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All Carbohydrate Sources Are Not Equal

Updated on February 22, 2012

Glycemic Index Values Important

Choosing what to eat used to be simpler when all you had to know was that carbohydrates provided 4 calories per gram. But while it was simpler, such choices didn't always lead to healthy or even calorie-wise choices and eating habits. Science has helped us to better understand the differences between various types of carbohydrates, enabling us to make improved health-conscious choices.

Before the advent of the glycemic index, you knew there were two types of carbohydrates--carbs--simple and complex. Carbs were grouped according to the number of simple sugars in a molecule. Table sugar, sucrose, and fruit sugar, fructose, were designated as simple carbs. Complex carbohydrates were the starchy food members. At that point in time, you only had to remember to eat more of the complex carbs than the simple carbs and you'd be good to go.

As it turned out, some of the complex carbohydrates elevated blood sugar levels as quickly as their simple counterparts. The glycemic index ranks each food, not just carbs, based on that food's effect on blood sugar levels.

Carbohydrates with high glycemic index numbers raise blood sugar levels faster and higher than carbohydrates with lower glycemic index numbers. Understanding and applying this information is important to good health and nutrition at all times, but especially true in the current culture where the numbers of overweight people and those with diabetes are increasing at an all-time high pace.

The best carbohydrates to eat are those that provide nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients. Such carbs are whole grain products, fruits and vegetables.

In multiple studies done by groups such as the Nurses' Health Study, the Black Women's Health Study and others, high-glycemic index foods correlated with an increased incidence of type 2 diabetes. The foods identified in these studies that promoted a high-glycemic response were potatoes, white rice, carbonated beverages and white bread, as reported by the Linus Pauling Institute of Oregon State University.


Low Glycemic Index Foods

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    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Useful information. Both glycemic index and glycemic load are useful parameters in judging the final effect of the food on blood sugar levels.

      Nice reminder. Thanks for sharing.

      Voting up, useful and shared.

    • L.L. Woodard profile image
      Author

      L.L. Woodard 5 years ago from Oklahoma City

      Manna in the wild, I'm glad the information provided in the hub matches the information you found in your research. The glycemic index is one tool to help consumers in choosing nutritious food.

    • Manna in the wild profile image

      Manna in the wild 5 years ago from Australia

      Yes! Go the fruit n veggies. I just finished a hub about food labels and what you say mirrors my research. Thanks.

    • L.L. Woodard profile image
      Author

      L.L. Woodard 6 years ago from Oklahoma City

      Thanks for the read and the comment, Jaredbangerter. A lot of people who want to cut down on carbs in their diets also don't realize their vital importance, especially complex carbs.

    • jaredbangerter profile image

      jaredbangerter 6 years ago from New York City

      SO true. I can't believe how many times I hear about guys trying to gain muscle by eating big macs and fries and doritos every day. Gotta stick to complex carbs or it will be fat instead. Great article. Rated up and useful.

    • L.L. Woodard profile image
      Author

      L.L. Woodard 6 years ago from Oklahoma City

      Glemoh, you are welcome. This hub, written by another HubPages author provides a list of many foods and their specific glycemic index numbers: https://hubpages.com/health/Glycemic-Index-Can-Gui...

    • Glemoh101 profile image

      Glemoh101 6 years ago

      Thanks for your fast replying me i will read this hub hoping it will help me

    • L.L. Woodard profile image
      Author

      L.L. Woodard 6 years ago from Oklahoma City

      Glemoh, I believe what you're referring to is the glycemic index/glycemic load of a food, which measures the body's glucose reaction to a food. I've written a hub titled "How Glycemic Index Is Determined" that you might want to check out. If that doesn't answer your question, please let me know. Thank you for stopping by.

    • Glemoh101 profile image

      Glemoh101 6 years ago

      Thanks for this information ,can you tell me what the factors affecting on rising blood sugar (Glucose)

    • L.L. Woodard profile image
      Author

      L.L. Woodard 6 years ago from Oklahoma City

      Thank you. I think the more information a person has, the better choices he can make.

    • SolutionC profile image

      SolutionC 6 years ago

      Great Information on Carbs thanks for sharing