Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus.See all posts »
White Bread Raises Risk
I know you have been "whole grained" out in the past few years. Whole grains are everywhere, from our bread to our Lucky Charms. A new study out of Australia found that high blood glucose levels led to greater risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, gallstones, and some cancers. How do we get high blood glucose? By eating foods that have a high glycemic index.
The researchers were surprised at how strong the link between glycemic index was to not only diabetes risk, but these other diseases, especially cancer. It is thought that the spike in blood sugar causes the body to release more insulin as well as insulin like growth factor one (IGF-1). Both insulin and iGF-1 can increase cell growth and decrease cell death, leading to increased risk of cancer.
Glycemic index is a measure of how quickly blood sugar goes up in response to eating a food, and it also looks at how long the glucose stays elevated before it goes back down. Foods that have a high glycemic index spike sugar quickly, but does not necessarily keep someone full. The result is high blood sugar with feelings of hunger, wanting to eat again. Foods with a low glycemic index are digested and absorbed more slowly, gradually raising blood sugar.
High glycemic index foods are generally high in sugar or refined starch (white flour). Foods low to moderate in glycemic index contain fiber and/or protein, which inhibit the rise in blood sugar.
Choose whole grain varieties of your favorite starches, and load up on fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and low fat dairy? Sound familiar? I know...we hear it all the time! Be sensible with the desserts, sweets, and alcohol because those are high glycemic.
Photo courtesy of Charles Haynes