All foods are broken down into a category of macronutrients that includes protein, fat, and carbohydrate. Some of the latest diet fads place an emphasis on eliminating or overloading on each of these types of food; however, a well-balanced diet needs to contain some of all the macronutrients, as well as vitamins and minerals.
Most people are aware that there is a difference between simple carbohydrates (sugars) and complex carbohydrates with regards to how long each will supply your body with energy. The simple carbs will give you a quick energy burst, but will not last very long, whereas complex carbs will supply you with a longer lasting energy source for prolonged activity.
The reason why certain carbs act quicker than others deals with how quickly they are absorbed into your bloodstream through digestion. This rate of absorption is referred to as the Glycemic Index. Carbs with a high glycemic index such as high fructose corn syrup are absorbed very rapidly, while carbs with a low glycemic index such as sweet potato have a slower absorption rate. Once these carbohydrates enter your blood stream, the body will either use them for energy, or store them for later use as glycogen. If excess carbohydrate is present it will be stored as fat. Foods with a higher glycemic index tend to create a larger insulin response, which is responsible for conversion of carbohydrate to fat.
Maintaining a stable blood sugar level and insulin response has been shown to help prevent coronary artery disease and Diabetes. It is also the best way to prevent fluctuations in energy levels in between meals. For a complete listing of the glycemic index of all foods visit: http://www.glycemicedge.com/glycemic-index-chart/
by: Steven L. Bernstein, PT, OMT