In one case, a high-carbohydrate diet can be just the right way to get overweight under control. Others seem to be exactly the opposite. Scientific studies underline this statement: the less fat and the more carbohydrates people ingest, the fatter and sicker they get! The reasons for this are complex: There are carbohydrates that get very quickly from the intestines into the bloodstream and cause a rise in blood sugar levels.
Influence Of Carbohydrates On Insulin Levels
Insulin – a hormone from the pancreas – now has to regulate the blood sugar level back into the normal range. If the blood sugar level rises sharply, there is an enormous activation of insulin and, as a result, a drop in blood sugar below the norm. This hypoglycemia manifests itself as tiredness and an increased appetite for sweet foods. If you give in to cravings and eat foods rich in carbohydrates, the blood sugar can again rise above the norm and cause further insulin activation. Accordingly, hypoglycemia and hypoglycemia alternate regularly with a corresponding release of insulin.
This is where the problem begins: a high-carbohydrate diet can be a cause of increased insulin levels. As medical research has shown, an excess of insulin means that the organism does not burn fats that it ingests with food, but instead increasingly stores it as fat reserves, while at the same time reducing fat loss. In short: high insulin levels can lead to weight gain. However, the influence of carbohydrate foods on this process varies. Some have the ability to raise blood sugar levels more than others.
Glycemic Index Used To Measure Blood Sugar Levels
The so-called glycemic index (GI) is used to assess which carbohydrates are “good” and which are “bad”. The GI is a measurement that tells you how much your blood sugar level rises after consuming a certain food. A low GI is below 40, a medium is 40-70 and a high one is above 80. The selection of carbohydrate sources with low and medium GI is advantageous, as these cause only slight fluctuations in blood sugar and insulin and thus disinhibit fat burning.
The Glycemic Index is a practical tool for diet planning for weight loss, but it should not be overstated. Studies show that there are strong intra- and inter-individual differences in the GI. Intra-individual differences mean that one and the same person can have different blood sugar levels depending on the time of day and previous physical activity. Early in the morning, there is typically a lower increase in blood sugar levels and thus insulin than in the evening, as the cells’ insulin sensitivity decreases over the course of the day. Exercise also leads to a lower increase in the level of glucose in the blood. This means that there can be differences of up to 30% in the GI for the same person and the same food.
It should also be borne in mind that when determining the glycemic index, the food was eaten in isolation and contained exactly 50 g of carbohydrates, which does not correspond to natural eating habits at all. Rather, our food consists of a combination of different foods, which can have a strong influence on the course of the blood sugar level. Combining carbohydrates with fat, protein, and/or fiber results in a slower or faster rise in blood glucose than with isolated administration.
In addition, there are foods with a relatively high GI, but due to their low carbohydrate content, they do not trigger any significant fluctuations in blood sugar. For example, to take in 50 g of carbohydrates by eating carrots with a high GI of 71, one would have to consume around 850 g of carrots. The actual effect on the blood sugar level and thus on the insulin release is correspondingly small with a normal portion of 100-150 g.
With regard to the insulin response, the glycemic index alone is of little informative value, since the insulin response is dependent on both the type and the number of carbohydrates supplied and is also influenced by other nutrients. In order to take this into account, the term “Glycemic Load” (GL) has recently been used, translated as glycemic load or glycemic load. The GL is calculated by dividing the glycemic index by 100 and multiplying the result by the number of carbohydrates consumed. Accordingly, z. B. with 5.3 the value for the glycemic load of 100 g carrots. Large portions of pasta, rice, potatoes, and pastries have a high glycemic load. Scientific studies show an increased risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disorders in a diet with high GL.