Sunday, December 7, 2008

Enjoy your favorite carbs--sans the guilt

Do you need to lose weight but can't quite give up carbohydrate-laden food like pasta, pizza, or potatoes? If your love for these weighs more than your need to cut your carb intake, don't fret.

that these carbs can still be eaten right, minus the guilt. After all, carbs are vital to a healthy diet because they give us energy. When eating carbs, however, it may be worth checking for the dish's glycaemic index (GI) rank, which indicates how quickly your body can digest and absorb carbs. "Foods that are quickly digested have high GI (70 or more) and foods that take the longest have low GI (less than 55)," says dietitian Melanie Marino.

So if you feel like binging on pizza or your favorite potato snack, check out the GI rank first then learn ways to cut on high-GI food.

1. Pasta
GI: Generally low for most pastas, depends on sauces
Alternatives: Cut back on cream sauces, which may raise your pasta's GI. Settle for tomato-based ones instead.

2. Pizza
GI: Medium
Alternatives: Choose whole wheat or thin crust pizzas and avoid filled crusts. Opt for low-GI toppings such as tomato, low-fat cheese, mushrooms, olives, garlic, and basil.

3. Potato
GI: High
Alternatives: Instead of the usual French fries, opt for sweet potato (camote), which has lower GI.

4. Porridge or oatmeal
GI: Medium
Additional nutritional value: Rich in fiber and high in vitamin B6
Alternatives: Add fruits such as peaches, apricots, pears, or cherries instead of full cream milk and sugar.

5. Desserts
GI: Low for ice cream and cakes, but offers no other nutritional benefits
Alternatives: Choose low-fat versions and add berries, peaches, or even anti-oxidant-rich dark chocolates with nuts.


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