Saturday, September 3, 2011

Potatoes and Glycemic Load





This is taken from a medical advice newsletter and it illuminates an important truth.  The potato and that also means all white starchy foods are direct sources of carbohydrates and thus difficult to manage on their own in one’s diet.

A lot has been said about fast food, but the reality the only fast food we should really worry about is the French fry.  The rest sort of works itself out.  A hamburger by itself is not a lousy meal but not one to repeat too often.

The bottom line is that refine starch is as bad as outright sugar.  Starch is immediately converted to glucose before it even gets out of the stomach. Thus its glycemic index is sky high.

Anyone watching their weight most needs to be watching their starch intake most of all.  Even sweet potatoes

















 “You should see it, Robin. You should see the belly on me. I’m running, I’m lifting weights… for like two hours a day.”

“I’m thinking of giving up. I hate it.”

I was listening to the Howard Stern Show in my car for a few minutes on the way to the clinic and Howard was telling his co-host Robin Quivers about how upset he was with himself.

Then he said something like, “I don’t get it. I eat right. I have a low-fat baked potato every day. And I still have this 10 pounds I can’t get rid of.”

I’ve read scores of books on nutrition, I’ve attended multiple conferences and I’m a certified clinical nutritionist. I’ve been thinking and living this and doing everything I can to eat healthier since I was a small child… and I’ve made the same mistake.

I don’t fault anyone for not getting it. It’s a fledgling science, and we thought we knew things that later turned out to be wrong.

Plus, I’ve done this for a living, and the disinformation campaign is still overwhelming to me. We see and hear so much through the mass media because they have an incentive to sell you things that are unnatural. Because that’s where the profit is.

Yet I still find myself wanting to agree with those jingles and commercials. I feel that emotion of “Oh, a low fat diet. That does seem so healthy...” And I have to correct myself.

Nutritionist thought they were doing the right thing by telling everyone to remove all fat from your diet. But it’s not fat that makes you fat. It’s excess carbohydrates.

As far as a potato goes, Howard might as well have said, “I’m eating a snickers bar every day, why aren’t I lean?”

In fact, he’d be slightly better off to eat a snickers bar than a potato.

Potatoes are an all-starch food. There’s almost zero fat or protein in a potato. It’s almost pure carbohydrate. And it’s a kind of starch that breaks down into sugar exceptionally fast. As soon as a potato hits your saliva it starts turning into blood sugar.

All that blood sugar means you have to produce more and more insulin to process it. Eventually, your body gets tired and stops responding.

It’s kind of like walking into a kitchen while someone is cooking. At first, you get a blast of aroma. But after a few minutes, you don’t notice it any more. Your hormones are the same. When your body stops responding to insulin, it’s called insulin resistance.

Blood sugar that your body can’t or won’t process gets stored as fat. So it’s foods with excess carbohydrates that can make you fat. Not fat itself.

So the idea is to eat foods that don’t spike your blood sugar. Also, you want to let your blood sugar come back down after eating so that your insulin doesn’t stay elevated for too long.

This means eating foods with a low Glycemic Load (GL). The GL is simply a number you get when you multiply a food’s Glycemic Index (GI) rating by the total amount of carbohydrate in each serving you eat.

That makes it much more practical for your everyday life because the GL tells you how fattening a food is.

For instance, let’s look at a Snickers Bar. It has a glycemic index rating of 68. That means it breaks down into blood sugar much slower than table sugar (which has a 100 rating).

A potato has a sky-high GI of 104. So it’s worse for your blood sugar than actual sugar. And much worse than a snickers bar.

But that’s not the whole story.

A Snickers Bar also has more of the right kind of fat and more protein than a potato. And because it has more stuff in each serving than just pure carbs, it has a lower Glycemic Load. That means it’s less fattening.

A medium potato has an enormous 216 grams of carbs per serving. This gives it an incredibly high GL of 36.

The GL is a fresh way to look at everyday foods. Some GL ratings may surprise you – especially if you’ve been eating cereal and potatoes.

I consider foods with a glycemic load under 10 as good choices. They are a green light. Foods that fall between 10 and 20 on the GL scale are more like a yellow light: not bad, but proceed with caution.

