So check this out, your body has the amazing ability to take the foods you eat and literally turn them into you. Pretty cool don’t you think! Whether you eat an apple, a steak or a kale salad, your body is able to break that food down into its chemical parts and reassemble those parts into your cells and the energy you use all day. This is flat out awesome considering outside the plant and animal kingdom, nothing else can do that!
Here is the deal though, your body is only as amazing as the material it has to work with, like a fine tuned machine, the quality of the food you put into your amazing body has a huge impact on your overall health. An apple is not just an apple, nor is a steak just a steak. As stated above, your body is able to break those foods down into their chemical parts, like macronutrients and micronutrients. So what makes these nutrients so important, lets take a closer look!
What Are Macronutrients:
Macronutrients are nutrients that provide calories or energy. Derived from the prefix makro (Greek), which means big or large, used because macronutrients are required in large amounts. There are three broad classes of macro-nutrients which make up your primary food sources know as proteins,carbohydrates and fats.
The main function of macronutrients is to provide energy, counted as calories. While each of the macronutrients provides calories, the amount provided by each varies. Carbohydrates provides four calories per gram (I think we are all pretty well versed here),proteins;also four, while fats provides nine calories per gram.
Macronutrients also have specific roles in maintaining the body and contribute to the taste, texture and appearance of foods, which helps to make the diet more varied and enjoyable.
Macronutrients broken down:
- Carbohydrates – are required for energy. As diabetics we all have varying opinions on carbohydrates and the amounts that we like to ingest , but glucose, which is a monosaccharide, is the most essential source of energy in the body. The brain works entirely on glucose alone. When an immediate source of energy is required, glucose is converted into glycogen which is stored in the liver. When energy is needed it is converted into glucose again and used to release energy. Carbohydrates provide 4 calories of energy per gram.
- Fats – have the highest caloric content. This means they provide the largest amount of energy when burnt. When measured by a calorimeter, fats provide about 9 calories per gram, making them twice as energy-rich than protein and carbohydrates. Extra fat is stored in adipose tissue and is burnt when the body has run out of carbohydrates. Fat is also needed to take up fat-soluble vitamins.
- Proteins– are the third and last source of energy. They are the last to be used of all macronutrients. In cases of extreme starvation, the muscles in the body, that are made up of proteins, are used to provide energy. This is called muscle wasting. Proteins also provide 4 calories per gram.
Ok, so I was researching some information the other day when it came to certain foods and I came across a term that was unfamiliar to me. As diabetics we are so use to hearing about the glycemic index (that’s all that was preached to me upon my T1D diagnoses 11 years ago) and why we need to make sure our foods are on the lower end of this scale to make sure our blood sugars remain more stable and do not skyrocket, but as I was researching these particular foods, I came across something I’ve haven’t really heard much about…the glycemic load
What is this glycemic load? Is it the same as the glycemic index? Will it have a direct impact on my blood sugars?All great questions so lets take a closer look!
Difference Between Glycemic Index And Load?
Just to quickly review, the glycemic index is a relative ranking of carbohydrate in foods according to how they affect blood glucose levels. Carbohydrates with a low GI value (55 or less) are more slowly digested, absorbed and metabolized and cause a lower and slower rise in blood glucose and are categorized into 3 categories.
The categories are as follows:
Low = GI value 55 or less
Medium = GI value of 56 – 69 inclusive
High = GI 70 or more
Lower glycemic index foods, unlike high GI, will not cause your blood glucose levels to spike and crash, meaning you get sustained energy from the foods you eat. So now that we’ve reviewed that tid bit of info, how does the glycemic load compare?
How About The Glycemic Load?
The glycemic load of food is a number (just like the glycemic index) that estimates how much the food will raise a person’s blood glucose level after eating it. One unit of the glycemic load approximates the effect of consuming one gram of glucose, but the difference is that the glycemic load accounts for how much carbohydrate is in a particular food and how much each gram of that particular carbohydrate will raise ones blood glucose levels (now you can see my peaked curiosity).
Foods with a low glycemic load keep blood sugar levels much more consistent, meaning that you avoid experiencing those quick spikes and dramatic lows that we can become accustomed to. The reason being is that you are accounting for that particular carbohydrate with it comes to bolusing for your meals.
By watching the glycemic load of the foods you ingest you can dramatically impact your overall health in many ways. A diet focused on foods with a low glycemic load can:
- Make it easier to lose weight and avoid the dreaded diet plateau
- Avoid the roller coaster effect and maintain stable blood sugar levels (yes, please!)
- Help you burn more calories
- Help with insulin resistance
- Lower your risk for heart disease
How Do I Calculate The Glycemic Load?
