A Christian Guide to Body Stewardship, Diet and Exercise

Chapter 2: Basic Nutrition 21 sugar following a carbohydrate-containing meal, and helping maintain healthy lipid levels. There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and is found in foods such as oat bran, barley, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, peas and some fruits and vegetables. Eating foods high in soluble fiber may help to regulate blood cholesterol and sugar levels thereby reducing the risk for heart disease and diabetes. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and is found in foods such as wheat bran, vegetables and whole grains. Insoluble fiber helps to promote bowel health and improve regularity by making the stool softer and easier to pass. Glycemic Index vs. Glycemic Load Blood glucose levels will naturally rise after ingestion of food containing carbohydrates. The rate at which blood glucose levels rise is determined by how quickly the carbohydrate is digested and absorbed. The Glycemic Index (GI) classifies food by how high and for how long it raises blood glucose levels. The faster the carbohydrate is digested and absorbed, the higher the GI ranking. Research shows that regular consumption of high GI foods can increase an individual’s risk for certain metabolic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, chronic kidney disease, gall stones and various types of cancer (Peterson & Rittenhouse, 2019). While regular consumption of high GI foods is not recommended for improving general health, if timed correctly, they can be used strategically, such as immediately post-workout to help replace and replenish used carbohydrates during exercise. For example, waiting to eat your favorite sugary cereal until after your workout. The Glycemic Index can be a useful tool, but has its limitations. The Glycemic Index rates food solely by the impact it has on blood glucose levels, and not by the quality or quantity of the carbohydrate being consumed. For example, watermelon has a GI rating of 80, which categorizes it as a high GI food and thus should be avoided. However, watermelon has few digestible calories in a typical serving. Conversely, a 2 oz. candy bar has a GI rating of 62, which categorizes it as medium GI food. Because of these limitations, Glycemic Load (GL) was developed to provide a more accurate assessment of carbohydrate food choices. Glycemic Load evaluates both the quality and quantity of the carbohydrate in food and is calculated by multiplying the GI rating of a food by the grams of carbohydrate per serving, then dividing the sum by 100. Watermelon, for instance, has 6 grams of sugar per serving, whereas a candy bar has 40 grams. This means that watermelon has a GL rating of 5 (i.e., GI rating of 80 x 6 g of sugar per serving / 100), which