Foods above 20 are a red light. They will not only make you gain weight but keep you from dropping weight just like Howard Stern is experiencing. Eat those foods sparingly and try to eat protein instead. Protein has a GL of zero. For the complete glycemic load chart, click here.

If you want to eat a potato, stay away from white potatoes and opt for a sweet potato instead. It has a GL of only 12, and they’re loaded with carotenoids, vitamin C, potassium, micronutrients and fiber.

To Your Good Health,

Al Sears, MD

What is the Glycemic Index?

The Glycemic Index (GI) is one the best tools for fat loss. It measures how quickly foods breakdown into sugar in your bloodstream. High glycemic foods turn into blood sugar very quickly. Starchy foods like potatoes are a good example. Potatoes have such a high GI rating; its almost the same as eating table sugar.

What is the Glycemic Load (GL)?

The GI tells you how fast foods spike your blood sugar. But the GI won’t tell you how much carbohydrate per serving you’re getting. That’s where the Glycemic Load is a great help. It measures the amount of carbohydrate in each service of food. Foods with a glycemic load under 10 are good choices—these foods should be your first choice for carbs. Foods that fall between 10 and 20 on the glycemic load scale have a moderate affect on your blood sugar. Foods with a glycemic load above 20 will cause blood sugar and insulin spikes. Try to eat those foods sparingly.

Food
Glycemic Index
Serving Size (g)
Glycemic Load
CANDY/SWEETS



Honey
87
2 Tbs
17.9
Jelly Beans
78
1 oz
22
Snickers Bar
68
60g (1/2 bar)
23
Table Sugar
68
2 Tsp
7
Strawberry Jam
51
2 Tbs
10.1
Peanut M&M’s
33
30 g (1 oz)
5.6
Dove Dark Chocolate Bar
23
37g (1 oz)
4.4
BAKED GOODS & CEREALS



Corn Bread
110
60g (1 piece)
30.8
French Bread
95
64g (1 slice)
29.5
Corn Flakes
92
28g (1 cup)
21.1
Corn Chex
83
30g (1 cup)
20.8
Rice Krispies
82
33g (1.25 cup)
23
Corn pops
80
31g (1 cup)
22.4
Donut (lrg glazed)
76
75g (1 donut)
24.3
Waffle (homemade)
76
75g (1 waffle)
18.7
Grape Nuts
75
58g (1/2 cup)
31.5
Bran Flakes
74
29g (3/4 cup)
13.3
Graham Cracker
74
14g (2 sqrs)
8.1
Cheerios
74
30g (1 cup)
13.3
Kaiser Roll
73
57g (1 roll)
21.2
Bagel
72
89g (1/4 in.)
33
Corn tortilla
70
24g (1 tortilla)
7.7
Melba Toast
70
12g (4 rounds)
5.6
Wheat Bread
70
28g (1 slice)
7.7
White Bread
70
25g (1 slice)
8.4
Kellogg’s Special K
69
31g (1 cup)
14.5
Taco Shell
68
13g (1 med)
4.8
Angel food cake
67
28g (1 slice)
10.7
Croissant, Butter
67
57g (1 med)
17.5
Muselix
66
55g (2/3 cup)
23.8
Oatmeal, Instant
65
234g (1 cup)
13.7
Rye bread, 100% whole
65
32g (1 slice)
8.5
Rye Krisp Crackers
65
25 (1 wafer)
11.1
Raisin Bran
61
61g (1 cup)
24.4
Bran Muffin
60
113g (1 med)
30
Blueberry Muffin
59
113g (1 med)
30
Oatmeal
58
117g (1/2 cup)
6.4
Whole wheat pita
57
64g (1 pita)
17
Oatmeal Cookie
55
18g (1 large)
6
Popcorn
55
8g (1 cup)
2.8
Pound cake, Sara Lee
54
30g (1 piece)
8.1
Vanilla Cake and Vanilla Frosting
42
64g (1 slice)
16
Pumpernickel bread
41
26g (1slice)
4.5
Chocolate cake w/chocolate frosting
38
64g (1 slice)
12.5
BEVERAGES



