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Why Everyone’s Talking about Glycemic Index

Posted on December 16, 2012

natural chicken

Isn’t it hard enough to track calories, fat, fiber and the other details written on the nutrition panel of every package? Now, the word on the street is that if we want to lose weight and sustain our energy, we have to subscribe to a low Glycemic Index diet. I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t exactly sound appetizing to the rest of us. Good news is that if you ignore the name and consider the science, there’s lots to love about eating low on the GI scale.

The Glycemic Index (GI) designates a number (from 0-100) to every food that
contains carbohydrates based on how that food affects blood sugar levels. Foods
with lower GI numbers are absorbed into the blood stream slower than their high
GI counterparts, which produce a sharp rise in blood sugar levels and then drop off
shortly thereafter. Low GI foods keep you feeling full longer and give you sustained
energy. In other words, the lower the index number the better the food item is for
those on restricted diets for weight loss and diabetes and others who just want to
sustain their weight and energy levels throughout the day.

Interestingly, chicken and other proteins are left off of the Glycemic Index. That’s
because they contain protein and fats, rather than carbohydrates, so they have an
insignificant effect on blood sugar levels right after they’re eaten. In other words,
FreeBird chicken breasts, thighs, wings and drumsticks are all excellent choices for
people following a low GI diet.

With carbs as the focal point, it’s important to realize that there are major
differences between the simple and complex carbohydrate. Simple carbs
are generally white breads, cereals, cookies and processed foods. Complex
carbohydrates, like wheatberries, quinoa, brown rice and other whole grains take
longer for our bodies to break down and absorb so they are indexed at a much lower
point on the scale.

As if trimming that waistline (after a holiday season’s worth of indulgence) wasn’t
reason enough, foods that are low on the Glycemic Index recipes including those prepared with whole grains, avocados, nuts and beans are thought to have additional benefits. Clearer skin, reduced mood swings, fewer food cravings, decreased risk of type two diabetes and heart disease and lower blood pressure have been other reported by
those following a low GI diets. Not a bad way to get the New Year started, right?

Here are a few low Glycemic Index chicken recipes that are destined to get 2013 off
to a smooth, sustainable start:

Warm Chicken Lentil Salad

Chicken Fricassee

Tomato Fennel Braised Chicken