Glycemic Index and SOLO
Let’s talk glycemic index for a moment, shall we?
It’s a buzz word that has been thrown around a lot and as it is showing up in the aisles of the grocery story, it is time to take pause and understand it.
The Glycemic Index is a ranking of how fast or how much a carbohydrate containing food affects blood sugar (compared to sugar or glucose, which is rated at 100). The higher the GI rating of a food, the quicker the carbohydrates are digested and raise blood sugar. This is not ALWAYS a bad thing, in training or competition, I will take a gel or a spoonful of nutella to get a quick kick of energy on the track. The instant raise in blood sugar can be helpful, but in endurance training and every day diet, it is not ideal.
For sustained energy as well as weight and blood sugar management, the lower the index and the slower the blood sugar rises, the better as the release of energy is gradual and provides longer lasting energy.
If we are constantly bombarding our bodies with foods high on the glucose index such as pretzels, bagels and sugary cereals, we develop a spike – crash – crave metabolic process, meaning we spike our blood sugar, crash when the quick energy is used up which leaves us craving another quick and easy fix – a high GI rated food item. Again, there is always an upside to things – we are MEANT to have the insulin hormone which causes this metabolic process, if we didn’t, our ancestors would not have been able to make it through periods of starvation as insulin truly is a survival hormone.
But we aren’t starving anytime soon, which means we need to manage our insulin. Low GI foods include underripe bananas, baked beans, peanut butter and more. A more complete list of Low GI foods from the University of Sydney can be accessed here.
So, when looking for a low-GI food bar that still had all the carbohydrates and protein I needed to fuel and recover from racing, I stumbled across SOLO bars. SOLO bars are low glycemic, gluten free energy and nutrition bars.
Boasting impressive stats of 13 g of protein, 4 g of fibre and approximately 200 calories a bar, they are in the range of where I like my food bars to be. Considering I am constantly eating about every 2-4 hours to keep my blood sugar level for my workouts, I eat a lot of snacks.
I put them to the test last week and I was able to keep charging through my day without any drop in energy.
SOLO bars have an impressive range of flavours: Peanut Power (peanut butter and honey), Chocolate Charger (chocolate with chocolate), Lemon Lift (Citrus, Cranberries and Yogurt), Dark Chocolate Mandarine, and Pineapple Coconut.
They are available at Rexall, Longos and Loblaws, retailing for $2.49.
Some of my other favourite low – GI snacks are baby carrots dipped in peanut butter (I’ll dip anything in peanut butter) and an apple with almonds.
What is your favourite snack?