‘Empty’ calories and the glycaemic index

 Please see the links at the bottom of this article for more information as I am not a nutritionist/professional.

If you are trying to loose weight the media has likely drawn to those low fat rice cakes, drinks, chocolate, crisps…..be warned! These are empty calories… What do I mean?

“Food and drinks provide fuel for our body in the form of fat, protein, carbohydrates and alcohol. Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred fuel source. The glycaemic index (GI) is a way to rate carbohydrates according to how quickly they are absorbed and raise the glucose level of the blood. It has replaced classifying carbohydrates as either ‘simple’ or ‘complex’. Foods that contain carbohydrates include bread, breakfast cereals, rice, pasta, legumes, corn, potato, fruit, milk, yoghurt, sugar, biscuits, cakes and lollies.  ” *

CULPRIT- RICE CAKES Well think about it, after one rice cake do you feel full? No, because they are low in fiber fat and protein and *high GI- give it two hours and you’ll probably be craving again!

So you’ve eaten more calories than one slice of wholegrain bread and probably the same as a small portion of brown rice/half a tortilla etc…but you are more hungry and will then go and eat more.. You get the idea!

 

Don’t get me started on the flavoured ones – chocolate etc- the amount of sugar they put in (because they are low fat) is ridiculous. You’d be better off satisfying your craving with two small squares of dark chocolate (even healthier some nuts / banana / apple/  cinnamon etc). **

 

I am personally gaining weight at the moment, so if you are too – or you are happy the way you are!- then the plain ones are fine as long as you eat with a good source of protein (they are great with avocado or nut butter or mashed bananas). And some source of veg/fruit, eg sliced apple with nut butter and cinnamon.

For me they are perfect when I know I need to eat (been exercising or walking around london a lot that day) but I am not hungry, I can easily have them with some nut butter (good fats and protein).

I still would never advice eating the flavoured ones though. They are processed and not good or beneficial to your body at all. They have no food nutrients. If you need something sweet, try one plain one with a teaspoon of nut butter/apple/cinnamon/banana/cream cheese (DF) etc.

CULPRIT- FIZZY DRINKS (diet too) Another example is drinks! Cola, alcohol, lattes etc. however, if you are following a diet to help IBS you should be avoiding fizzy drinks and alcohol when possible anyway. Opt for de-caff as well. And don’t think diet fizzy drinks are any better. They are full of sweeteners and aspartame (this is in a lot of low fat/sugar products). There is evidence*** that artificial sweeteners (in low sugar/fat products) and diet coke causes you to be MORE hungry! Research shows “diet soft drink consumption is associated with increased waist circumference in humans, and a second study that found aspartame raised fasting glucose (blood sugar) in diabetes-prone mice.”****

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If you don’t like reading, watch this http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=P5tpCpqABhM&feature=related.

There are of course many other foods. But you get the idea! Be careful with low fat yoghurts- they have double the amount of sugar and many sweeteners. Instead go for Greek yoghurt or natural yoghurt / bio live yoghurt and then add frozen berries, berries, cinnamon , honey or some syrup (gluten free).

Some important info on GI which you will find helpful

*

“Carbohydrate-containing foods can be rated on a scale called the glycaemic index (GI). This scale ranks carbohydrate-containing foods based on their effect on blood sugar levels over a period of time – usually two hours. The GI compares foods that have gram-for-gram the same amount of carbohydrate.

A low GI rating of a food does not mean you can eat a larger serve of that food – the total amount of carbohydrate and kilojoules consumed are still important.

Choose a diet containing plenty of fruits, vegetables and legumes, but with smaller helpings of potatoes and less highly refined grain products and concentrated sugar.

LINKS TO WEBSITES FOR MORE INFORMATION

 

*GI- http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Carbohydrates_and_the_glycaemic_index

**http://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/diet-tips/50-seemingly-healthy-foods-are-bad-you

***diet soda http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/29/diet-soda-weight-gain_n_886409.html

asparteme/sweeteners http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/OnCall/t/story?id=4271246&page=1&ref=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.huffingtonpost.com%2F2011%2F06%2F29%2Fdiet-soda-weight-gain_n_886409.html

****evidence http://www.uthscsa.edu/hscnews/singleformat2.asp?newID=3861

1 thought on “‘Empty’ calories and the glycaemic index

  1. Pingback: Low Sugar Living: Buffalo Style Lettuce Wraps #DailyDishMagazine~Daily Dish with Foodie Friends Friday

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