Sugar is everywhere. How can you reduce the impact of sugar on your body (and mind)?
Let’s first talk about glycemic index (GI) vs glycemic load (GL).
Glycemic index (GI) indicates the amount of sugar in a product. It measures how quickly a food converts to glucose in the body and then how quickly it causes blood insulin levels to rise.
Pure glucose has a glycemic index of 100.
A food with no glucose (i.e. turkey, chicken, an egg) would have a GI of 0.
For the most part, foods with a lower GI are better for you, but beware, this is not always as straight forward as it seems. For example, Coca Cola has a GI of 90, and carrots have a GI of 97.
If given the choice on a health quiz, you would (hopefully) choose the carrots.
Feel like a trick question? Don’t they both have about the same GI?
Problem is, the glycemic index does NOT take into account the other food components, such as fiber, and how these impact your blood sugars.
This is why I prefer to look at the glycemic load or GL.
The glycemic load takes into account the TYPE and QUANTITY of carbohydrates.
Here are the cliff notes to the carrot question: The carrots have a GL of 2, while the Coca Cola has a GL of 16. This is why you choose the carrots (and for so many other reasons that you can look forward to in a future blog).
Balance is crucial
One helpful way to reduce the IMPACT of sugar on the body and reduce those nasty sugar side effects of anger, anxiety, fatigue, headaches, brain fog, insomnia, etc, is to counteract the blood sugar spike with foods rich in fiber, nutrients (aim for lots of color!), proteins and healthy fats.
So during that next party or gathering, make sure to pair that cookie or bon bon with apple slices (great fiber!), nuts, deli meats, veggies and hummus, aged cheeses, olives, berries, DARK chocolate, dried fruits, smoked salmon, or whole wheat crackers. The best part of all? These foods are SO good!
Bottomline: if you are at a party, live a little. Let yourself have a cookie. But remember, it’s all about balance (even at that company party or holiday gathering).