"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

More recommendations on healthy carb selections

Carbohydrate categories is usually a bit confusing. Nutritionists call carbohydrates easy or complex, low-quality or high-quality, and even just “bad” or “good.” Carbohydrate-rich foods can be classified by how quickly the sugars in them are absorbed into your bloodstream after you eat them, using a scale called the glycemic index, or GI. (see “Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load, Explained”).

First developed over 40 years ago, the glycemic index was recently within the news again. Last March, New England Journal of Medicine published a big international study showing that diets high in glycemic index and cargo are related to a better risk of heart disease and death. The link was strongest amongst individuals who were chubby or obese.

Glycemic index and glycemic load, explained.

Carbohydrate-containing foods have properties that affect how quickly they’re digested and, in turn, how quickly glucose (sugar) enters the bloodstream. It is quantified by a measurement called the glycemic index (GI). Foods are rated on a scale of 0 to 100. Pure glucose has a worth of 100.

However, the GI value doesn’t account for the quantity of a selected food that an individual typically eats. A separate measure, glycemic load, indicates the change in blood glucose levels when an individual consumes a typical serving of food. It is calculated by multiplying the GI of a food by the quantity of carbohydrates it accommodates.

For high-quality carbohydrate intake, select foods with a low or medium glycemic load and limit foods with a high glycemic load.

Low glycemic load: Bran cereals, apples, oranges, kidney beans, black beans, lentils, cashews, peanuts, carrots.

Average glycemic load: Pearl barley, brown rice, oatmeal, bulgur, rice cakes, whole grain bread, whole grain pasta.

High glycemic load: White potatoes, refined breakfast cereals, sugar-sweetened beverages, candy bars, white rice, white flour pasta.

Carbohydrate categories

Here is an inventory of those three sorts of carbohydrates:

thanks Easily digestible sugary foods (soda, candy, and desserts) have a high GI. Eating them increases and reduces blood sugar, which over time could make the body less sensitive to insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar. The resulting insulin resistance triggers weight gain, inflammation and other aspects that contribute to the artery-clogging plaque that’s liable for most heart disease.

fiber. Foods wealthy in fiber are digested more slowly and have a lower GI. Low-GI foods include foods wealthy in whole or minimally processed carbohydrates, equivalent to whole grains, legumes (peas and beans), nuts, vegetables, and fruits. Here's the straightforward part: These carbohydrates are also classified as complex, high-quality, or good carbohydrates.

Starch Starch is one other story. The mostly eaten type of carbohydrate, starch includes cereal grains equivalent to rice, wheat, and corn, and root vegetables equivalent to potatoes. Americans eat mostly processed grains, equivalent to foods made with white rice and white flour. These refined starches break down quickly into sugar, which is why they’ve high GI values.

What is resistant starch?

But some starchy foods — especially beans — contain something generally known as resistant starch. Resistant starch is analogous to fiber in that it can’t be absorbed directly by the body. It needs to be broken down by specific gut bacteria. Eating foods high in resistant starch promotes the expansion of those health-promoting bacteria. “They produce short-chain fatty acids, which make your body more sensitive to insulin and reduce inflammation,” says Dr. Ho. In fact, resistant starch has the other effect in your body than sugar and other highly processed carbohydrates.

White potatoes are full of standard starch, which is why they’ve a high glycemic index. French fries and mashed potatoes are probably the most well-liked ways to arrange spuds, but potato lovers will want to consider potato salad as a substitute. Why? “If you leave a potato in the fridge for a day or two, the cold temperature turns some of the starch into resistant starch,” says Dr. Ho. Another culinary trick that may barely reduce the glycemic impact of a meal is so as to add vinegar or lemon juice, because the acid slows the body's conversion of starch to sugar.

Photo: © Marlena/Getty Images