Is Banana a 4-Letter Word?
This month’s featured ingredient:
in this RecipEmail:
First things first. . .
There’s no need to sign-up. Just mark your calendar and show-up!
Understanding your own blood sugar management is one of the best ways you can show up for both your immediate and long-term health.
EVENT: Why Blood Sugar Matters Q&A with me!
DATE & TIME: Thursday, March 21st at 5:00pm Pacific / 8:00pm Eastern
(Attend via Phone or Webcast ~ it’s your choice; but we have a limited amount of phone lines, so if you dial-in, come early!)
DIAL IN: 206-402-0100, Access Code: 842566#
Yes, it will be recorded. And, yes, I’ll make sure you can access that recording. But do come join me with your questions!
|You may be wondering why I’m so focused on blood sugar right now.Well, blood sugar affects your mood, your weight, your mechanisms of hunger and your hormone balance.
When its out of whack for too long it can lead to chronic disease states like diabetes, hypertension, Candida and persistent internal inflammation.
Managing blood sugar is a BIG DEAL!
It’s one of the core baselines of good health.
But just what is blood sugar?
Blood sugar is basically the sugar ~ or glucose ~ in the blood. And glucose is the elemental factor of every single carbohydrate you eat.
Once the carbohydrate has worked its way through your digestive system, been reduced to a simple sugar such as glucose, and reached the bloodstream through the process of absorption, it’s taken to the liver where it’s either distributed to the cells for energy, or stored for later use.
Because of the liver’s limited storage capacity, any excess carbohydrates are converted to and stored as fat.
It’s your liver that regulates your blood sugar levels.
The more complex the carbohydrate, the slower the food moves into the bloodstream, allowing the liver to take up its sugar-load without becoming overwhelmed.
And this is what brings us to the Glycemic Quotient that you may have heard about.
The Glycemic Index is a ranking of carbohydrates according to how quickly glucose ~that simple sugar molecule ~ is absorbed into the bloodstream. (As you’ll see, slower is better.)
The Glycemic Index (GI) compares the rise in blood glucose caused by 50 grams of carbohydrates in any particular food to the rise in blood glucose caused by 50 grams of pure glucose.
As an example: pure glucose has a GI of 100 (our baseline). Here are the GI for some other foods we think of as starches:
According to the Glycemic Index model:
Low GI = 55 and under
Medium GI = 56 to 69
High GI = 70 and above
Unfortunately, this ranking system was found faulty because something like carrots have a high GI, and we know they have many other health benefits.
Carrots are packed with fiber and nutrients, which slow the breakdown of the sugars in the digestive system. This allows the liver ample time to do its thing. Take away that fiber and you are indeed left with mere sugars, as in a glass of carrot juice.
In response to concerns with the GI rating system, a revised ranking system was developed to speak to how quickly sugars are absorbed physiologically ~ not just looking at the sugars in the food, but instead the sugars in relation to all of the food’s constituents, as well as the ways in which it moves through the processes of digestion.
This revised system is essentially distinguishing between the carrot and the carrot juice (both have the same sugars, but one contains fiber and the other does not).
This improved system is called the Glycemic Load (GL).
The load considers the total amount of rapidly absorbable carbohydrate (starch or sugar) as well as the GI.
According to the Glycemic Load (GL) model:
Low GL = 1 – 10
Medium GL = 11 – 19
High GL = 20 and over.
A food like a whole grain or a carrot may have a relatively lower GL because the amount of starch or sugar in that food is mitigated internally by the fiber and nutrients that will slow its delivery into the bloodstream.
The bottom line is that if a food has a high GI but is packed with fiber it will have a lower impact on blood sugar and well-functioning insulin levels.
In the everyday regulation of health, what is it that we want?
On top of that, we want to choose foods that are slower to digest. These are better assimilated into the body’s tissues. They have an inverse effect on blood glucose and corresponding inverse relationship to diabetes, heart disease, weight issues and cancer.
They also have the sweet ability to help us thwart those sweet tooth CRAVINGS!
Now you may be wondering what this has to do with bananas!
If you’re tapped into the Paleo craze, you’ve likely noticed the use of bananas in many a baked-good recipe.
Recently I decided to do a little experiment and research to determine whether the banana, previously thought of as a four-letter word (in my mind), because of its high sugar content, was all that bad.
First some facts, then some fun, then let’s peel back the nutritional facts on bananas. . .
The Glycemic Index of a ripe banana = 52
The Glycemic Index of an unripe banana = 30
The Glycemic Load of a ripe banana = 12.4
The Glycemic Load of an unripe banana = 7.2
The Glycemic Load of raw honey = 14
The Glycemic Load of an apple = 11.4
The Glycemic Load of agave (not a fan) = 9.6
The Glycemic Load of coconut sugar = 1
So is a banana so bad if it’s replacing a sweetener?
The only way to know is to try and see how it feels on your body.
Note: There are few instances where I’d recommend eating a banana straight up, but if combined with some protein-rich foods or flours ~ in your green smoothie or in a baked-good combined with coconut flour, garbanzo flour or nut flour ~ you may be able to put the brakes on the banana’s glycemic content enough to enable you to nix the sugar jar (alternative sugar or not!) altogether.
(By the way, I do have some other tricks up my sleeve for helping you to determine how foods affect your unique blood sugar, if you just can’t tell by listening in to your body’s cues. . . tricks that I’ll be revealing in the new You’re Not the BOSS of Me program.)
Join me for Thursday’s Q&A and let’s find some answers to your most slippery blood sugar questions.
These are a simple, satisfying, not-too-sweet treat. I won’t pretend that they’ll abolish your hunger for the corner-bakery Snickerdoodle, if you’re not already sugar-free like me. But if you are, and if you’re game for the experiment, get out your food processor and give it a whirl.
1 teaspoon cinnamon + any or all of the following
Peel the banana and break it into pieces before placing it into the food processor. Process to bring it to a paste.
Add baking powder and whirl once more. Add almond flour and process to create a sticky “dough”.
Meanwhile, combine the spices in a small, shallow bowl.
Using a rounded tablespoon, scoop the dough out from the processor and drop into the spice mixture. This will be sticky business! No need to roll the ball around as it will decrease the sweetness of the morsel, but allow it to touch part of the surface, then place the sticky dough on your parchment. Repeat until dough is gone.
Bake for 12 minutes.
Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Yield about 10 small cookies
Going bananas. . .
Bananas, though starchy and sweet, do come with a host of nutritional benefits.
Here are just a few to consider. . .
They’re a great source of potassium, making them good for the heart, a nice way to replete lost electrolytes after a hard workout (think green smoothie with protein powder and frozen banana or Nana-Doodles, packed with the protein that will help you maximize your power to build muscle and lose fat), and a powerful aid in combating the depletion that can come with a bout of diarrhea.
Bananas can help build the mucous lining in the stomach to protect against ulcers. Ultimately a thick stomach lining is important for the utilization of key nutrients like iron and B12.
The fiber contained in bananas, that helps to slow that delivery of sugars, is a soluble fiber called pectin that aids in good solid elimination. (By the way, have you seen my appearance on poop on Reveal What’s Real?)
Speaking of what’s real. . .
Who’s really the BOSS around here?
Is it you or your sugar cravings or blood sugar dips and spikes?
Stay tuned for details about the upcoming opportunity to dive deep into your blood sugar control with:
You’re Not the BOSS of Me:
Controlling Your Blood Sugar so that it Doesn’t Control You
Mark Your Calendar for the Detox: April 8th – April 21st