Ok, so this is probably the most important question. The glycemic load (GL) is a measure of both the quality (the GI value) and quantity (grams per serving) of a carbohydrate in a particular food. A food’s glycemic load is determined by multiplying its glycemic index by the amount of carbohydrate the food contains in each serving, then dividing that by 100. Confused a bit, lets take a look at this example of an apple.
Using a small apple as an example: GI value = 38. Carbohydrate per serving = 15g
GL = 38 (glycemic index) x 15 (grams of carb)
So the glycemic load of a typical apple is 6. Great, now your probably asking yourself, what do you do with this information?
Well, similar to the glycemic index, the glycemic load of a food can be classified as low, medium, or high reflecting on how quickly they will raise your blood sugars:
- Low: 10 or less
- Medium: 11 – 19
- High: 20 or more
For optimal health, it is recommended to keep your daily glycemic load under 100. However, the simplest way to use the GL is to choose foods with the lowest GI within a food group or category and to be mindful of your serving sizes.
GMOs have been all over the news lately, the good, the bad and the ugly. But are GMOs really that unsafe for you? Lets take a look! GMOs, or “genetically modified organisms,” also know as plants or animals created through the gene splicing techniques of biotechnology (also called genetic engineering, or GE). This experimental technology merges DNA from different species, creating unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding.
Types Of Genetically Modified Food:
GMOs exist with certain crops such as alfalfa, canola, corn, cotton, papaya, rice, soybean, sugar beet, summer squash, and tobacco. Currently, 95% of U.S. soybean and 85% of U.S. corn is genetically modified. The two most common traits genetically engineered into plants are herbicide tolerance (glyphosate or glufosinate ammonium herbicide) and insect resistance (i.e. to insects such as European corn borer, corn root-worm black cutworm and fall armyworm), although work on developing other traits such as drought tolerance have received equivalent emphasis in recent years.
GMOs Effects On The Body:
Sufficient long-term studies have not been conducted to prove how GMOs in food affect human beings. However, GMOs present a danger for people who have allergies. Because GMOs are not always labeled, a person who is highly allergic to peanuts, for example, could accidentally and unknowingly eat a peanut gene hidden in another food, which could be enough to cause a reaction. There have also been cases when people had severe reactions to specific types of GMOs found in rice and soy beans.
There are a number of reason why I personally avoid fast food, one of which is due to propyl gallate. As a type 1 diabetic, I always make a conservative effort to eating a healthy diet and putting nothing but the best ingredients into my body, here is one reason why.
Manufacturers add propyl gallate to food products, including vegetable oil, mayonnaise, meat, soup, dried milk, spices, candy, snack foods, vitamins and chewing gum. Propyl gallate also is a common additive to pet food. The personal care industry adds propyl gallate to perfume, soaps, lotions and moisturizers, lipstick and other make-up, hair care products, bath products, sunscreen, skin care and toothpaste. In addition, the substance is added to adhesives and lubricants.
Propyl Gallate Health Dangers:
Propyl Gallate can cause allergic reactions in the form of an asthma attack in some people. It can also cause stomach and skin irritation, liver damage, kidney damage and has the potential to increase your chances of having cancer. Animal testing has proven that the likelihood of contracting cancer increased; however, due to the conditions of the study itself, scientists state that it cannot, in any degree of certainty, be stated that propyl gallate causes cancer.
Everyday we chow down on chemically produced food that carry deadly poisons. Today, the food we eat…meat, poultry and dairy, we eat the residue of everything the animal ate, including growth hormones, pesticides and contaminants and the primary reason why I chose to start living an organic lifestyle when it comes to food choices as well as daily use personal care products for me and my family.
Below I discuss some of the harmful chemicals commonly found in our food and personal products, along with descriptions of what they are, where they’re found and why they’re bad. Lets take a closer look!
GMOs and Food:
Monsanto is an American multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation responsible for hazards such as Agent Orange. They are currently well known for Genetically Modified agriculture, owning nearly 90% of staple GMO food crops such as corn, soy, and cotton. In independent studies GMO food has been linked to organ failure, and a recent Russian study has concluded near-total sterility in GMO-soy-fed hamsters by the third generation.
The question of whether or not genetically modified foods (GMO’s) are safe for human consumption is an ongoing debate that does not seem to see any resolution except in the arena of public opinion. Due to lack of labeling, Americans are still left at a loss as to whether or not what is on the table is genetically modified. This lack of information makes the avoiding and tracking of GM foods, very difficult. The top 10 worst GMO foods for your “do not eat” GMO foods list include corn, sugar, aspartame, papayas, canola oil, cotton oil, dairy, zucchini, and yellow squash.