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Glycemic spikes: how to avoid them in summer? The expert speaks – Italian cuisine reinvented by Gordon Ramsay

La Cucina Italiana


In summer, between holidays, afternoons in the sun and dinners on the beach, it is easier to take risks glycemic peaks by dint of ice creams, aperitifs with lots of snacks, lazy breakfasts full of sweets. Let’s first explain what it means.

Blood glucose levels, or glycemia, are not constant over time, but follow a curvilinear trend. The glycemic curve appears to be influenced by multiple factors: general state of health, absence or presence of pathologies, composition of the meal and distance from it. Blood glucose levels are measured 8 hours after the last meal (this is why blood tests are usually done on an empty stomach in the morning) and the optimal ones are from 70 to 100 mg/dl. For values ​​above 100 mg/dl, we refer to a condition of hyperglycemia. For values ​​below 70 mg/dl, we speak of hypoglycemia.

A blood glucose concentration higher than the reference values, for a healthy person, is a condition present in various pathologies, such as diabetes. However Even non-diabetic people can develop high blood sugar, but subject to conditions or pathologies that involve risk factors (for example, infections, inflammation, hyperthyroidism, pancreatitis, physical stress and pharmacological treatments). Even for a healthy person, it is of fundamental importance to keep blood sugar levels under control periodically: prolonged hyper- or hypoglycemic conditions, if not treated, can lead to important health problems and cause long-term complications. Glycemic peaks can be favored by an unbalanced dietrich in sugars, saturated and trans fats, and refined carbohydrates.

But these peaks can be kept under control even in summer, with a few small precautions: these are suggested to us by Romina Cervigni, scientific director of the Valter Longo Foundation.

How to avoid blood sugar spikes in summer

1. Watch out for breakfast

Breakfast is one of the meals with the greatest risk for the development of a glycemic peak: compared to sweets and snacks, it is better a full mealconsisting of a source of low-glycemic carbohydrates (such as whole-grain bread or cereal or rye bread), a source of sugars (such as no-sugar-added jam or honey), a source of good fats (such as a handful of nuts or a single-ingredient spread), and a source of protein (such as a yogurt or plant-based drink).

2. Fruit

Recommended a daily intake of 150 gramswhich correspond to a medium-sized fruit, combined, for example, with a handful of nuts such as walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts. The fats added with dried fruit allow you to modulate the rapid absorption of sugars from fresh fruit. Some fruits are more sugary than others, such as grapes, mandarins, bananas, figs and persimmons, but it is also true that in the recommended quantities and combinations, and in the context of a healthy and balanced diet, you can choose your own favorite fruit without too many problems.

3. Sweets

Their consumption should be moderate: it would be appropriate to consume them as part of a low glycemic index meal, which also contains proteins and complex carbohydrates, capable of mitigating the glycemic peak caused by sweets. By the same principle, they should go limit so-called ultra-processed foodsi.e. industrially processed: they are often low in fiber and rich in sugar, fat and salt.

4. Ice cream

It contains added sugars such as sucrose, glucose and fructose, in addition to those from milk and fruit. In fruit ice creams on the market, the average amount of sugar is about 25%, while in cream ice creams, the percentage is slightly lower, about 20%, but it is compensated by a higher fat content. The advice is to buy artisanal ice creams prepared with seasonal ingredientspossibly of organic origin, and to possibly eat them at the end of the meal as a substitute for fruit (and never together), avoiding the addition of biscuit garnishes or industrial toppings, which are particularly rich in simple sugars.

5. Vegetables

In controlling blood sugar, it is very important that each meal contains a portion of vegetablesbecause the fiber it contains slows down the absorption of carbohydrates and simple sugars.

Is coconut water good for you? The nutrition expert answers – Italian cuisine reinvented by Gordon Ramsay

La Cucina Italiana


Fresh, fragrant, sweet, refreshing and light: thecoconut water it would seem to be the ideal drink for the summer. Is it also good how you talk about it on social media? We asked the nutritional biologist Concetta Montagnese, researcher at the CNR Institute of Food Sciences. «Coconut water is that clear liquid contained in coconuts, fruits of the Cocos nucifera plant, in an early stage of maturation (no later than seven months), when it has not yet been absorbed by the pulp and when the nut is still green. The fruit – an oval drupe or a fleshy fruit, containing a single seed – must not be damaged: if it has these characteristics, it can contain between 200 and 1000 ml of liquid.”

