Friday, January 31, 2014

Essentials Facts about the Glycemic Index

An article by the American Diabetes Association provides enlightenment about the glycemic index and how carbohydrates can raise our blood glucose levels. How much do you know about the Glycemic Index (GI)? Find out by taking this quiz:

  1. True of False: The GI measures how a carbohydrate-containing food raises blood glucose.
  2. True of False: Oatmeal has a higher GI than chocolate.
  3. True of False: Long-grain white rice has a lower GI than brown rice.
  4. True of False: The more ripe a fruit or vegetable is, the lower the GI.
  5. True of False: The GI is a better tool than carbohydrate counting.
  6. True of False: All meats and fats do not have a GI.

Here are the answers:
  1. True. Foods with carbohydrates are given a number based on how they compare to glucose or white bread. A high GI rating means it will raise blood glucose more than a food with a medium or low GI. For example, a plain white baguette has a GI of 95 when compared to glucose. A wheat tortilla has a much lower GI of 30. The average apple has a GI of 39 and most nuts have a GI of 13. The effects of consuming high GI food is made more moderate when also consuming low GI food. Visit this website post by Harvard University to find out what foods are low or high on the GI.
  2. True. Grains are generally not a great food choice for individuals with diabetes. Oatmeal is a good choice however, even though it has a higher GI than chocolate. This is because it is high in fiber, which normalizes the glycemic effect.
  3. True. It is important to take into consideration the variety of GI that exists within categories to understand what has a higher GI than other foods. For example, converted long-grain white rice has a lower GI than brown rice, but short-grain white rice has a higher GI than brown rice.
  4. False. As fruits or vegetables become ripe or are stored longer, their GI increases.
  5. False. Counting GI can be helpful for some individuals who need to take into consideration their glucose consumption However no single diet or meal plan will work universally for people with diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, “the important thing is to follow a meal plan that is tailored to personal preferences and lifestyle and helps achieve goals for blood glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides levels, blood pressure, and weight management.” Different kinds of carbohydrates have different affects on blood glucose, which is with the GI can be useful for knowing more precisely what your blood glucose levels will be and assist in achieving your goals.
  6. True. Unprocessed meats and fats do not contain carbohydrates, and therefore have no glucose. However, processed animal products such as hot dogs and lunch meats have some glucose because sugar and other carbohydrates have been added.
There are a few other facts that are key to understanding the GI. When glucose is released rapidly in food they are ranked high on the GI. The inverse results in a low rating on the GI. As carbohydrates are digested in the body, glucose is released into the bloodstream, the GI measures the amount of glucose released into the bloodstream over a 2-3 hour time period. A rapid release of glucose, or a sudden spike, into the blood stream causes a large release of insulin. This can cause glucose to be stored as fat rather then to be turned into energy for the body to use. Insulin released in large amounts also often causes a rapid drop in blood sugar, which makes us hungry. The American Diabetic Association sums it up nicely, “So you eat candy. Your blood sugar spikes. Insulin is released. Your blood sugar drops. You eat more candy. The sugar rollercoaster ride begins.” This is true for everyone, even if they if they do not have diabetes.

If you would like to maintain moderate blood sugar levels, Kay's Naturals snacks and cereals are a good option. All of our food has a low GI and is safe for individuals with diabetes. Shop online at

Diabetic Diet,
Glycemic Index and Diabetes,
Glycemic index and glycemic load for 100+ foods,

International table of glycemic index and glycemic load values,

Friday, January 24, 2014

Your brain on gluten

If someone has a gluten sensitivity, gluten will effect the digestive track by starting an autoimmune reaction that damages the villi in the small intestines. This is common knowledge for anyone who has studied celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. But did you know it also effects the brain?

According to an article by the Peripheral Neuropathy Center at the University of Chicago, a study found that neuropathic symptoms can arise in people with celiac disease, even before gastrointestinal symptoms appeared. The neurological condition, often referred to as peripheral neuropathy or celiac ataxia, is found in 10 percent of individuals with celiac disease and causes causes a gait or shaky uncoordinated movements.
Celiac disease is substantially under-diagnosed in the United States. According to a study published by the American Medical Association, titled Prevalence of Celiac Disease in At-Risk and Not-At-Risk Groups in the United States, celiac disease is common in Europe. Given the similar European ancestry for much of the US population, it is logically assumed that it is under-diagnosed in the US as the disease is largely caused by genetics. That same article reported that celiac disease is generally believed to be rare within the US by the scientific community, despite large epidemiologic studies that say otherwise. This study stressed that patients with “neuropathy of an unknown cause should be tested for celiac disease.”

