When we eat foods with simple sugars, quickly absorbed, there is a ‘peak’ of blood glucose in the blood, and very quickly. This will cause – unless we have a diabetes problem – that this glucose also drops rapidly, as the secretion of insulin is forced, which removes glucose from the blood . This ‘hypoglycemia’ in turn causes us to feel hunger and anxiety to eat when, having consumed sugar, which provides a lot of energy, we should not experiment. This encourages us to eat more and, therefore, will help us gain weight.
To prevent this from happening, it is best to avoid or consume simple sugars in moderation, which are quickly absorbed. And if we do, accompany them with other foods that, due to their characteristics, help the absorption of these simple sugars to slow down.
Fiber-rich or whole-grain foods
Some foods are fast assimilating and have a high glycemic index because we have stripped them of fiber. This is the case of all foods made from refined flours – pasta, white bread … – or rice. Therefore, if we opt for these foods, but instead of refined, we consume them whole, their glycemic index will drop considerably and it will take longer to assimilate their sugars. They are also ideal to consume with other fast-absorbing foods, such as juices, a coffee with milk to which we have added sugar, etc.
If, in addition, we add water -or foods rich in it, such as vegetables- we will also favor a slower absorption of sugars.
Fats, better healthy
The fats are nutrients much more complex than sugars and digested much more slowly. Therefore, if we add them to fast assimilating sugars, we will also slow down their absorption. We can add, for example, fatty meats, oils … but healthy fats are always a better option, such as olive oil, blue fish, avocado, etc.
Foods rich in protein , especially if they contain fat, are also effective in slowing down the absorption of sugar. For example, fatty fish, dairy, eggs, etc.
Foods that contain several of the above nutrients, such as legumes (protein and fiber) or nuts (fat, protein and fiber) are ideal to combine with foods with fast assimilation sugars.
Fruit: fast or slow assimilation?
Washing fruits during pregnancy
These foods will help you avoid hypoglycemia during pregnancy
The sugar in fruit is a simple sugar, as it is in the form of a combination of fructose, glucose, and sucrose. This type of sugar is, a priori, fast absorbing and, when consuming it, we would cause the dreaded glycemic peak that we talked about at the beginning. However, when accompanied by the fiber and water that the fruit naturally contains, and not being pure sugars, this absorption also slows down and is not absorbed at the same speed as white sugar, the sugar present in ultra-processed foods or even of juices, from which we remove the fiber from the fruit.
Even so, within fruits, there are some with a high glycemic index, such as watermelon (72-76), pineapple (66), melon (65), raisins or banana (+ 55) and others that they are very low, such as cherries (22), plums (29) or apples (37). In any case, any whole fruit, no matter how high its glycemic index, will always be better than the juice of that same fruit or any other free sugar.
What to eat breakfast or snack between meals to avoid the glycemic peak?
Mornings are usually the most critical time to experience the dreaded ‘hunger attacks’ that occur after low glycemic, and it is mainly due to breakfast with too many sugars of rapid assimilation. To avoid them, we can make the following combinations:
• If we have coffee with milk for breakfast and a teaspoon of sugar or milk with cocoa, we can accompany it with a toast of bread or whole grains (fiber) with some protein and fat, such as olive oil, avocado, a slice of ham, turkey, a handful of nuts or a couple of dried fruits (better avoid raisins and dates) …
• If we have juice for breakfast, we can combine it with dairy (fresh cheese, yogurt …), healthy fats (olive oil, avocado …) and cereals or whole wheat bread, a handful of nuts …
• In the middle of the morning, we can combine fruit (if it has a low glycemic index, better) with a handful of nuts or dairy. Fruits with a higher glycemic index, although they will also be healthy, we can leave them for dessert when we eat meat, fish or legumes.
In any case, the ideal is that the consumption of free sugars – either in the form of white sugar or as added sugar to ultra-processed, juices or soft drinks – is minimal, not exceeding 20 grams a day , because in the long run, they can be very harmful to health.