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High Glycemic Index – The "Comfort" in Comfort Food.

May 18 2012 - 12:23 PM

BAKEDPOTATOJudd Nelson in Breakfast Club said, “Being bad feels pretty good.” In this case eating bad feels pretty good because of the way our bodies process carbs, specifically high-glycemic, carb-driven, comfort food. Bread, pasta, mashed potatoes. Remember the baked potato craze? People were considering that a vegetable and a healthy part of their diet. From the Statesman Journal website comes a pretty straight explaination:

Refined or simple sugars and their cousins — high-glycemic carbohydrates (think white bread and potatoes) — cause the pancreas to produce high levels of insulin, which cause the body to store excess sugar not used for energy as fat. The liver in turn is induced to produce cholesterol. We love high-glycemic carbs because they make us feel good by spiking our blood sugar. But what goes up must come down — with a thud. When our blood sugar inevitably plunges, we feel tired, ornery and hungry — and we repeat the cycle.

Low-glycemic foods (think apples and collard greens), on the other hand, release energy at a steady, less-dramatic rate, and our blood sugar stays reasonably level. Less sugar means less insulin means less fat means leaner bodies means better health.

Now tying the glycemic index to sugar can be confusing. From a chart found on the “For Dummies” website. A Snickers bar has a low GI number of 43 where a baked potato is a super high 98. This might be a real reason why Snickers “really” satisfies. It manages your blood sugar better.

What’s also interesting is the difference between rice. Jasmine rice is up at 89 while brown rice is 48. Everyone always says how they’re hungry an hour after eating Chinese food… maybe it’s the rice?

We’ll be searching for alternative ingredients & recipes for comfort food, so think about it. Share ’em if you got em.

Baked Potato image via Shutterstock

–Josh Brusin