Gatorade Powder
78
16g (.75 scoop)
11.7
Cranberry Juice Cocktail
68
253g (1 cup)
24.5
Cola, Carbonated
63
370g (12oz can)
25.2
Orange Juice
57
249g (1 cup)
14.25
Hot Chocolate Mix
51
28g (1 packet)
11.7
Grapefruit Juice, sweetened
48
250g (1 cup)
13.4
Pineapple Juice
46
250g (1 cup)
14.7
Soy Milk
44
245g (1 cup)
4
Apple Juice
41
248g (1 cup)
11.9
Tomato Juice
38
243g (1 cup)
3.4
LEGUMES



Baked Beans
48
253g (1 cup)
18.2
Pinto Beans
39
171g (1 cup)
11.7
Lima Beans
31
241g (1 cup)
7.4
Chickpeas, Boiled
31
240g (1 cup)
13.3
Lentils
29
198g (1 cup)
7
Kidney Beans
27
256g (1 cup)
7
Soy Beans
20
172g (1 cup)
1.4
Peanuts
13
146g (1 cup)
1.6
VEGETABLES



Potato
104
213g (1 med)
36.4
Parsnip
97
78g (1/2 cup)
11.6
Carrot, raw
92
15g (1 large)
1
Beets, canned
64
246g (1/2 cup)
9.6
Corn, yellow
55
166g (1 cup)
61.5
Sweet Potato
54
133g (1 cup)
12.4
Yam
51
136g (1 cup)
16.8
Peas, Frozen
48
72g (1/2 cup)
3.4
Tomato
38
123g (1 med)
1.5
Broccoli, cooked
0
78g (1/2 cup)
0
Cabbage, cooked
0
75g (1/2 cup)
0
Celery, raw
0
62g (1 stalk)
0
Cauliflower
0
100g (1 cup)
0
Green Beans
0
135g (1 cup)
0
Mushrooms
0
70g (1 cup)
0
Spinach
0
30g (1 cup)
0
FRUIT



Watermelon
72
152g (1 cup)
7.2
Pineapple, raw
66
155g (1 cup)
11.9
Cantaloupe
65
177g (1 cup)
7.8
Apricot, canned in light syrup
64
253g (1 cup)
24.3
Raisins
64
43g (small box)
20.5
Papaya
60
140g (1 cup)
6.6
Peaches, canned, heavy syrup
58
262g (1 cup)
28.4
Kiwi, w/ skin
58
76g (1 fruit)
5.2
Fruit Cocktail, drained
55
214g (1 cup)
19.8
Peaches, canned, light syrup
52
251g (1 cup)
17.7
Banana
51
118g (1 med)
12.2
Mango
51
165g (1 cup)
12.8
Orange
48
140g (1 fruit)
7.2
Pears, canned in pear juice
44
248g (1 cup)
12.3
Grapes
43
92g (1 cup)
6.5
Strawberries
40
152g (1 cup)
3.6
Apples, w/ skin
39
138g (1 med)
6.2
Pears
33
166g (1 med)
6.9
Apricot, dried
32
130g (1 cup)
23
Prunes
29
132g (1 cup)
34.2
Peach
28
98g (1 med)
2.2
Grapefruit
25
123g (1/2 fruit)
2.8
Plum
24
66g (1 fruit)
1.7
Sweet Cherries, raw
22
117g (1 cup)
3.7
NUTS



Cashews
22


Almonds
0


Hazelnuts
0


Macademia
0


Pecans
0


Walnuts
0


DAIRY



Ice Cream (Lower Fat)
47
76g (1/2 cup)
9.4
Pudding
44
100g (1/2 cup)
8.4
Milk, Whole
40
244g (1 cup)
4.4
Ice Cream
38
72g (1/2 cup)
6
Yogurt, Plain
36
245g (1 cup)
6.1

Follow these tips for Fat Busting Meals:

Avoid grains, including corn

Avoid potatoes and other white foods, like white rice, sugar and salt.

Try making protein the focus of each meal. It kicks your metabolism into higher gear. All meats, fish and poultry are the real “guilt-free” foods. The protein will help you handle insulin better, build muscle and repair tissue-all essential for staying lean and preventing diabetes.

Snack on nuts and seeds.  They are a good source of protein and have Omega 3’s.

Avoid processed foods, trans fats, caffeine, and high fructose corn syrup. All increase insulin resistance.

Choose vegetables that are low glycemic.

Choose fruits such as berries and fruits you can eat with the skin on.

Eat a high protein breakfast every morning. It will stabilize your blood sugar and get you off to a good start.

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