Carbohydrates affect blood glucose levels the most, so the amount of carbohydrate eaten daily is important

With the festive season now over, it’s time to get back on track.The first step is to take stock of your nutrition regime.
Go through your kitchen presses and bin all the tempting treats you’ve eaten over the last few weeks.Then restock with fresh wholesome foods. The most important component for weight loss is insulin management.
Insulin aka the fat hormone, plays an important role. It’s key for recovering from exercise, building muscle and maintaining optimal blood sugar levels. Insulin and carbohydrates are tightly linked. The more carbohydrates eaten, the more insulin released.
Carbohydrate foods affect blood glucose levels the most. Examples of these foods are the fruit group, the starch and starchy vegetable group and the milk and yogurt group. Carbohydrate-only foods raise blood glucose quicker than those containing fats and protein. Carbohydrates eaten with fats and protein will have a slower impact on blood glucose.

Food composition
Blood glucose levels vary depending on whether you eat carbohydrates, proteins, fats, or a combination of these three. Carbohydrates will cause the highest and quickest blood glucose rise.
Carbohydrate containing liquids (milk and juice) will cause blood glucose to rise faster than solid carbohydrates (bread). This impact makes carbohydrates the most important macronutrient for people with diabetes to monitor.

Portion size
The amount of food eaten also affectson blood glucose levels. Eating bigger portions causes blood glucose levels to rise more. Keeping track of the amount of carbohydrates eaten daily is important in controlling blood glucose levels
To measure the quantity of carbohydrates eaten daily, you need to know about food groups, serving sizes and Nutrition Facts labels.
One serving from each of the three carbohydrate groups contains about 15g of carbohydrates. Therefore, eating one serving from any of these groups will affect blood glucose levels in the same way. For comparison, one slice of bread has about 15g of carbohydrate. For weight loss aim to keep your total carbohydrates for the day to around 50g.

Timing
Blood glucose levels are affected by the timing of meals. Eating three meals and one or two snacks at the same time daily will maintain consistent blood glucose levels. Ask your doctor or dietician how many meals/snacks to eat daily.
Blood glucose levels are affected by the timing of meals and snacks. It’s important to eat the same amount of carbohydrate at each meal or snack to keep blood glucose levels within target.
To optimise insulin for fat loss, aim to get most of your carbohydrates from vegetables and some fruit and good carbs like steel-cut gluten-free oatmeal, sweet potato, winter squash and any type of rice, quinoa or legumes (beans and lentils) directly after exercise.
In reality carbs are neither “good” nor “bad”. Some carbs are simply better choices than others.

 Greg Marsh
Fat loss expert, personal trainer and owner of Synergise Personal Training in Stepaside. For further information, see www.synergise.ie.

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