When sugars from food enter the bloodstream, the pancreas responds by pumping out more insulin. How much depends on the food we eat. Fats and proteins typically cause a slow, gradual rise in blood sugar and a correspondingly slow release of insulin.
Carbohydrates raise blood sugar most quickly, but how quickly depends on what kind of carbohydrate it is. Unrefined carbohydrates, found in natural foods like legumes, starchy vegetables, and whole grains, are higher in fibre, which slows the release of sugar into the bloodstream. As a result, insulin rises more gradually.
Refined carbohydrates, found in processed foods like white bread, pasta, crackers, and boxed baked goods, typically contain little or no fibre and so are digested more quickly. Their simple sugars hit the bloodstream almost immediately, causing blood sugar to skyrocket, then plunge almost as quickly.
These jagged spikes and dips in blood sugar can cause cravings (usually for more refined carbohydrates), more overeating, and weight gain. It’s a vicious cycle, because the more refined carbohydrates you eat, the lower your blood sugar ultimately plunges, the hungrier you get-and the more you eat.
Fibre helps avoid extremes in hunger. “When people consume a large amount of refined carbohydrates, they tend to consume little or no fibre, and that way of eating can cause extreme hunger. “To lose or maintain weight, aim for 20 to 35 grams of fibre a day.
Also, make sure you eat enough fat. “It takes longer to digest, so you stay satisfied longer. “About 25 percent of your daily calories should come from fat.
Of course, choose the right fats. “Good” fats include the monounsaturated fats in foods like nuts and nut butters, olive and canola oils, and low-fat cheese and yogurt. Limit saturated fats-found in animal foods like full-fat milk and fatty red meats-and trans fats, found in many processed foods like sweets and snack foods, to 10 percent of daily calories.
Finally, use the glycemic index (GI), which ranks foods based on how quickly they cause blood sugar to rise. Foods with a low GI are converted to glucose more slowly than those with a medium or high GI. The result: a slower rise in insulin and blood sugar, which discourages fat storage.
Because they stay in your system longer, fiber-rich, low-GI foods promote satiety, curbing your appetite to discourage overeating and weight gain. Fibre, good fats, and “good carbs” are cornerstones of the sugar solution smart eating plan because they also help make cells more insulin sensitive, but generally speaking you’ll replace fiber-poor refined carbohydrates with slow-digesting, unrefined carbohydrates, add good fats and good carbohydrates, learn how to control portions, and eat smaller meals throughout the day. The result: Cells take in more glucose, so there’s less left over to get stored as fat.