June 19, 2009
By Lt. Col. Karen E. Hawkins,DeCA dietitian
The battle of the bulge may just have gotten easier, especially if you eat breakfast. Eating breakfast that includes foods such as yogurt, whole grain cereals and skimmed milk might help with losing weight. Having all the tools you need can help increase your success with weight loss along with maintaining it.
One more tool that can be useful, according to new research, is that the type of carbohydrates or carbs you eat before a workout might influence how much fat you burn during physical activity.
In the May 2009 Journal of Nutrition, Emma Stevenson, Ph.D., a senior lecturer at Northumbria University, United Kingdom, noted that women who ate foods for breakfast with low glycemic index (do not cause a spike in blood sugar), burned 50 percent more fat during their after-breakfast workout than those who ate foods such as corn flakes and white bread which cause blood sugar to quickly rise. In Stevenson’s study, eight women of average weight ate either a high- or low-glycemic-index breakfast and, three hours later, walked on a treadmill for 60 minutes. The researchers drew blood samples to measure fatty acids, which indicate fat burning for energy in the body.
What is glycemic index?
Glycemic index measures how much 50 grams of carbohydrate raise a person’s blood-sugar levels compared to a food such as white bread or pure glucose. Almost all carbs are digested into glucose and cause a temporary rise in blood glucose levels known as the glycemic response. There are many things that can affect the response such as the amount of food eaten, the type of carbohydrate and how the food is cooked, to name but a few. Glycemic index diets are often used as weight loss tools. This is due to high-glycemic-index foods raising blood sugar levels and causing the body to secrete more insulin and leading to fat storage. There is much debate though over how the glycemic index works, so the verdict is still out on how well it works. Many of the foods that are low on the glycemic index are less refined foods, however, so eating them is a good choice.
Here are just a few low-glycemic-index foods you can buy at the commissary at savings of 30 percent or more:
- Whole grain cereals (at least 16 grams whole grain per serving)
- High fiber cereals (at least 5 grams fiber per serving)
- Oatmeal (unsweetened is best)
- Skim or 1-percent milk
- Greek yogurt or other yogurt, plain or artificially sweetened
- Many fresh fruits such as cherries, grapefruit, apples, pears, strawberries, oranges, peaches, grapes and bananas
- Dried apricots and dried prunes
For more information about making healthy choices, visit Ask the Dietitian on http://www.commissaries.com and post your questions on the DeCA Dietitian Forum. Be sure to look for other useful information in the Dietitian’s Voice archive. Sign up with the DeCA Dietitian on www.twitter.com and get messages sent to your cell phone today. For delicious recipes, check out Kay’s Kitchen. And to enjoy all your commissary has to offer, sign up for the Commissary Connection.
About DeCA: The Defense Commissary Agency operates a worldwide chain of commissaries providing groceries to military personnel, retirees and their families in a safe and secure shopping environment. Authorized patrons purchase items at cost plus a 5-percent surcharge, which covers the costs of building new commissaries and modernizing existing ones. Shoppers save an average of more than 30 percent on their purchases compared to commercial prices – savings worth about $3,400 annually for a family of four. A core military family support element, and a valued part of military pay and benefits, commissaries contribute to family readiness, enhance the quality of life for America’s military and their families, and help recruit and retain the best and brightest men and women to serve their country.