Carbohydrate Counting not just for Diabetics

Carbohydrate Counting not just for Diabetics
Photo by Chicago Tribune

Foods that contain carbohydrates raise blood glucose. Your body converts carbs to sugar for energy after you eat. By keeping track of how many carbohydrates you consume, you can keep your blood sugar levels in your target range and avoid food cravings between meals. If you eat a consistent low glycemic diet one can keep their blood sugar relatively low all day, eat less total calories, and lose weight. So how do you ween yourself to a low glycemic diet?

Don't eat refined sugar when possible. They don't call it a 'Sugar High' for nothing. Avoid the crash and the resulting sugar cycle all together. Check food labels to see how much carbohydrate is in the food you eat. Most importantly check the serving size and the total carbohydrate amount. When carbohydrate counting, it is easy to forget about the protein and fat. Always include a source of protein and fat with those carbs to prevent over eating, slow the digestion process, and minimize the glucose spike.

Snickers doesn't really satisfy - because the carbs alone are broken down to sugar faster than when combined with slower digesting non-glucose impacting proteins - leaving you hungry and craving more.

Avoid carb-only meals and snacks. Eating a meal or a snack that is almost exclusively composed of carbohydrates will make your blood sugar levels jump more quickly after you eat and make you want to eat more than you need. Snacks like fruit juices, granola bars, potato chips, candies and instant oatmeal are almost all carbs and very low in protein. Get a good balance of carbs and protein at each of your meals and snacks. For example, add eggs, cheese or peanut butter to your breakfast, serve your pasta with grilled chicken or shrimp, and get extra cheese or meat on that sub sandwich. For snacks, combine grapes with cheese, a banana with peanut butter, an apple with a handful of nuts, or berries with cottage cheese or plain Greek yogurt.

Josha Krueger is a NSCA-CSCS certified personal trainer, an AFPA Sports Nutrition Consultant, and owner of Kru Strength + Fitness.

Filed under: Nutrition

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