The key to eating healthily is that you should eat carbohydrates, but they must be ‘good carbs’. Good carbohydrates have a low Glycemic Load and will help to keep your blood sugars even and well balanced. This means you are unlikely to suffer the highs and lows that provoke bingeing in the desperate urge to gain a ‘sugar fix’.
The simple answer is that you just have to avoid the white stuff. You need to steer clear of white bread, potatoes, rice, sugar, most cakes and confectionary. Instead you should eat plenty of green vegetables, wholegrains and pulses.
The Glycemic Load (GL) of food is the one single number which tells you how food affects your blood sugar level. It’s the Glycemic Load you need to watch if you want to keep your blood sugar stable, everything else will fall into place after that!
The Glycemic Index (GI) is also an important factor, but it only tells you about the quality of the carbohydrate in the food. You end up with some funny choices if you just look at GI. For instance, watermelon has a GI of 72, which is very high, but its GL is only 4g per serving, which is very low. So watermelon is fine to eat – it will hardly affect your blood sugar at all.
The thinking is that if you eat a meal with a GL of 20g or less, it will have a small effect on blood sugar levels. So eating 3 meals a day of no more than a GL total of 20g and allowing a GL of 10g twice a day for snacks, your daily total GL will be 80g. Prof Jenny Brand-Miller from The University of Sydney, says this “low” daily glycemic load and will bring your blood sugar under control.
The good thing about a GL diet is that you can eat carbohydrates, as most nutritionists recommend, but to keep the GL low you must choose good carbs, (i.e. those with a low GI which will give you a low GL per serving).
What you can do with GL, which you can’t with GI, is very simply add up the GL contribution from each ingredient to get the total GL of the meal. As a result, a typical breakfast can be added up like this:
A Bad Carb Breakfast
A Good Carb Breakfast
Bowl of Cornflakes
Bowl of GoodCarb Granola
Half grated apple
Slice of white toast
Glass of milk
So in order to keep your blood level stable and say goodbye to those mood swings, hunger pangs, excess weight and afternoon lulls start counting the GL of food and make healthy living as easy as 1… 2… 3!