(BlackDoctor.org) — Carbohydrates are an important aspect of the daily diet, yet different carbohydrates impact our bodies in various ways. The Glycemic Index (GI) offers a way to measure how various carbohydrates act once they are broken down and enter our bloodstream – which can affect your weight loss goals.
Carbohydrates in the Digestive System
Carbohydrates are mostly made up of sugars, starch and cellulose. When you eat a carbohydrate, it is broken down by the digestive system into glucose, and glucose is one of the energy engines (along with fats and proteins) that keep your body going throughout the day.
Types of Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates come in different forms:
• Simple. Simple carbohydrates break down very quickly and cause spikes in blood sugar levels (which can negatively affect your diet). This group of carbohydrates includes fruit sugar (fructose), corn sugar, or table sugar (sucrose).
• Complex. Complex carbohydrates include whole grains, brown rice and other grain products, as well as legumes and some starchy plants like potatoes and corn. Other vegetables contain carbohydrates, but also contain a great deal of indigestible dietary fiber (which can positively affect your diet). Over all, it is recommended that complex carbohydrates make up approximately 50% of your daily dietary intake.
The Glycemic Index
The Glycemic Index (GI) was introduced in the recent past as a way to measure the rate at which various carbohydrates increase blood sugar. The GI runs from 0 to 100, and foods with the highest GI rate closer to the high end of the index and raise blood sugar very quickly. Foods with a lower GI raise blood sugar more slowly.
Essentially, foods with a GI over 70 are considered having a high GI, and foods with a GI below 55 are considered having a low GI.
Examples of low glycemic foods include: Carrots (39), peanuts (15), Broccoli (15), Kidney beans (52)