Carbohydrates are an important source of energy, however, it is also important to know that carbohydrates are not all the same. Some rapidly raise blood sugar levels which follows by a sudden drop in blood sugar levels, sometimes below normal. These are known as the high GI (Glycemic Index) carbs -the bad carbs. Other carbohydrates raise blood sugar levels less and more slowly, we know them as low GI or good carbs.
High GI carbs raise blood sugar levels rapidly which causes excessive insulin production. Insulin is a marvelous hormone with a few functions, one of them is to deposit excess sugar as fat. High GI carbohydrates are therefore more likely to cause obesity.
Conversely, carbohydrates that raise blood sugar less and more slowly are what we call the good carbs. They do not produce such a rapid increase in our blood sugar levels, keeping our insulin production also low.
But, how do you tell the difference between good carbs vs bad carbs?
GI is determined by a few things: the presence of fat and dietary fiber, but also the cooking process!
For example, sweet potatoes have much lower GI than white potatoes. Baked potatoes have much higher GI than boiled potatoes. Whole grain products usually have a low GI because of the high amount of dietary fiber.
When it comes to weight loss ( and also to health conditions such as pre-diabetes or diabetes) keeping your diet low GI is paramount.
Example of Glycemic Index of common food:
Baked potatoes 85, Cornflakes 81, Waffles 76, White bread 73, Raisins 64, Ice cream 61,
Oatmeal 58, White Rice 56, Boiled potatoes 56, , Popcorn 55, Sweet potatoes 54, Kiwi 53, Bananas 52, Green peas 48, Carrots 47
Oranges 44, Apples 38, Lentils 29, Cucumber 15, Pepper 15, Broccoli 15, Spinach 15, Eggplant 15, Tomatoes 15, Zucchini 15