Fuel up or break down!

When it comes to nutrition, it helps to think of your body like a car that takes you where you want to go.  Could you drive your car all day long without filling the tank?  No, of course not.  You’d be broken down by the side of the freeway.  I feel like I’m always at the gas station these days, throwing money in my tank.  I hate to do it, but without it, I’m not getting anywhere. 

Well, it’s the same thing with your body: you need to fuel up.  Just like our cars, our bodies require a fill up every three hours or so.  We fill up with food, carbohydrates that get us going, and proteins and fats to keep our frame strong and parts lubricated and working correctly.

Unlike our cars, our body has a backup energy source it can tap into when it runs out of fuel: your muscles.  It’s meant to only be used in an emergency, and there’s good reason for that.  Using muscle as a fuel source causes muscle atrophy (parts break down), slowed metabolism (no “get up and go”), and low blood sugar (stalls out).

And that’s just the short-term effects.  Long term, failing to properly fuel up your body can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cancer, or any other serious problem that can send you and your car straight to the big junkyard in the sky.

You can buy a new car to drive around town, but we only get one body to take us through life. So, I think you’ll agree that refueling your body every 3 hours is essential.

Another way to extend the life of your body is by improving the quality of your food, to get the most from your fill-up. You know how you have a choice at the gas pump between different octanes, like 87, 89 and 91? When you buy an expensive car, you’re supposed to get the high octane gas, because it’s supposed to help your car perform better and make your engine last longer. 

Now, the gas companies might be exaggerating how much it can help your car, but there’s no doubt high-octane foods can help you live longer and better.  Let’s use our octane example – you might say there are three classes of foods, too.  There’s the 87 octane stuff, simple sugars that will keep you going, but not much else.  Like candy from a vending machine, or a Monster drink, or a cookie.  Then, there’s 89 octane (high glycemic), which is a little more than just sugar, also protein and fat.  But, it’s still not good for you.  A burger and fries and soda.  Finally, we’ve got 91 octane (low glycemic), which not only gets you where you need to go, you have more power and control, and keep your motor running for years.

If you fuel up on 87 octane food, you’ll get out and on the street, maybe 15-30 minute’s worth.  89 octane lasts longer, maybe take us on an hour drive.   The good stuff, the 91 octane, lasts quite a bit longer, taking you safely and strongly into your next refill 3 hours later.

This knowledge is helpful if you’re trying to control blood sugar.  Eat every 3-4 hours, and make sure you get plenty of 91 octane foods.  Spread out your meals and cut down portion sizes.  In fact, start thinking of meals differently, eating 5-6 mini-meals per day.  Your traditional breakfast, lunch and dinner should be your larger “snacks”.  In between, smaller snacks. 

Here’s a list of low-glycemic, or 91 octane, foods.  Eat more of them to control your blood sugar, and you’ll notice a big difference in your energy, alertness and muscle maintenance and growth. Simply highlight the foods with the value of 55 or lower. The lower the Glycemic Value the better.

  • Low GI diets help people lose and control weight
  • Low GI diets increase the body’s sensitivity to insulin
  • Low GI carbs improve diabetes control
  • Low GI carbs reduce the risk of heart disease
  • Low GI carbs reduce blood cholesterol levels
  • Low GI carbs can help you manage the symptoms of PCOS
  • Low GI carbs reduce hunger and keep you fuller for longer
  • Low GI carbs prolong physical endurance
  • High GI carbs help re-fuel carbohydrate stores after exercise (right after you see me)
  •  Here’s the list. Again highlight everything under 55. Start eating to keep your car in good shape for the remainder of your stay on earth.

    Food GI Value
    Cherries 22
    Grapefruit 25
    Prunes 29
    Apricots, dried 30
    Apple 38
    Peach, canned in juice 38
    Pear, fresh 38
    Plum 39
    Strawberries 40
    Orange, Navel 42
    Peach, fresh 42
    Pear, canned 43
    Grapes 46
    Papaya 56
    Banana 52
    Kiwi 58
    Fruit Cocktail 55
    Mango 51
    Apricots, fresh 57
    Figs, dried 61
    Apricots, canned 64
    Raisins 56
    Cantaloupe 65
    Pineapple, fresh 66
    Watermelon 72
    Dates 103

