Fat lowers a Meal’s Total Glycemic Index (GI)
At the starting point of our pilgrim ’s journey towards an anti-inflammatory life, we kept skipping all the information about GI. We had heard and read about it, of course, but almost always in the context of someone’s huge weight loss, as in “Larry ate no carbs and dropped 80 lb.
He says he owes it all to the GI method.” We were interested in food primarily from a health standpoint, so we dismissed the GI as just another weight loss plan. Today, a few years, many diagrams, scientific research reports, discussions, interviews, and books later, we understand that GI is far more than that. GI is a key ingredient in good health and has helped many people all over the world combat obesity, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome, all without the use of medication. Learning the basics of how food affects blood sugar should be compulsory education.
We may sound as though we’re terribly strict adherents to GI, but that isn’t the case. However, we do eat foods with low GI first, because there is a clear correlation between low GI and high nutrient density, in the same way, there is a link between high GI and low nutrient density.
We normally consider ourselves nutrient hunters. If you seek out a nutrient-rich diet, many foods with high GI automatically fall by the wayside because they are nutrient-poor. That doesn’t mean you can stick an equal sign between low GI and healthy, and there are foods with low GI that don’t contain any nutrition whatsoever. Fructose, for example, which we talked about earlier, is something we should avoid eating. Inversely, fruit that often has a high GI can at the same time contain tons of fiber and antioxidants, both of which are good bacteria loves.
The fruit is a bit problematic because it can affect blood sugar if eaten in large quantities. Be that as it may, we can’t agree that excess consumption of fruit in the Western world is most likely our main problem. Rather, the trouble is that we eat far too few fruits and vegetables, and all research points to a positive correlation between a
hearty fruit habit and good health. However, those of you who enjoy lots of fruit on a daily basis might want to consider swapping some fruit for some vegetables or choose sour and unripe fruits that contain more fiber and less sugar.
WHY DO PEOPLE EAT SO MUCH SUGA R-SIMULATING FOOD?
At first, we had some trouble believing that most of the food we ate every day caused inflammation. We couldn’t stop wondering how things could have taken such a bad turn. Out of all the wonderful foods we could pick from, most of our meals consisted of sugar-simulating food. Why was that? Was it even true? Was it indeed the case that the food we, and everyone we know, lives off, is as damaging and can lead to as many problems as scientists predict?
Okay, here we go: We are both nearing our forties. Sure, we look twenty-five by candlelight. In other words, we were born in the 1970s, and so we grew up in Sweden at a time when the common man had no idea what sugar-
simulating food was. This was during the era when the Food
Administration recommended that we consume six to eight slices of bread
(a sugar-simulating food) per day, and our home economic teachers happily waved the “Plate Diet Model” around (which was made up of mostly sugar-simulating foods).
According to this plate model, a meal should consist of 40 percent carbohydrates, 40 percent fiber, and 20 percent pr obtain. As we know now, broccoli and red cabbage are good carbs, but for some reason the Food
The administration opted to put all vegetables in the “fiber” category. This means that the plate’s 40 percent carbohydrates go mostly to sugar- stimulating foods such as pasta, bread, rice, and cooked potatoes (we will look more in-depth at potatoes later, so hold that thought). We grew up with a food model in which almost half of our meal consisted of sugar- simulating food—food that is nutrient-poor but rich in “sugar,” food that leads to inflammation and chronic disease. It ’s not surprising we were confused.
Another reason why sugar-simulating food is such a large part of our diet today could be that we’re so used to eating the least healthy part of, say, seeds and grains while giving the good-for-you parts (the hull and germ) to livestock. Take wheat, for example. Wheat can be roughly