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Nutrition: Glycemic Load vs. Glycemic Index

Posted on June 3rd, 2004 filed in Nutrition
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The glycemic index (GI) measures how much blood sugar level rises following the ingestion of 50 grams of sugar coming from a particular food. The higher the number, the greater the blood sugar response will be and thus the insulin release. So a low GI food will cause a small rise, while a high GI food will trigger a dramatic spike. A glycemic index of 70 or more is high, 56 to 69 is medium, and a GI of 55 or less is low.

Glycemic Load (GL) addresses the matter a bit further by taking into account the amount of carbs are in a food serving. This is far more valuable and worth addressing than the glycemic index. For example, carrots have a high glycemic index and based on that GI, they may be considered ‘bad food’. However, 50 grams of sugar coming from carrots require the ingestion of 2 lbs of carrots in one meal. Carrots have a low glycemic food and for all practical purposes are excellent highly recommended foods.

A GL of 20 or more is high, a GL of 11 to 19 is medium, and a GL of 10 or less is low.

GL is GI *(carbs in food serving) / 100

As expected the foods with high GL and GI, are those filled with added sugar, processed flour, and those of low nutritional value. Not surprisingly, these wreak havoc on your body on top of making one gain weight. Examples include various bakery items (cakes, pastries, white bread, cookies, brownies, chocolate bars, most cereals (exception:Fiber one), sugary beverages, refined products, pasta, rice and potatoes.

The best (low GL) fruits are:

Strawberries 1
Cherries 3
Oranges 3
Plum 3
Pear 4
Peach 4
Cantaloupe 4
Watermelon 4
Apricots 5
Apple 6
Pineapple 6
Mango 8

All of these are great foods to have.

Most vegetables have low glycemic load.

As for legumes, the best are:

Chickpeas 3
Lentils 4


Nutrition info Label Confusion

Posted on May 10th, 2004 filed in Nutrition
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fibre1.jpg I made an interesting discovery today. I noted that my Fiber 1 cereal has what I believe erroneous nutritional info. But that started a whole chain of events that would have made Good ole Sherlock Holmes proud.

With the understanding that fiber is not absorbed and rather just courses in and out through the digestive system, it is natural to expect that fiber ingested does not contribute any calories to one’s intake.

But here’s what Fibre 1 label shows:

Calories: 110 calories
Fat: 1 gram
Prt: 2 grams
Carbs: 24 grams
Fiber: 15 grams

If fiber grams were not counted, the calories in fiber one per serving would be:

(24 -15) * 4 + 9 + (2×4) = 53 calories

But that is not the case as calories on label are 110.

(24*4) + 9 + (2*4) = 113 (The 3 calories here are from rounding up some ingrdients I am sure)

So it seems here that fiber calories are counted like all carbs.

That got me quite confused. Upon further investigation into this matter, I found out that Fibre 1 in canada is Fiber one in the US and the label south of the border has the following:

Protein 2 grams
Fat 1 gram
Carbs 24 grams
Fiber 14 grams
60 Calories

The difference between 60 and 53 cals is due to rounding I am sure.

Quite amazing that the same product has different nutritional info based on where it is purchased.

Turns out that the culprit here is the labeling system followed in the two countries. The US label measures calories as absorbed by the body while the canadian label reflects how much energy is released when a food serving is burnt in a calorimeter and thus is not actually accurate as to calories ingested by that food serving.

So basically, always subtract the energy that corresponds to fiber content in food (fiber grams x 4) from total calories per serving as posted on Canadian labels. US labels should be fine however.


Nutrition: A good source of Calcium

Posted on April 13th, 2004 filed in Nutrition
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I was given this tip today about a good natural source of calcium. All one needs is a wide mouthed mason jar, some lemon juice, and some eggshells. Just soak the eggshells in lemon juice until they stop bubbling, and voila! You have a highly assimilable source of calcium called calcium citrate. The eggs may be soaked before or after using the contents within (doesn’t matter).

I already eat a lot of eggs, so this would be a way of getting extra calcium for free. Plus the eggshells are likely to contain other trace nutrients that work in cooperation with calcium. It’s no good to supplement with x amount of calcium if collaborating nutrients are out of ratio.

Excellent tip.


Nutrition: Label Carb Confusion

Posted on April 11th, 2004 filed in Nutrition
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I have noted on many ‘health’ food labels confusing numbers about the carb content of the product.

My original understanding about ‘net carbs’ is that this represents ‘all carbs’ minus fiber. But numbers are really not adding up if this is the case.

A recent label on a protein replacement meal showed 36 grams of carbs, 2 grams of Fiber, and a claim in bold that there were only 3 net carbs!!!!

Turns out that sugar-alcohols fill the gap. 1 gram of sugar alcohol only has 2 calories and has no glycemic effect (Does not cause insulin spike) and thus manufacturers do not have to include it in the nutrition label.

One learns something new every day.


Nutrition: The 15 Commandments of Good Nutrition

Posted on March 1st, 2004 filed in Nutrition
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With the obesity epidemic reaching unheard of proportions, following good nutritional habits and a healthy eating style are becoming more essential than ever.

The following are the 15 commandments of good nutrition:

1) Thou shall have 6 meals daily: 3 main meals and 3 snacks.

2) Thou shall have protein and fiber in each meal.

3) Thou shall eat within 30 minutes of waking up.

4) Thou shall have 25 grams of fiber each day

5) Thou shall avoid fruit juices, non-diet carbonated sodas, and alcohol.

6) Thou shall stay away from canned and processed food

7) Thou shall limit fried food

8) Thou shall stay away from diet and fat free products and consume natural food instead.

9) Thou shall have at least two large salads a day.

10) Thou shall have at least 1 gram of protein per kilogram per day

11) Thou shall stay away of bread, added sugar, deserts, and various bakery stuff

12) Thou shall have 2 servings of grilled fish every week

13) Thou shall drink 8 glasses of water a day

14) Thou shall stop eating 1 hour before going to bed.

15) Thou shall limit your intake of red meat to lean cut and shall have it no more than 3 times a week.


How Much Protein Does One Need?

Posted on October 17th, 2003 filed in Fitness, Nutrition
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Bodybuilders and other fitness and nutritional experts generally recommend the following daily protein intake:

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