     Food GI Value
    Pancakes 67
    Waffles 76
    All Bran with Fiber 38
    Bran Buds 47
    Oatmeal 49
    Muesli 43
    Oat Bran 55
    Bran Chex 58
    Raisin Bran 61
    Cream of Wheat 66
    Quick (One Minute) Oats 66
    Puffed Wheat 67
    Special K 69
    Bran Flakes 74
    Cheerios 74
    Cream of Wheat Instant 74
    Shredded Wheat 75
    Grapenuts 71
    Rice Krispies 82
    Corn Chex 83
    Corn Flakes 92

    Food GI Value
    Broccoli 10
    Cabbage 10
    Lettuce 10
    Mushrooms 10
    Onions 10
    Red Peppers 10
    Carrots 49
    Green peas 48
    Corn, fresh 60
    Beets 64
    Pumpkin 75
    Parsnips 97

    Food GI Value
    Ryvita Crispbread 69
    Stoned Wheat Thins 67
    Melba Toast 70
    Kavli Crispbread 71
    Soda Crackers 74
    Graham Crackers 74
    Water crackers 78
    Rice Cakes 82
    Rice Crackers 91

    Food GI Value
    Fructose 19
    Marmalade 48
    Honey 55
    Jams 65
    Sucrose 68
    Pancake Syrup 76

    Food GI Value
    Spaghetti, whole wheat 37
    Star Pastina 38
    Fettuccini (egg) 32
    Spaghetti, white 38
    Spiral Pasta 43
    Capellini 45
    Linguine 46
    Macaroni 47
    Rice vermicelli 58

    Food GI Value
    Converted, White 38
    Brown 55
    Long grain, White 44
    Wild rice 87
    Basmati 58
    Aborio 69
    Short grain, White 72
    Instant, White 87
    Glutinous (Sticky) 98
    Barley, pearled 25
    Buckwheat 54
    Couscous 65
    Cornmeal 68

    Food GI Value
    Yogurt, artificially sweetened 14
    Skim milk 32
    Yogurt, sweetened 33
    Whole milk 31
    Ice cream, low fat 43
    Ice cream, premium 38

    Food GI Value
    Hummus 6
    Peanuts 15
    Walnuts 15
    Cashews 22
    M & M Peanut Candies 33
    Milk Chocolate 43
    Kudos Bar 62
    Corn Chips 63
    Popcorn 72
    Jelly Beans 78
    Pretzels 83
    Potato Chips 57

    Food GI Value
    Tomato 38
    Apple 40
    Pineapple 46
    Grapefuit 48
    Orange 53
    Cranberry Juice Cocktail 68

    Food GI Value
    Pumpernickel 41
    Sourdough 53
    Stone Ground whole wheat 53
    Pita, whole wheat 57
    Whole Meal Rye 58
    Hamburger bun 61
    Whole wheat (100%) 77
    Croissant 67
    Taco Shell 68
    Bagel 72
    White 70
    Kaiser roll 73
    Bread stuffing 74
    French Baguette 95

    Food GI Value
    Yam 37
    Sweet 44
    New 57
    Canned 65
    White skinned mashed 70
    French Fries 75
    Instant Mashed 86
    Red Skinned, boiled 88
    Baked 85

    Food GI Value
    Sponge Cake 46
    Pound Cake 54
    Blueberry Muffin 59
    Pastry Pie Crust 59
    Bran Muffin 60
    Carrot Muffin 62
    Angel Food Cake 67
    Doughnut 76
    Scones 92

     Food GI Value
    Chocolate Chip 44
    Butter 47
    Vanilla Crème Filled Wafers 50
    Oatmeal 55
    Fudge 57
    Shortbread 64

    Food GI Value
    Tomato 38
    Minestrone 39
    Lentil 44
    Black Bean 64
    Pea 66

    Food GI Value
    Fish Stick Fingers 38
    Meat Ravioli 39
    Cheese Tortellini 50
    Pizza 60
    Macaroni and Cheese (packaged) 64

    Food GI Value
    Chana Dal 8
    Chickpeas, dried 28
    Kidney Beans, dried 28
    Lentils 29
    Lima Beans (frozen) 32
    Yellow Split Peas 32
    Chickpeas, canned 42
    Blackeyed Peas, canned 42
    Baked Beans 48
    Kidney Beans, canned 52



    One Response to “Fuel up or break down!”

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