Q: What do you think of the glycemic index? Your book, Food & Mood, recommends waffles and other carbohydrates for breakfast. Won’t these foods send my blood sugar soaring?
– Ken from Atlanta
A: Although the glycemic index is interesting, I’m not convinced it has much practical application. Granted, some foods eaten alone raise blood sugar levels, including potatoes and carrots. However, seldom do people eat one food at a time. When people eat mixed diets, especially like the ones I recommend in Food and Mood, which is based on high-quality, fiber-rich carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, beans, and other minimally-processed foods, research shows blood sugar levels normalize or at least drop in diabetic-prone individuals. Blood fat levels and body weight also decrease in both diabetics and non-diabetics. In addition, the ratio of carbohydrates to their glycemic score should be considered; for example, carrots eaten on an empty stomach might produce a temporary elevation in blood sugar, but the carrots themselves provide very little carbohydrate, so would have little effect on calorie intake or fat storage. The diet recommendations in Food and Mood are based on a thorough review of the literature of what foods and eating habits we know at this time affect mood, energy level, cognition, and stress. The research overwhelming shows that high-quality carbohydrates obtained from whole grains, legumes, and vegetables provide the number one source of fuel for both our bodies and our brains and influence the neurotransmitter profile in favor of improved moods and energy. -Elizabeth Somer