‘GI Information’ Category
July 15, 2014 by Johanna Burani
We’re all trying (aren’t we?) to eat more whole grains. The USDA’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourage us to hop on the whole grain bandwagon. Recipes online, in magazines and cookbooks, and on cooking shows with famous chefs abound with whole grain options. Even our bodies give us the thumbs up when we eat whole grains.
But stop a minute and ask yourself if you really are eating grains that are truly whole. First off, the grain must contain all three of its structural parts: the bran (outer) layer, the endosperm (starchy) layer and the germ (seed). It also should be minimally processed to minimize natural nutrient losses and disruption of the synergy within the layers.
A whole grain will look on your plate pretty much as it does in nature – minus the field debris and inedible outermost shell (the husk or hull). Take oats for instance. The steel cut version is the entire grain with just the husk removed. That same whole grain with the husk intact is called “groats” and that’s what horses eat!
Here are some examples of whole grains: pearl barley, steel cut or traditional rolled oats, corn, whole grain brown rice and wild rice (not really a grain), wheat berries, cracked wheat and bulgur, quinoa, buckwheat, rye and triticale.
You can find out the history, processing methods and interesting facts about these and other whole grains at www.wholegrainscouncil.org.
And, since these grains show up favorably on the lower end of the glycemic index, you can also learn more about them at www.glycemicindex.com.
June 20, 2014 by Johanna Burani
I recently visited the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York to attend an artisan bread-making class (spoiler: there was a lot of white flour in that teaching kitchen!). My main goal for this experience was to learn bread-making techniques and the food science behind them from the professionals, in this case, Chef Juergen Temme, CMB. To my delight, I reached my goal – and then some. Chef described the ingredients and procedures for five different types of dough, including sourdough, the one low GI white bread out there. I was “all ears.”
The GI experts explain that acidic foods empty more slowly from the stomach, resulting in a slower release of glucose into the bloodstream. I asked Chef what were the pH values (degree of acidity; the lower the number, the more acidic) of the breads we were baking that day. All of them were made from white flour and all had a pH between 5.0 and 6.5, except for the sourdough bread: its pH was 3.6!
This is why sourdough bread is a good bread choice for anyone attempting to control blood sugar, weight, and energy. The fuel it turns into lasts longer, preventing blood sugar spikes and helping to ward off hunger. And did I mention how delicious it tastes straight out of the oven?
March 6, 2014 by Johanna Burani
No doubt about it: carbs elevate your blood sugar level. That’s what they’re supposed to do. The body breaks down the carbohydrate in food into readily-available fuel (glucose) more easily than it does for protein or fat. How quickly that fuel enters the blood from the gut determines how much and for how long that energy will last. keep reading »
August 3, 2013 by Johanna Burani
National Farmer’s Market Week 2013 – August 4-10
Living in the northeastern part of the United States, a designated parking lot in my small city becomes sacred ground every Sunday from June through October. This is when our neighborhood is visited by farmers throughout my state, New Jersey (the Garden State), selling their gorgeous, full-of-life produce. I go each week and stock up on luscious fruits and vegetables, mostly organic, always freshly picked. Here’s what my “low glycemic index” eyes find:
Vegetables: tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, summer squash, onions, garlic, peppers, scallions, lettuces, corn, green beans
Herbs: basil, chives, thyme, marjoram, parsley, mint, sage, oregano, rosemary, dill
Fruits: peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, gooseberries, blackberries, cherries
All of the above foods have GI values ranging from 0-62, in other words, very low to moderate values. What does this mean in terms of impacting blood glucose levels? It means the body receives a slow, steady flow of energy for several hours in the amount the body is requesting at the time. And what does that mean? It means feeling good, no hunger, no cravings, no highs, no lows – just a feel-good steady state of energy until the next meal or snack. This, in turn, can translate over time into good glycemic control, weight management, an improved cardiac profile and extended stamina throughout the day.
So, pick up your reusable shopping tote and visit your local farmer’s market while it’s in your neighborhood. I hope you will thank the farmers for the hard work and dedication they have to their excellent, wholesome produce. Your body is surely thanking you with each low glycemic swallow!
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March 20, 2013 by Johanna Burani
Good – Better – Best!
Here are three breakfast meals. The Cheerios breakfast is good : it contains no saturated or trans fats and provides some protein, vitamins and minerals. The Raisin Bran breakfast is better: in addition to the nutrients in the Cheerios meal, it adds a wider variety of vitamins and minerals, as well as more fiber. The scrambled egg with rye toast breakfast is the best: it is naturally nutrient-dense and produces a naturally low glycemic response.
Calorically these meals are equal to each other. GI-wise they are not: 60 (moderate) for the Cheerios meal, 52 (low) for the Raisin Bran meal, 49 (low) for the egg and rye toast meal.
The most dramatic difference is in the glycemic loads: 30 (high) for the Cheerios meal, 25 (high) for the Raisin Bran meal and 16 (low) for the eggs and rye toast meal. Glycemic load (GL) measures how high glucose will rise in our blood after eating a specific amount of a specific type of carbohydrate. In these three breakfasts, the amount of carbohydrate was identical; it was the type of carbohydrate that made the difference.
What does “glycemic load” actually mean in day-to-day living terms?
1 GL unit = 1 gram of glucose entering the bloodstream.
So, in day-to-day living terms, the amounts of sugar released into the blood after eating these three breakfasts are:
CHEERIOS 30 grams or 7 1/2 teaspoons
RAISIN BRAN 25 grams or 6 1/4 teaspoons
EGGS + RYE TOAST 16 grams or 4 teaspoons
Good. Better. Best!
Some other good carb breakfast ideas:
- old fashioned/steel cut oats cooked in low fat/fat free milk, sliced peaches or berries, with a sprinkle of chopped nuts and cinnamon
- rye toast with natural peanut butter and all-fruit jam
- melted low fat cheese and low salt ham sandwich on pumpernickel
- 0% fat Greek yogurt, Bran Buds, sliced pears or blueberries, with a sprinkle of chopped nuts and cardamom
- fruit smoothie made with fat free yogurt and/or fat free milk, frozen cherries or berries, vanilla, cocoa powder
Tomorrow’s breakfast – will it be good, better, or best?
February 25, 2013 by Johanna Burani
On February 21, 2013 the New York Times reported on a recent study about obesity in the United States. It was conducted by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. The time frame under scrutiny was from 1999 to 2010. The results of this study are the most current numbers we can put to the obesity crisis in America.
The bad news is that one third of American adults are obese and 15% of American children and adolescents are too.
The good news is that the adult obesity stats are plateauing and adults are consuming fewer fast food calories. More good news is that kids are eating fewer calories every day (75-150) than 10 years ago. This is a good match given the general physical inactivity of the average American young person.
We still have a long way to go to improve our nation’s weight status statistics but seeing even some improvements is a cause to cheer. At least we’re pointed in the right direction. We just need to stay focused and unwavering in our collective desire to feel good – better – best.
And here comes the very good news: Including low glycemic (GI) carbs in our daily diet helps keep us feeling full longer and having more sustained energy throughout the day. This is the perfect metabolic set-up to eat fewer calories and enjoy wholesome foods while working on those extra pounds.
So what are some low GI carbs to try right away? What do you think about rye or sourdough bread, old fashioned oats, a homemade strawberry smoothie, or al dente pasta, maybe some lentil soup or a bean salad, apples, pears, cherries or berries? All of these are low GI carbs that will keep you feeling full and energetic for hours after your meal. You can also click on the “Recipes” tab on this website for some great-tasting, wholesome low GI dishes. You may be surprised at what you find there!