Creative Commons License photo credit: Amy Loves Yah

I’ve received a lot of positive feedback from my last two articles on the topic of sugar, insulin and diabetes. However, while a deeper understanding the issue is very useful today I would like to offer some very practical information. As I promised at the end of Sugar, Fat, Insulin & Diabetes: The Saga Continues here is the first of a two part article on Cauliflower.

In the second part of this article I will provide you with a genius way to consume more fibrous non-starchy vegetables such as Cauliflower that really does taste great while being amazingly good for your health and wellbeing. Before getting into how to make the cauliflower dish I’d like to demonstrate a comparison between a serving of Cauliflower (1 cup) and a serving of high quality light rye bread (2 slices).

Cauliflower vs. Bread
The first thing I noticed when I read the ingredients list on this top of the range bread is that it contains Soy. It also contains Canola Oil. Not a good start. Next I checked out how many calories the serving of bread contains. Two slices of this bread equals 190 calories. For an average person that equates to roughly 45 minutes of walking or close to 3 hours of watching TV to burn the energy contained in just two slices of bread.

In comparison a cup of cauliflower contains just 28 calories. That is almost 7 times less. See how energy dense starchy grain products like bread are? See how that can and does easily cause you to put on weight?

Up next I looked at how many grams of carbohydrates where in that one serving of 2 slices of bread. Turns out there are 32g of carbohydrates. In comparison one cup of cauliflower has just 5 grams of carbohydrates, over 6 times less.

Lastly, I checked the all important fiber. Whole grain bread and grain products are high in fiber right? Well two slices of this bread contains 3.3g of fiber. A cup of cauliflower contains 3.35g. That’s pretty much even right?

The answer is no, the amount of fiber is not even. In fact this is far from the case. Let’s put things into perspective. In order to do so let’s look at the ratio of carbohydrate to fiber in the serving of bread and compare it to the serving of cauliflower. The one serving of bread amounting to two slices contains 32 grams of carbohydrates and 3.3g of fiber. That is one gram of fiber for every 9.7 grams of carbohydrate. In cauliflower there is 1.5 grams of carbohydrates to every one gram of fiber. The ratio of carbohydrates to fiber in bread is 6.5 times that of cauliflower.

What does this mean? This means that you’ve been lied to. Bread is clearly not high in fiber when compared to other foods. While at the same time bread clearly is a very energy dense food. Remember just two slices of bread equals 190 calories (the equivalent in energy of 45 minutes of walking) compared to a cup of cauliflower which has just 28 calories.

If you’ve read my previous two articles on sugar, insulin and diabetes you probably got tired of me repeating the importance of fiber. Fiber slows the release of sugar into your bloodstream from the carbohydrates you ate and thus reduces the severity of the subsequent insulin response.

Cauliflower with it’s carbohydrate to fiber ratio of 1.5 is going to elicit a very small and gradual insulin response. The one serve of bread (just two slices) is going to jack up your blood sugar and illicit a much higher insulin response. Remember, insulin is a growth hormone and increases appetite which is why insulin management and insulin sensitivity is critical to losing weight. Munch down on your two slices of bread and chances are not much later you will be hungry again.

Health Benefits of Eating Cauliflower
The benefits of cauliflower versus say a food like bread goes far beyond the above analysis. Just one cup of cauliflower contains 91.5% of the daily value of vitamin C. Forget oranges. That perception is nothing more than the product of marketing. Further, one cup of cauliflower contains 10% of the daily value of B6, 13% for folate, 13% for vitamin K, and surprisingly 8.75% of the daily value for the all important omega-3 fatty acids, amongst others.

Cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables contain compounds that may help prevent cancer. These compounds appear to stop enzymes from activating cancer-causing agents in the body, and they increase the activity of enzymes that disable and eliminate carcinogens. Consumption of cruciferous vegetables, such as cauliflower, is known to reduce the risk of a number of cancers, especially lung, colon, breast, ovarian and bladder cancer.

A study of 29,361 men found that men who ate more than a serving of either broccoli or cauliflower each week almost halved their risk of developing advanced-stage prostate cancer compared with their peers who ate these vegetables less than once a month. Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men with half a million new cases appearing each year.

In regards to studies into rheumatoid arthritis subjects who consumed the lowest amounts of vitamin C-rich foods were found to be more than three times more likely to develop arthritis than those who consumed the highest amounts. Clearly Cauliflower is high in vitamin C.

Wrapping it Up
I’ve tried to make the nutritional and macronutrient comparison between a great fibrous non-starchy vegetable like cauliflower and a processed starchy food like bread as clear as possible. The comparison would probably been even more stark if I had of compared cauliflower to pasta. If you would like to read more about grains like wheat check out Make One Easy Change & Lose Weight. If you enjoyed this article and haven’t already subscribed to Balanced Existence you might like to do so now. It’s free and that way you’ll be sure not to miss my next article describing step-by-step how to make a delicious and healthy cauliflower dish.

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