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What is the Glycaemic Index and Glycaemic Load?

Glycaemic this and glycaemic that. Does it matter?

You’ll notice that they both begin with “glycaemic.” That’s one tip that they have to do with sugars and carbs. Not only how much sugar is in foods, but more importantly, how it affects your blood sugar levels.

In general, diets that are high on the glycaemic index (GI) and high in glycaemic load (GL), tend to increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

FUN FACT: Starches like those in potatoes and grains are digested into sugar; this is because starch is just a bunch of sugars linked together. Digestive enzymes break those bonds so that the sugars become free. Then those sugars affect your body the same way that eating sugary foods do.


Glycaemic Index (“how fast”)

The most common of the two terms is “glycaemic index” (GI).

As the name suggests, it “indexes” (or compares) the effect that different foods have on your blood sugar level. Then each food is given a score from 0 (no effect on blood sugar) to 100 (big effect on blood sugar). Foods that cause a fast increase in blood sugar have a high GI. That is because the sugar in them is quickly processed by your digestive system and absorbed into your blood. They cause a “spike” in your blood sugar.

So, you can probably guess that pure glucose is given a GI rating of 100. On the other hand, chickpeas are right down there at a GI of 10.

Regarding GI: low is anything under 55; moderate is 56-69, and 70+ is considered a high GI food.

Remember, this is a measure of how fast a carbohydrate-containing food is digested and raised your blood sugar. It’s not a measure of the sugar content of the food. 

How the carbohydrates in food affect your blood sugar level depend on other components of the food. Things like fibre and protein can slow the release of sugar into the bloodstream, and this can make even a high-sugar food, low on the GI scale.

So, lower GI foods are better at keeping your blood sugar levels stable because they don’t increase your blood sugar level as fast.

FUN FACT: Can you guess which food has a GI of higher than 100? (Think of something super-starchy) White potatoes! They have a GI of 111.


Glycaemic Load (“how much”)

The glycaemic load is different.

Glycaemic load (GL) doesn’t take into account how quickly your blood sugar “spikes”, but it looks at how high that spike is. Basically, how much the food increases your blood sugar.

GL depends on two things. First, how much sugar is actually in the food. Second, how much of the food is typically eaten.

Low GL would be 0-10,  moderate GL would be 10-20, and high GL would 20+.

Example of GL and GI

 So, let’s compare the average (120 g) servings of bananas and oranges:

Food

GI 

Serving size (g)

GL per serving

Banana, average

48

120

11

Oranges, average

45

120

5

Excerpt from: Harvard Health Publications, Glycaemic index and glycaemic load for 100+ foods

As you can see, the banana and orange have almost the same glycaemic index.; this means they both raise your blood sugar in about the same amount of time.

But, the average banana raises the blood sugar twice as high (11) as the orange does (5). So, it contains more overall sugar than the same amount (120 g) of orange.

Of course, this is all relative. A GL of 11 is not high at all. Please keep eating whole fruits. 🙂


What does this all mean for your health?

Certain people should be aware of the effects that foods have on their blood sugar. People who have diabetes or pre-diabetes conditions like insulin resistance need to be aware of the glycaemic index and glycaemic load of foods they are eating regularly. Those who want to lose weight should also pay close attention.

The GI and GL are just two factors to consider when it comes to blood sugar. Some high GI foods are pretty good for you but if you want to reduce the impact on your blood sugar, have them with a high-fibre or high-protein food.


Conclusion

If you have blood sugar imbalances or diabetes, you should probably be aware of the GI and GL of your food.

If you are at risk of diabetes or heart disease, you might try swapping out some higher GI/GL foods and replacing with lower GI/GL foods.

Oh, and try this low GI recipe I have for you.


Recipe (low GI): Mediterranean Salad

Serves 2

  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • ½ cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup black olives
  • ¼ red onion, diced
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 1 tsp basil
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • 1 dash sea salt
  • 1 dash black pepper

Place first five ingredients together in a bowl.

Add remaining ingredients to a jar (to make the dressing) with a tight-fitting lid and shake vigorously.

