Sugar is an inseparable part of the food we consume, but too much sugar is not ideal for our health.1 Especially when it’s refined sugar! Whole food sugars are a much healthier choice. Natural sweeteners (whole food sugars) actually contain vitamins and minerals, where as refined sugars don’t.
Carbohydrates are one of the three macronutrients we need in our diet, in large amounts to provide us with energy. They are broken down by our digestive tract into sugars in the form of glucose which enter the bloodstream, and with the help of the hormone insulin, cells throughout the body absorb glucose and use it for energy.2
Good Versus Bad Sugar
Glycemic refers to the number of carbohydrates (sugars) in food that influence a person’s blood glucose (aka blood sugar) level. When trying to select whole foods with low sugar content so you don’t spike your blood sugar, it’s best to choose those that have a low Glycemic load (GL) versus Glycemic Index (GI) because it is a better indicator of how a carbohydrate food will affect our blood sugar. Foods with a low GL will increase blood sugar less dramatically than foods with a high GL.
Low = 10 or less
Medium = 11 – 19
High = 20+
Due to the high amount of carbohydrate intake, one third of the US population already has obesity problems. Diabetes, arthritis, colon, heart problems and many other diseases are directly related to excessive intake of carbohydrates, most of them added to food products and medicines in the form of glucose, corn syrup, cane sugar, high fructose and starches. Artificial sweeteners were invented to lower calories with the idea of solving those problems related to high calorie intake. With time other health problems arouse, not related to obesity, but with a new series of health problems, caused by the chemical substances found in most of these artificial sweeteners.3So, it’s best to stick to low GL whole foods!
Fiber Helps Curb Sugar Spiking!
Dietary fiber or roughage is gained from plants and plays an important role in our overall health especially digestive and bowel health. It is the leading dietary factor in the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases.4 It comes in two main components, soluble and insoluble.
Specifically, insoluble fibers better known as roughage is the tough matter from foods like nuts, whole grains, fruits and veggies like the stalk, skin or seeds that doesn’t dissolve in water. This type of fiber can slow gastric emptying and may slow nutrient uptake, and can slow the rise in blood glucose (sugar) after a glucose load (meal).5 It is also very important for bowel health by keeping you regular.
Low Glycemic Load Foods6
- Medjool Dates, one pitted = 9 GL, 1.6 g fibre
- Maple Syrup, 1 tbsp = 8 GL, 0 g fibre
- Mango, 1 cup, raw, fresh or frozen = 8 GL, 3 g fibre
- Banana, one raw, small = 8 GL, 2.6 g fibre
- Yam, baked, half = 8 GL, 2.7 fibre
- Pineapple, 1 cup, raw = 6 GL, 2.3 g fibre
- Maple syrup, pure, ½ ounce = 6 GL, 0 g fibre
- Pear, one ripe, raw, medium = 5 GL, 9.9 g fibre
- Apple, one raw, medium = 5 GL, 4.4 g fibre
- Peach, one ripe pitted, raw, medium = 5 GL, 2.2 g fibre
- Strawberries, 1 cup, raw = 3 GL, 2.9 g fibre
- Coconut water, 1 cup = 3 GL, 2.6 g fibre
- Cinnamon, spice, 1 tbsp = 1 GL, 4.1 g fibre