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Jan 13

Slow & Fast Carbs

List of Slow & Fast Carbs

by Clay McNight , Demand Media Google

Processed foods that are high in sugar, such as candy, are examples of fast carbs

Processed foods that are high in sugar, such as candy, are examples of fast carbs

In general, slow carbs, or carbohydrates that are digested by the body more slowly, are considered more healthy, whereas fast carbs, or carbohydrates digested by the body more quickly, are considered less healthy. To determine the rate at which carbohydrates are digested, you can use the glycemic index scale. A simpler method, however, is to classify foods that are high in fiber and nutrients as slow carbs and more processed foods that are lower in fiber and nutrients and higher in sugar as fast carbs.

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The Glycemic Index

The rate at which carbohydrates are digested by the body directly correlates with their glycemic index, writes nutriton expert Len Lopez on, Slow carbs are carbohydrates that rank lower on the glycemic index, whereas fast carbs rank much higher. The glycemic index rates carbohydrate-containing foods based on how quickly they cause blood sugar levels to rise. As a point of reference, glucose is 100 on the scale. Foods that rate 55 or less are considered low-glycemic-index foods; 56 to 69 is medium and more than 70 is considered high.

Slow Carbs

The American Diabetes Association characterizes low glycemic foods including rolled or steel cut oatmeal, oat bran, 100 percent stone-ground whole wheat or pumpernickel bread, most fruits, non-starchy vegetables and barley as slow burning. Lopez also notes that beef, nuts, seeds, chicken, eggs and most whole grains are low glycemic foods. Slow carbohydrates are commonly characterized by high levels of fiber, low amounts of sugar and they usually go through minimal, if any, processing.

Fast Carbs

Foods that rank high on the glycemic index, which could be considered fast carbs include white bread, instant oatmeal, pretzels, saltine crackers, popcorn, rice cakes, cornflakes and white rice, notes the American Diabetes Association. Any food product with refined flour or refined sugar, most packaged foods or frozen foods and most baked goods fall under the category of fast carbs. These foods are usually low in fiber, high in added sugar and may be processed.

Health Effects

Lopez notes that it’s more important to consider the type of carbs that you’re consuming rather than the amount. Most slow carbs can benefit your health, whereas most fast carbs raise the risk for a number of conditions collectively known as metabolic syndrome. These conditions include obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and depression.

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