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Low Glycemic Recipes - What are the Benefits?

Aug 11, 2008
You may have heard of low glycemic recipes and wondered what they are all about. Are they the same as low carbohydrate recipes? If not, what is the difference? What are the health benefits?

Unless you just got back from a very long trip to a desert island, you probably know that low carb diets (and hence, recipes) have been popular for the last several years. They emphasize that only a small percentage of the calories in your diet should be from carbohydrates (which, generally speaking, are starchy and sugary foods). Reducing the number of carbs in your diet leads to weight loss because they are usually high-calories foods; therefore, eating less carbs obviously equals consuming fewer calories.

In addition, the body will not produce insulin in response to sudden blood sugar surges. These surges prevent the breakdown of body fat. Proponents of low-carb diets say that reducing carbs and increasing consumption of lean proteins and certain fats will cause the body to use more stored body fat as energy.

Not all carbohydrates are the same, though. While low-carb recipes concentrate on the quantity of carbs consumed, low glycemic recipes go a step further and define the quality of the carbohydrates.

Foods are rated on the glycemic index according to how quickly their sugars are released into the bloodstream. Blood sugar spikes lead to quick drops in blood sugar, leaving you tired, lethargic, and hungry. Slow, steady release of carbohydrates keep blood sugar levels even, which helps you feel full longer and less likely to overeat. It can reduce your "bad" LDL cholesterol and risk of heart disease, and help control diabetes.

How do you know if a food is low glycemic? There are books available that rate hundreds of foods on the index, and lists are available on the internet. But, in general, the more a food is processed and removed from its natural state, the higher it is on the glycemic index and the quicker it raises blood sugar levels. The more natural fiber left in a food, the lower it is on the index because fiber is either indigestible or slowly digested. There are exceptions to this rule of thumb, with very sweet fruits and vegetables. But is a useful way to think about the foods you choose.

For example, white bread is high on the glycemic index because the wheat used in making it has been stripped of its fibrous outer covering, allowing the starches to be digested very quickly. 100% whole grain bread, on the other hand, retains the grain's natural fiber, so it is digested slowly and steadily. A food is considered low glycemic when it is below fifty-five points on the glycemic index. High glycemic foods are between seventy and one hundred points, and fifty-six to fifty-nine point foods are considered moderate.

There are low glycemic recipes available, and changing the way you eat gradually can lead to long-lasting health. There are lots of tasty low glycemic recipes out there, and you can modify some of your favorite recipes by replacing high glycemic foods with low ones. Using more vegetables and whole grains in your diet, and replacing high-fat dairy products with low-fat versions is a good way to start.

Choosing low glycemic recipes is easy, and it is one more way you can reach your healthy lifestyle goals.
About the Author
Shannon Pollock has been teaching people about natural health remedies for many years. She is a specialist with experience in natural remedies for both people and animals.

For more information on the benefits of low glycemic recipes, as well as other natural health related topics, visit Shannon's website called Natural Health Remedies and More
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