Add dressing to salad and gently toss.

Serve & enjoy!

Tip: Add chopped avocado for even more fibre and healthy fat.

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How Stress Messes With Your Health [+ Calming Iced Tea Recipe]

We all have some level of stress, right?

It may be temporary (acute), or long-term (chronic).

Acute stress usually won’t mess with your health too much. It is your body’s natural reaction to circumstances, and can even be life-saving.

Then, when the “threat” (a.k.a. “stressor”) is gone, the reaction subsides, and all is well.

It’s the chronic stress that’s a problem. You see, your body has specific stress reactions. If these stress reactions are triggered every day or many times a day that can mess with your health.

Stress (and stress hormones) can have a huge impact on your health.

Let’s dive into the “stress mess.”


Mess #1 – Increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity

Why save the best for last? Anything that increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes (both serious, chronic conditions) needs to be discussed.

Stress increases the risk for heart disease, diabetes and obesity by promoting chronic inflammation, affecting your blood “thickness,” as well as how well your cells respond to insulin.

Almost all of my clients that are struggling to lose weight are being held back by (often hidden) stress!


Mess #2 – Immunity

Did you notice that you get sick more often when you’re stressed? Maybe you get colds, cold sores, or even the flu more frequently when you are stressed?

Well, that’s because stress hormones affect the chemical messengers (cytokines) secreted by immune cells and consequently, they are less able to do their jobs effectively.


Mess #3 – “Leaky Gut.”

Stress can contribute to leaky gut, otherwise known as “intestinal permeability.” These “leaks” can then allow partially digested food, bacteria or other things to be absorbed into your body.

The stress hormone cortisol can open up tiny holes by loosening the grip your digestive cells have to each other.

Picture this: Have you ever played “British Bulldog?” It’s where a row of children hold hands while one runs at them to try to break through. Think of those hands as the junctions between cells. When they get loose, they allow things to get in that should be passing right through.  Cortisol (produced in excess in chronic stress) is a strong player in Bulldog!


Mess #4 – Sleep Disruption

Stress and sleep go hand-in-hand, wouldn’t you agree? It’s often difficult to sleep when you have very important (and stressful) things on your mind.

And when you don’t get enough sleep, it affects your energy level, memory, ability to think, and mood.

More and more research is showing just how important sleep is for your health.  Not enough sleep (and too much stress) aren’t doing you any favours.


Stress-busting tips

Reducing stressors in your life is an obvious first step.

Can you:

  • Put less pressure on yourself?

  • Ask for help?

  • Say “no”?

  • Delegate to someone else?

  • Finally, make that decision?

No matter how hard you try, you won’t eliminate stress altogether. So, here are a few things you can try to help reduce its effect on you:

  • Deep breathing

  • Meditation

  • Walk in nature

  • Unplug (read a book, take a bath)

  • Exercise (yoga, tai chi, etc.)

  • Connect with loved ones


Conclusion

Stress is a huge and often underappreciated factor in our health. It can impact your physical body much more than you might realise.

Stress has been shown to increase the risk for heart disease and diabetes, affect your immune system, digestion and sleep.

There are things you can do to both reduce stressors and also to improve your response to it.

You can ditch that stress mess!


Recipe (relaxing chamomile): Chamomile Peach Iced Tea

Serves 1

  • 1 cup steeped chamomile tea, cooled
  • 1 peach, diced

Place both ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Add ice if desired.

Serve & enjoy!

Tip: You can use fresh or frozen peaches.

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How To Balance Blood Sugar

Oh, the words “blood sugar.”

Does it conjure up visions of restrictive eating, diabetes medications, or insulin injections?

Blood sugar is the measure of the amount of sugar in your blood. You need the right balance of sugar in your blood to fuel your brain and muscles.

The thing is, it can fluctuate. A lot.

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Work Smarter For Weight Loss

Inflammation, hormone imbalance and blood sugar imbalance are all driving your weight gain or preventing weight loss.

Eating less and exercising more will not correct those imbalances no matter how hard you work.