At Kay's Naturals we strongly believe in creating awareness about gluten sensitivities, and we hope this information becomes widely known. We strive to provide access to healthy gluten-free food for individuals with gluten sensitivities. Therefore, all of our snacks and cereals are manufactured in a 100% gluten-free facility. To learn more about what we have to offer you, or a loved one with gluten sensitivities visit our website.

*The article Prevalence of Celiac Disease in At-Risk and Not-At-Risk Groups in the United States, can be found here.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Why You Really Ought To Pre-Plan Your Meals

Go ahead and Google “pre-plan meals”. This is what you will find: “meal planning can help you to stick to your diet,” “A little pre-planning can save you time and energy,” “The key to pre-game meals .. is how you eat throughout the course of the whole day,” “pre-plan healthy meals for busy parents.” The single act of pre-planning meals is great for everyone: busy parents, people with food allergies or restrictions, those who are training for sports, and those of us who are simply trying to lose weight.

According to this scholarly article on obesity, “the main purpose of meal planning is to have patients eat regularly scheduled meals...This lessens the possibility of overeating by decreasing hunger and by preventing meals from being ambiguous” and “the caloric content of meals can be calculated prior to consumption which assists with adherence to overall caloric goals.”

So why doesn't everyone pre-plan their meals? Because we believe in myths.

Myth #1 It takes too much time and organization.

Truthfully, pre-planning meals takes less time. Its this simple:
  1. Make a meal plan. (If you're at a loss for where to start, you can try this one or a Kay's Naturals meal plan. If you need a meal plan due to a food restrictions, there are ample. Do some research and find what meal plan works best for you. (The meal plan from Kay's is great for those who are diabetic, gluten-free, or wish to lose weight.)
  2. Go the grocery story, get the coming weeks worth of food. (hint: don't go when you're hungry!)
  3. Make an easy healthy lunch for the whole week on a Sunday afternoon. Depending on what you choose this can take as little as 15 minutes!   
  4. Place food in five single serving containers. Lunch is done for the week. Repeat for dinners.

Supplementing meals with healthy and yummy snacks, like the ones created by Kay's Naturals will keep you energized, curb your cravings, and let you reach your individualized goals.

Myth #2: It takes too much discipline.

This is just not true. Not having a plan is what leads people to break their diets. If you cannot have gluten, but find yourself starving and with no gluten-free options available, you will be forced to starve or eat gluten. This is also true for those who try to have comprehensive diets that are low-fat and high-protein. If you are stuck in junk food central (such as the food court). Without a plan, it's much easier to be forced off of a diet. The looming McDonald's sign will be calling your name. However, if you are well fueled with quality energy and know where the next meal is coming from, the craving for a brownie or the drive-through will be kept at bay.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Truth About Sugar

Who doesn't love sugar? In America, sugar is consumed in cereal, desserts, protein bars. It is also hidden in less likely sources, such as yogurt, breads, meats, and ketchup. In recent years, research increasing highlights the significant ways sugar is harmful to our bodies. One reason, according to an article written by Dr. Richard J. Johnson a professor of medicine at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Denver, is that sugar is metabolized in the liver. For those of us who do not exercise often, consuming a lot of fructose can cause fatty live. Additionally, it is linked to other metabolic disorders. Research suggests “that excessive intake of fructose may be linked to development of metabolic syndromes,” such as obesity, dyslipidemia, hypertention, insulin resistance, proinflammatory state, and prothrombosis. Clearly than, sugar should be consumed moderately for more reasons than simply wanting thinner waists.

The good news? According to this article, athletes need fructose to improve their exercise performance. Yes, you heard it right. Fructose is utilized during strenuous exercise because “fructose stimulates rapid fluid and solute absorption in the small intestine and helps increase exogenous carbohydrate oxidation during exercise.” So, if you cannot bear to cut all sugar from your life, take heart that if you regularly workout hard, sugar is actually to your benefit!

But what if you don't have two-hour workouts five days a week? Exercising will still cause a high daily energy expenditure, protecting you from the negative metabolic reactions that are linked to frequently high fructose consumption. Dr. Richard J. Johnson said exercise will “significantly reduce the health risks associated with fructose and other forms of sugar.” Even a 30 minute walk will help our bodies successfully metabolize sugar.

Abundant sugar consumption is still inadvisable however. According to Dr. Johnson, “Sugar is not all bad,” but “it’s hardly nutritionally good, either.” Therefore, we at Kay's Naturals suggest taking a peek at our healthy snacks that are all low in sugar. Our Protein Cookie Bites are delicious, and only contain 3g of sugar. This is because they are naturally sweetened with Stevia and evaporated cane juice and not high fructose corn syrup. So rest assured that your liver won't be getting fatty when you snack with Kay's.