Don’t Eat Bananas. They are Carb Bars!

by | Jul 29, 2018

Carbohydrates in a banana are broken down by the body to release the equivalent of Five and a half 4g spoonfuls of sugar into the bloodstream.

If you’ve decided to get serious about losing weight, especially if you’re a Type 2 Diabeteic, you’ve probably heard about the Glycaemic Index and about the importance of eating low GI foods.

But how many of us actually really understand it and the effect it has on our blood sugar levels?

The Glycamic index is a measure of how ordinary foods (including those with no added sugar) turn into Glucose, or blood sugar, after eating them.

I, for one, was pretty ignorant about the Glycaemic Index until I saw Doctor David Unwin’s brilliant infographic, which put all of this into simple terms.

He provides a list of everyday foods and explains the effect these foods have on our blood sugar levels in a way we can all understand.

Using a teaspoon of sugar as the measurement he shows that eating a slice of bread for example has THE SAME effect on our blood sugar levels as eating 3.7 teaspoons of regular table sugar.

I don’t mind admitting that it made for pretty scary reading in places and seemed to contradict much of what I had been told to eat as a Type 2 Diabetic by my GP.

My mother-in-law, Jo, always used to say to Lisa, “I think Jon eats too many bananas”. I dismissed her comments by pointing out that bananas were full of fibre and were part of my five a day.

I would regularly consume 2 or 3 every single day.

Then when I went to the gym, Pete my Trainer, called bananas “carb bars” and said he would never ever touch one.

Well, it looks like Pete and the mother-in-law were bang on the money because if you check out David Unwin’s chart bananas are the equivalent of 5.7 teaspoons of sugar when they hit your bloodstream!

And if you think that is frightening check out dried fruits like raisins at 10.3 teaspoons of sugar.

I may as well just get a pack of the deadly white stuff, cut out the middleman and shake the sugar straight down my throat!

I am joking of course, but this is why we all need to learn about how different foods can affect our blood levels and remember even if you’re not a Type 2 Diabetic all this excess glucose will get turned into fat and be stored around your vital organs and in your liver.

That is why the only fruits I eat now are berries like strawberries and raspberries, which as you can see from the chart have a minimal effect on blood sugar levels.

Now take a look at the breakfast cereal table and it will blow your mind!

People are campaigning for a traffic light warning system on cereals but let’s be honest judging by David Unwin’s chart there should be a massive RED LIGHT for danger on all packets of breakfast cereals.

The obvious villain is usually named as Coco Pops which come in at a massive 7.3 teaspoons per serving but look at cornflakes, which I always thought were relatively sugar free, they come in at 8.4 teaspoons when it hits your blood sugar. Even Special K is equivalent to 4 teaspoons of sugar!

Lisa used to tut at me as I wolfed down the cornflakes with semi skimmed milk as she virtuously had her bowl of Bran Flakes, I think David’s chart might have made her even think again about her choices if she had known then that her ‘healthy choice’ was actually the equivalent of 4.8 teaspoons of sugar!

Even the breakfast that we Type 2 Diabetics are always told to eat, and I must admit I enjoyed, porridge oats comes in at 4.4 teaspoons.

This diagram illustrates the idea that the foods on the left are broken down by the body to release the equivalent of 21 – yes  Twenty-One – 4g spoonfuls of sugar.

Whilst we are on the nightmare of the breakfast table scenario check out David Unwin’s table for the typical British ‘healthy breakfast’ of a bowl of cereals, a slice of brown toast (by the way who only has one slice of toast?), milk and a glass of apple juice.

That all comes in at a whopping 21 teaspoons of sugar! Add in that extra slice and we would be hitting something like 24 or 25 teaspoons of sugar just at breakfast! Then you wonder why you are Type 2 or fat?

Just whilst I am on bread please compare white bread at 3.7 teaspoons with brown bread at 3.3 and even wholemeal at 2.6 teaspoons of sugar PER SLICE.

Now do you see why I say that bread is the devil’s work and I would never eat it, no matter what colour it is?

Just imagine I used to have two slices for brekkie, at least two in a sandwich at lunchtime and then maybe a pitta with my chilli in the evening. That’s a whacking great big total of 17.7 teaspoons of sugar from bread. They tell us man cannot live on bread alone however, man can definitely get obese on bread alone it would appear to me!

If that’s not enough to make you think twice before reaching for the breadbin or for a ‘carb bar’ I don’t know what is – it certainly did the job for me!

If you’d like to know the source of the information on this page, please find the originals below.
From: The Glycaemic Index Revisited, Dr David Unwin, Journal of Insulin Resistance, 2016