Knowing Good Carbs from Bad

A quick crash course on carbs:
• Carbs are the primary source of fuel for your muscles in the gym.
• Carbs provide energy, so muscle protein is not broken down.
• Some carbs raise blood sugar too much and shut off fat burning.
• Calories are a unit of measure of energy. In other words calories provide fuel that can be broken down to provide energy, or heat if burned (literally).
• There are ONLY 3 sources of calories in our diets: proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.

A quick crash course on the Glycemic Index:
• The Glycemic Index is a scale from zero to 100 that represents a relative rise in blood sugar levels two hours after consuming that food as compared to pure glucose (which has a Glycemic Index of 100).
• The higher the Glycemic Index, the faster blood sugar levels increase, and the greater the disruption of fat metabolism.
• High Glycemic Index foods are associated with junk foods and sweets and fruit juices.
• Diets high in high Glycemic Index Carbs are associated with weight gain and obesity.

The bottom line is that, ideally, we want to choose the vast majority of our carbs from the “slower acting / longer lasting” category for physical performance, muscle protection and optimal fat loss. Below is a list of carbs (and their specific Glycemic Index number) that fall into that category.

Sweet potatoes 48
Grapes 45-50
Banana 54
Oranges 44
Coconut 45
Quinoa 53
Brown rice 50
Beans 40-52
Yam 50
Oats 51
Whole wheat bread 49
Macaroni 45

 CARBOHYDRATES with Glycemic Index 40 or less

(Note: all meats and fish have a GI of 0, which makes sense as they are not sources of carbohydrates)

Spinach 15
Zucchini 15
Squash 15
Eggplant 15
Cucumber 15
Peas 39
Carrots 19
Hummus 6
Brussel Sprouts 16
Asparagus 14
Artichoke 15
Celery 15
Cauliflower 15
Lettuce 10
Onion 10
Lentils 30
Broccoli 10
Cabbage 10
Kale  4
Tomatoes 15
Cauliflower 15
Mushrooms 10
Bell pepper 10

Green beans 15
Pinto Beans 39
Kidney Beans 29
Lima beans 31

Almond Milk 30
Milk (whole, fat-free) 31-37 (but high insulinic index)
Yogurt 33 (but high insulinic index)

Cherries 22
Dried apricots 31
Peaches 28
Apples 34
Pears 37
Plums 24
Prunes 29
Strawberries 40
Grapefruit 25

Almonds 0 – but are not a source of carbohydrates
Pecans 0 – but are not a source of carbohydrates
Walnuts 0 – but are not a source of carbohydrates
Peanuts 13
Cashews 25

Spaghetti (protein-enriched) 27
Fettuccine 32
Vermicelli 35

Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and is not meant as medical advice, nor is it to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Please consult your physician before starting or changing your diet or exercise program. Any use of this information is at the sole discretion and responsibility of the user.