Carbohydrates are an essential part of any diet. But choosing the carbohydrates that allow you to feel full for long periods of time is essential for losing weight and maintaining your goal weight. Elimination of highly processed foods and high-index carbohydrates has been shown to promote weight loss, decrease the incidence of heart disease and cancer. Carbohydrates are not bad – and the right ones are an essential part of any meal or snack. Further, unlike alcohol—where all calories are absorbed—the more complex the carbohydrate, the less likely that all the calories will be absorbed. Vegetables and fruits are also great sources of vitamins, minerals, and other micro-nutrients. The iron from spinach is far more bio-available than that found in most iron pills.

Many of the “low-carb” meals offered in restaurants and grocery stores contain far too many calories and a lot of fat than simple, common-sense choices that should be made.

Arby’s® (www.arbys.com)
Food Calories Protein Carbs Fat
Arby-Q Roast Beef Sandwich 360 18 51 11
Market Fresh Low-carb Turkey Wrap 710 35 45 11
Good Choices
Hot Ham & Cheese 300 23 35 8
Sante Fe Salad 328 35 40 9

Most dieters lose weight on “low-carb” diets because they cut out snacks containing highly processed carbohydrates and eat fewer calories. When they return to normal diets they continue to eat the higher fat foods and add back the simple carbohydrates, causing a return of their prior weight and sometimes adding more.

Taking a more common sense approach to carbohydrates means you can make them an essential part of meals and snacks. This allows patients to consume fewer calories, less fat, feel full longer and have better sources of vitamins, minerals, micro-nutrients, and fiber.

Examples of Glycemic Index for Certain Foods

Coca Cola 67 grapefruit juice, no sugar 48
Ocean Spray Cranberry 68 Sunkist orange 48
Wonder Bread (white) 77 frozen orange juice 57
Healthy Choice whole wheat 62 prunes, pitted 29
Nutty Natural 59 kidney beans 23
Kellogg’s All Bran Cereal 38 lentils 28
Kellogg’s Corn Flakes 92 spaghetti, wheat 64
rolled oats cereal 75 spaghetti, whole meal 32
Raisin Bran 61 Snicker’s Bar 68
Special K 75 Power Bar, chocolate 58
sweet corn 60 russet potato, baked 85
Uncle Ben’s Converted Rice 38 mashed potatoes, instant 97
ice cream 62 sweet potato 61
unsweetened apple juice 40 doughnut 76
yellow banana 51 apple 40
grapefruit half 25

Examples of low-glycemic index fruits and fruit juices

  • oranges
  • apples
  • pears (including pears canned in pear juice)
  • dried apricots
  • peaches
  • plums
  • prunes
  • grapefruits
  • cherries
  • prickly pears from Arizona
  • unsweetened grapefruit juice
  • unsweetened apple juice
  • unsweetened pineapple juice
  • Raspberry Smoothie (product of Con Agra®)
  • Agave Nectar® (light)

Examples of low-glycemic index vegetables

  • sweet corn
  • brown beans
  • converted rice (Uncle Ben’s® or Masterfoods®)
  • butter beans
  • split peas
  • black beans
  • lima beans
  • navy beans/haricot
  • pinto beans
  • soy beans
  • yams (peeled and boiled)
  • chickpeas
  • carrots
  • lentils

Examples of low-glycemic index drinks

  • Cappuccino
  • Ultracal with fiber (Mead Johnson)
  • Glucerna® vanilla (Abbot Laboratories)
  • Nutrimeal® (Usana) – chocolate
  • Choice DM®
  • Resource Diabetic ® (Novartis Nutrition corp.)

Examples of low-glycemic index snacks (snacks–not meals)

  • peanuts
  • cashews
  • peanut butter
  • Apple-Cinnamon Snack Bar (Con Agra®)
  • Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Snack Bar (Con Agra)
  • Peanut Crunch Nutribar® (L.E.A.N. Life long)
  • L.E.A.N® (Life long) Nutribar™, Chocolate Crunch
  • Ironman PR Bar®, chocolate (PR Nutrition, San Diego, CA, USA)
  • Ensure® Pudding, old-fashioned vanilla (Abbot Laboratories)
  • hummus
  • Twix Cookie Bar® (one of these only, not a bunch)

Examples of low-glycemic index breakfast choices

  • eggs
  • bacon
  • cottage cheese
  • yogurt (plain)
  • hot cereal, apple and cinnamon (Con Agra®) – this will swell in your pouch, so be very careful.
  • All-Bran® (Kellogg’s) – this will swell, use caution