Reasons to eat low GI foods

2015-06-09 06:01

CHOOSING better carbs not only crowds out empty-calorie, glucose-raising foods but also helps battle many health threats. Here’s what eating more high-fibre, low GI foods will do:

Lowers your risk of diabetes

The so-called diabetes epidemic has made headlines, and for good reason. The number of cases of type 2 diabetes (the most common type) is exploding, and many more people are in line for developing the disease. At the core is a condition called insulin resistance. Most people don’t know they have it, or that the “wrong” kinds of carbs contribute to it.

Insulin resistance occurs when the body stops responding to this critical hormone. Think of insulin as a kind of doorman.

Normally, it triggers a reaction that allows glucose to pass through cell walls, where it is burned to produce energy or stored for later use. In some people, however, cells start to ignore insulin, which means the pancreas must manufacture more of it. Insulin resistance is “silent” because often the pancreas can keep up with demand by working overtime. Eventually, however, it may fail to keep up, resulting in type 2 diabetes.

Your genes, excess body fat and lack of exercise cause insulin resistance, but eating the wrong kinds of carbohydrates seems to worsen the problem. In one study, British researchers asked a group of non-diabetic women to eat a high-GI diet for three weeks, while a second group ate low-GI foods. An analysis of their fat cells detected more insulin resistance in the women who ate the high-GI diet. It’s hardly surprising that several large population studies have shown that people who eat diets filled with low-fibre, high-GI carbohydrates appear to double their risk of type 2 diabetes.

The good news is that you can reverse the threat of diabetes by up to 42% simply by trading in your white bread, white rice and sugary breakfast cereal for hearty dark loaves, brown rice and oatmeal, according to a Harvard study of nearly 43 000 men

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