaded with antioxidant flavonoids which are believed to reduce the risks of cancer and heart disease. They really are as good for you as you’ve heard all your life.
Apple Menu Magic
-- For the best bang for your buck, make sure you eat whole unpeeled fruit and steer clear of apple juice. You can add sliced apple to a sandwich; chop an apple into your oatmeal (another Magic Food); mix apple into your yogurt (yep, that’s another one); smear on a little peanut butter (yes; it’s Magic too).
Next on the list -- AVOCADOS
– Yes, technically they are a fruit and yes, they are high in fat, very high in fat (but it is mostly good monounsaturated fat). They are so high in fat that neither a GI or GL for them can be measured since they have so little impact on blood sugar levels, and that is pretty unusual for a fruit. This is also true for lemons and limes but for a different reason. (We will get to them
) For the Avocado it is because Fat
empties from the stomach much more slowly than carbs do. Consequently, the higher the fat content, the more slowly the food is digested. Fat does have to be consumed carefully, of course. It’s very high in calories and too much of the wrong kinds of fat may definitely lead to other health problems. Avocados are also very rich in sterols which lower cholesterol and they are packed with vitamins and minerals. Ounce for ounce they have more potassium than bananas.
Avocado Menu Magic
– an acceptable serving size for Avocado is about 2 Tbsp, or about ¼ of a small one -- add chunks to salad; mash it and use it as a spread on your high fibre, whole grain (magic food) bread; drizzle it with a little lemon juice (more Magic) and eat it out of hand instead of a hunk of high saturated fat cheese; and of course, the classic Guacamole makes a great dip with any number of (Magic) vegetables.
Next – Barley, Beans, Berries, Bran
-- See you later.