If you want to be successful (and that means to lose weight AND keeping it off long-term) then you’ve got to work SMARTER. Kick-start your success by joining me for my free 5 day challenge to curb carb cravings, starting January 5th 2019.

By joining me for this gentle detox (no pills, shakes or juicing) you’ll no longer be a slave to your cravings and that makes weight loss so much easier…

Join Us For Our Free 5 Day Detox...

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How To Avoid Piling On The Pounds At Christmas

Christmas.

The number 1 thing I look forward to at Christmas is spending time with my loved ones.

Spending time playing games and eating.

The work and club Christmas meals, Christmas dinner, advent calendars, selection boxes, mince pies, Christmas pudding, brandy butter, spiced cookies, baileys, mulled wine, bucks fizz and on and on the feast goes!

It’s relentless!

It’s a time when your months of hard work can be undone in just a few days. But it doesn’t have to be this way! You can still enjoy your favourite Christmas treats if you’re savvy!


Tip #1: Avoid Grazing

One of the big problems at Christmas is the grazing. Every time something sweet, carb-based (mince pies, biscuits, crackers, peanuts) or a sweetened drink passes your lips, your blood sugar will significantly increase and you’ll go into fat storage mode. At Christmas, we graze AND we have our main meals. You’ll be in fat storage mode A LOT!

You can still eat your normal meals but try to keep the nibbles and drinks to immediately after your main meals. This gives your body more time between meals to allow your blood sugar to come back down.


Tip #2: Fasting

Something I get lots of my clients doing is fasting because it flips the switch from fat storage to fat burning. This can take many forms and the most popular option is to skip or delay breakfast. By doing this you have a long overnight fast, which allows your blood sugar and insulin to decrease.

To feel good whilst fasting:

  1. Drink plenty of water (you lose more when you fast)
  2. Break your fast with a protein-rich meal. This could be eggs, protein pancakes or a fry-up (skip the fried bread) for example.

Tip #3: This or that

Another client tip that’s useful at Christmas is to either have carbs with your main or have a dessert, not both (or if you want to be really strict then don’t have either!).

So if you particularly look forward to desserts, skip the carbs (potato, pasta, rice, bread) with the main meal.

If you’re a big drinker then I’d include this in the equation. If you want to drink more than a couple without undoing your hard work then it’s worth considering skipping the carbs and dessert.


Summary

Allow yourself to indulge on the big day; one high-calorie day can actually boost metabolism!

If you have numerous social events that involve eating off-plan during the Christmas period then follow the above tips to avoid undoing all your hard work.

After Christmas, to help you get back on the wagon, use my FREE ‘5 Day Detox to Curb Carb Cravings’ to get you back on track and super focused.  Sign up below!

Join Us For Our Free 5 Day Detox...

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I have women contacting me every day, who tell me “I’m virtually starving myself, why am I not losing weight?!” It’s because they haven’t addressed the underlying cause of weight gain; hormone imbalance.

Join Us For Our Free 5 Day Detox...

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Those who lose weight and keep it off have a very different mindset to ‘dieters’. The successful think about forever not just the coming weeks or months. The successful think about what they’re trying to gain, not how much weight they have to lose!

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Five Weight-Loss Friendly Snacks You Will Love

Anyone that has worked with me or has been to one of my talks will know that I typically recommend skipping the snacks. There are a few good reasons for this:

  1. Eating too frequently can prevent blood sugar and insulin levels from staying in the healthy range, leading to increased fat storage.
  2. Eating too frequently switches off a super important process in the small intestine called the ‘migrating motor complex’. This clears bacteria preventing overgrowth.

However, sometimes a snack is necessary if for example, you’re having a particularly active day.

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Weight Loss Is Changing

The eat less move more concept is a very small part of a very big picture. It’s the part of weight management that has the least impact, especially when you have your hormones to contend with, and I’m not just talking about oestrogen here.

I have women contacting me every day, who tell me “I’m virtually starving myself, why am I not losing weight?!” It’s because they haven’t addressed the underlying cause of weight gain; hormone imbalance.

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