Sweet potatoes have more sugar and around the same number of calories as russet potatoes. So why are sweet potatoes marketed as the healthier option? The answer is glycemic index (GI).
Foods like russet potatoes, white rice and flour, and oatmeal are often exiled by the health-conscious because of their high glycemic index. The term is thrown around on every fitness blog and forum, but what does it actually mean?
What is glycemic index?
Glycemic index is a measurement of how much a carbohydrate-rich food spikes your blood glucose (sugar) level. It also measures how fast glucose is released in your body. The greater the GI, the greater the spike. According to Healthline, “chronic high blood sugar increases the likelihood of serious diabetes complications like heart disease, blindness, neuropathy, and kidney failure.”
Therefore, it’s important to incorporate more low GI foods into a healthy diet. But that doesn’t mean cutting out carbohydrates altogether, since your body prefers glucose for energy. It just means being aware of the inconspicuous effects certain foods have on your body. When created, The low-GI diet was intended for diabetics. However, several other communities have adopted the lifestyle. It’s proven successful in managing blood sugar in Type 2 diabetics, according to Diabetes UK.
Why follow a low glycemic index diet?
Eating low glycemic foods can benefit anyone, not just diabetics. Unless you’re keto, carbohydrates are likely a major part of your diet. When choosing which carbohydrates to fuel yourself with, look at glycemic index databases online to find information beyond the nutrition label.
Some popular benefits of the diet are weight loss and maintenance. Not only do low GI foods regulate blood sugar, but they metabolize slower. Not only do insulin spikes from high GI foods hurt your health in the long run, the make you hungry in the short run. Therefore, those spikes lead to more calories consumed, and more weight gained. Foods with low glycemic indexes usually fall under complex carbohydrates, which are carbs that take more time to become sugar in your body. Complex carbs don’t have the drastic effect that simple carbs (high GI foods) do.
Weight loss isn’t the only thing to gain from this popular diet. With a few simple swaps to your carbs, here are some other low GI benefits, according to the Glycemic Index Foundation:
- Improve heart health
- Sustained energy levels
- Heightened mental performance
- Elevated sports performance
- Acne reduction
- Reduce breast cancer risk
What foods have a low glycemic index?
The many delicious foods you’re already eating that have a low glycemic index might surprise you. The GI scale ranges from 1-100: 1-55 being low, 56-69 being medium, and 70-100 being high. Keep in mind that amount, cooking method, fiber, and processing all affect glycemic index. Here’s how some of ingredients stack up:
- Sweet Potato
- Rolled oats
- Brown rice
- Whole wheat
- White bread
- Rice cakes
- Instant oatmeal
- Russet potatoes
- White rice
At Thrive Fitness, we help educate our members on the relationship between diet and exercise. The beauty of a low GI diet is that it can compliment almost any other nutritional preference. With Atlanta Meal Prep and our Holistic Nutrition coaches on-site, you can accomplish your goals both in and outside the gym. When you combine a healthy diet with one of Thrive Fitness’ personal trainers, you can live the healthy lifestyle that will benefit you for years to come. To get started today, email email@example.com.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day – unless you’re following intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting has gained popularity throughout pretty much every diet clan – especially the ketogenic diet community. Fasting may not sound attractive for snacking enthusiasts or fans of many small meals a day. Some fasting protocols are more extreme than others, but research suggests that it’s more sustainable and filling than you may think. If you’re opposed skipping out on meals – some research may make you think otherwise.
What is intermittent fasting?
Although there are several variations, the premise of them all is all the same: spend less time eating and more time not eating. For weight loss, research has shown that intermittent fasting can be a long-term, effective way of sustaining a healthy lifestyle. The typical fast lasts arounds 14-16 hours with an eating window of 8-10 hours. This version seems to be a fan favorite. There are other versions that have been slower to fame – like the ‘every-other-day’ fast and the ‘25/115’ fast. The ‘every-other-day’ fast is self-explanatory, while the ‘25/115’ consists of eating 25 percent of your calorie needs one day, and eating 115 of your calorie needs the next. Using either means, you significantly reduce the total amount of calories during the week.
Benefits of intermittent fasting
Many weight loss success stories have accredited intermittent fasting. However, research suggests that intermittent fasting can help you do more than lose weight. Here’s a sample of benefits you may experience while fasting:
- It’s easy. Little meals means little cooking. Its simple structure is easy to follow and is applicable to every diet preference. Intermittent fasting is also sustainable; The Atlantic reports that 80-90 people are able to stick with the plan long-term.
- Weight loss. Intermittent fasting has obvious benefits for weight loss, since you’re consuming significantly less calories in the long run. Besides reducing calories, this eating pattern works for weight loss because it boosts your metabolic rate, according to Healthline.
- Disease prevention. Intermittent fasting isn’t a cure for anything, but has showed promising results in prevention. By reducing blood sugar levels, intermittent fasting has protected people against type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It has also been linked to preventing/delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease and cancer.
Brain function. Studies show that intermittent fasting can gradually improve cognitive function. This includes improved learning and memory and decreased oxidative stress. That’s why fasting has been growing in popularity as a treatment for the obesity epidemic.
- Prolonged lifespan. This research is fairly recent and still in progress – but so far, the results have are positive among several species, Business Insider reported. The fresh research on humans so far has also been successful. The results are most likely because of the dips in bad cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
- Increased endurance. Intermittent fasting shifts your body’s fuel source from carbohydrates to stored fats – so basically ketosis. The fuel preference reduced their respiratory exchange ratio, or “the ratio of CO2 produced to O2 consumed,” according to Medical News Today. In other words, intermittent fasting makes for more efficient exercise.
Should I try intermittent fasting?
This tactic works for many, but it may not be your best choice. When it comes to losing weight or building muscle, they key factor is building sustainable habits. At Thrive Fitness, we believe that a well-balanced diet is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle along with an active lifestyle. Any diet change should be made under a nutrition expert’s guidance. That’s why we have Holistic Health and Nutrition Coaches at your disposal. Contact Thrive Fitness Atlanta to talk about which diet suits your lifestyle today at firstname.lastname@example.org.