Fruit and Weight Loss: Low Glycemic Index
A frequently asked question to many nutritional experts is why are all the fruit and fruit juices eliminated from their meal plans? The answer to this very popular question is primarily the fructose, which is the sugar found in fruit. Unfortunately, our body must use the fructose within 2 hours of consumption, or it will be stored as body fat. The liver will convert the fructose rapidly into a long chain triglyceride, or otherwise know as fat. Unless timed properly, most of the fruit you will consume will end up as extra body fat pounds and ultimately inhibit your goals. Therefore, elimination of most fruits is suggested if one is needing to lose body fat, wants to compete in a physique competition or one who needs to clear up their complexion.
For an athlete or a body builder, fructose could be detrimental to their success since fructose is primarily for restoring liver glycogen, not muscle glycogen. Glucose is more of a source for athletes to use to restore muscle glycogen. Foods such as yams, potatoes, oats, grains or a glucose polymer drink are much better sources than simple sugars.
Getting Familiar with the GLYCEMIC INDEX
The glycemic index (GI) is essentially a carbohydrate meter, measuring how carb-containing foods affects blood sugars (or glucose). The scale is valuable for diabetics, offering framework and guidance for food selections. The GI further breaks down into three divided categories:
Low: 55 or below
Moderate: 56 to 69
High: 70 and above
The lower the GI, the lower the risk of high blood sugars, mostly related to its slower digestion within the body. Higher GI foods, though, are shown to digest rapidly and spike blood glucose. Generally, lower GI foods offer the most nutrients and help keep hunger at ease. In addition to the GI score, it is also important to pay attention to serving and portion sizes.
For the average person eating 1-2 pieces of fruit daily, it should not be a problem if maintaining a successful workout regimen of 4-5 times per week. The glycemic index, the process in which carbohydrates are broken down into glucose and absorbed into the bloodstream, is a very important tool to use when planning out your meals. Ultimately, controlling the total amount of carbohydrates you eat is important, but you can also control the rate at which it processes through your liver and ultimately converts it into fat. Some factors that can alter the glycemic index of foods are the timing of your meals, the size of the food particle, the biochemical structure of the food, etc. As you can see, there are many areas to consider when making your food choices. It has been proven that the higher GI meals can lead to feelings of hunger quicker than lower GI meals. The ideal meal is to be satisfied for 3 hours before eating another meal.
Here are some glycemic indexes of commonly eaten fruits and fruit juices:
Low GI Fruits
Cherries (GI score of 20) Cherries not only offer a juicy sweetness, but one of the lowest GI scores of the fruits. However, their low GI score is not reflective of a low nutritional profile, as cherries have been explored to offer extensive health benefits. The intake of cherries has shown to alleviate joint pain, fight against cancer, and regulate blood pressure.
Grapefruits (GI score of 25) Though some individuals may not rave about the taste of grapefruit, others truly enjoy the bitter, somewhat sour flavor as a convenient snack. The citrus fruit boasts in antioxidants, largely in the form of phytochemicals. The powerful antioxidants paired with grapefruit’s potassium and fiber content can help maintain a healthy heart.
Prunes (GI score of 29) Also known as a “natural laxative,” these dried prunes are well-explored and sought out for its role in relieving and reducing the risk of constipation. But in addition to bowel regularity, its fiber content may keep cholesterol within healthy levels and protect against heart disease.
Dried Apricots (GI score of 32) Apricots bruise easily, so you sometimes can’t find the best fresh apricots. They get shipped while they’re still green to avoid bruising, but they don’t ripen well off the tree.Dried apricots are a great alternative when eaten in small amounts. Because they’re dried, the amount of carbohydrates they provide is higher than the whole fruit. They have one-fourth of the daily copper requirement and are high in vitamins A and E.
Apples (GI score of 36) An apple a day, may keep blood sugars at bay! Apples also demonstrate a low GI score while offering significant amounts of fiber. Containing both soluble and insoluble fiber forms, apples can promote digestive and heart health.
Pears (GI score of 38) The soft skin and flesh of pears are shown to be one of the highest fiber fruits, along with apples. Its skin also contains a powerful antioxidant known as quercetin, shown to reduce high blood pressure levels. Pears further offer an extensive amount of vitamins and minerals including calcium, magnesium, potassium and vitamin C.
Plums (GI score of 40) Plums bruise easily too, making them hard to get to market. You can enjoy the nutritional benefits of plums in their dried state as prunes, but be careful with portion size. Dried fruits have the water removed, and thus have more carbohydrates.
Strawberries (GI score of 41) Whether fresh or frozen, strawberries tend to never lose their attention at the fruit table. The low glycemic index score suggests their natural, desirable sweetness can truly be enjoyed without great worry.
Peaches (GI score of 43) This fuzzy navel offers succulence and juiciness while still remaining to be a low GI fruit. Consuming the delectable peach offers valuable nutrients and antioxidants, demonstrating a wide variety of health benefits to the body.
Oranges (GI score of 45) This citrus fruit is notorious for its high vitamin C content, boosting the immune system and fighting against the common cold. But in addition to its high nutrient content, oranges are considered to be a low GI fruit.
Grapes (GI score 53) Grapes as with all fruits where you eat a lot of the skin, provide healthy fiber. Grapes are also a good source of vitamin B-6, which supports brain function and mood hormones.