When it comes to sustaining yourself over a long period of time, slow-release carbs are essential. Whether you’re looking to cut your calorie intake or you’re a Muslim partaking in Ramadan fasting, you need to fuel yourself with slow-release carbs to prevent hunger pangs during the day. This way, you’ll have the energy to fulfil daily tasks or even religious obligations, such as giving Zakat.
Essentially, carbs are broken down into two categories, simple carbs and complex carbs. Simple carbs are quickly broken down, resulting in the spiking and dipping of blood sugar levels, which leads to a quick burst of energy before a crash. Complex carbs, on the other hand, gradually release glucose into the bloodstream, which provides a steady stream of energy.
The glycaemic index measures the rate at which your body metabolizes carbs. It’s essentially a grading system that determines whether a food raises your blood sugar levels slowly, moderately, or quickly.
While all carbs get broken down into glucose, the type of carb and the amount eaten will affect blood sugar levels. This is because they get digested and absorbed at different rates.
The rating system runs from 0 to 100, and slowly absorbed carbs have a rating below 55.
Examples of Slow-Release Carbs
Since there are two types of carbs and their impacts differ greatly from one another, it’s essential that you make the right decisions. This is especially true in the instance that you’re reducing your calorie intake or fasting during the day. Listed below are some of the healthiest examples of foods with a low glycaemic index:
- Fruits (strawberries, oranges, dried apricots, cherries, bananas, apples, etc.)
- Basmati rice
- Bran-based cereals and muesli
- Pitta bread
- Al dente pasta
- Rye bread
- Sweet potatoes
- Porridge oats
- Brown rice
So, what do you actually do with these numerous examples? To start with, you need a breakfast that consists of the right foods. Nearly a quarter of Americans skip breakfast daily, and this is proven to make us feel lethargic more quickly. Despite this, a balanced, low glycaemic index breakfast with complex carbs and some fat and protein is what your body needs to start the day right.
It’s recommended that your breakfast should provide around a quarter of your daily nutrients, and the following breakfast ideas can achieve this:
- Natural yogurt with muesli and fruit
- Boiled, poached, or scrambled egg on wholegrain bread/toast
- Porridge with seeds and berries
Top tip – preparing overnight oats will mean you’re able to grab your breakfast and go in the morning. Simply soak oats in low-fat milk, add fruit and a pinch of cinnamon, and pop in the fridge overnight.
The Health Benefits
Not only do slow-release carbs allow you to maintain a consistent weight, but they’re also capable of preventing or reversing insulin resistance linked to type 2 diabetes. This is because elevated blood sugar causes the pancreas to release insulin to regulate the sugar. Despite this, if glucose levels are too high for an extended period of time, this can result in insulin resistance. If the intake of processed and sugary foods is reduced and the intake of complex carbs is increased, though, this can help reverse insulin resistance.
The Importance of Protein
Carbs should only make up around one-third of your diet, meaning other food groups are important, with protein being an important one. Since protein takes longer to process than other food groups, this also slows down the absorption of the carbohydrate. Therefore, pairing complex carbs with protein is the most effective way of eating well.