What are the benefits of coconut water

The expert explains to us that coconut water is made up of 95% from water. «There are approximately 100 ml 2.5 grams of sugar: a modest amount. Coconut water is low in protein and fatwhich are almost absent, but it has a high content of potassium, sodium and magnesium and B vitamins and vitamin C. It contains no cholesterol, fiber, lactose or gluten. It is also suitable for celiacs and those intolerant to lactose.” Naturally, the benefits described are typical of the natural drink, that is, extracted directly from the walnut and bottled, without added sugars and artificial substances.

Coconut water is very thirst-quenching and, thanks to its rich potassium content, it is also a good rehydrator. In fact, it is used a lot by athletes: the low sugar content and the high quantity of potassium make it an ideal supplement after prolonged physical exercise. «There is a study conducted on a group of cyclists who used this drink during sports performances, explains Montagnese. «Even compared to other sports supplements, coconut water – to which sodium and carbohydrates had been added – gave very positive results.

Regarding health effects, studies have been conducted on rats which seem to demonstrate a beneficial effect on reduction of cardiovascular riskon the reduction of bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels and anti-inflammatory effects, “but targeted studies are needed to confirm these properties in humans too”.

Preliminary results of a study have shown that coconut water had anti-inflammatory effects in patients with ulcerative colitis (but always as an adjunct to therapy): «One hypothesis is that it has an important activity on the intestinal microbiotapromoting the growth of good bacteria”, says the nutritional biologist, who suggests trying adding it to smoothies or shakes, or to prepare porridge.

Does coconut water make you lose weight?

Many of the virtues attributed to it, however – from the ability to make people lose weight to that of increasing the sense of satiety – have not been scientifically proven.

What are the contraindications of coconut water?

Are there any contraindications? «Due to the nutrients it contains, intake should be avoided in cases of kidney failureand the Italian Kidney Foundation suggests its cautious use even in healthy subjects because it increases urinary potassium”, says Montagnese, “The key word is always the moderation: containing so many minerals, even coconut water could alter the balance of the body.”

The expert: why it’s good to eat an orange a day – Italian cuisine reinvented by Gordon Ramsay


Why is it good to eat an orange a day? This fruit at the table is one of the most consumed and praised especially due to its good vitamin C content. But there are many reasons why it is worth not giving up the goodness of this food, which gives its best especially if consumed whole or in freshly peeled cloves, rather than the drinking version (juice or squeezed juice) less rich in this nutrient, which is very sensitive to air and heat, and fibre. «The latter, present above all in the albedo, the white part that surrounds the pulp, are able to slow down the assimilation and absorption of sugars and fats and provide long-lasting satiety explains the nutritionist Salvatore Ercolano. “Eating an orange a day, for example at breakfast, lunch, dinner or as a snack, helps keep your appetite under control and counteract weight gain.” But the benefits of this fruit are also many others. This is why it is good to eat an orange a day.

Keeps the skin elastic

«Eating an orange a day allows you to stock up first of all on anthocyanins present in abundance especially in those with red pulp, capable of neutralizing free radicals and protecting against wrinkles. The vitamin C present in this fruit is also fundamental for the production of collagen, a protein produced by the skin that keeps it soft” says nutritionist Salvatore Ercolano. «The consumption of even just one orange also ensures good quantities of copper and zinc, two minerals which respectively stimulate the production of elastin, a protein that keeps the skin compact and the synthesis of hyaluronic acid, which preserves its luminosity.

Protects against aging

Few people know: one of the benefits of eating an orange a day is that it promotes longevity, due to the anti-aging properties at the center of several Education. «Among the many advantages it boasts is the presence of antioxidants, such as carotenoids, which in addition to fighting free radicals, protect against the weakening of the skeleton and osteoporosis and which are also precious for preserving eye health explains nutritionist Salvatore Ercolano. «Then there is another reason to eat an orange a day: the presence of prebiotic fibres, excellent allies for keeping the good intestinal bacteria in balance, facilitating the production of metabolites with anti-inflammatory action, which protect against overweight, obesity and chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes.”

Protects the heart and immune defenses

«Flavonoids, in particular anthocyanins, present mostly in blood oranges are antioxidants whose intake in the diet is associated with the reduction of oxidative stress, a condition which over time damages the arteries and increases the risk of suffering from stroke, atherosclerosis, hypertension and other cardiovascular disorders”. Eating an orange a day allows you to enjoy the benefits of a truly natural supplement of precious nutrients to boost the body’s defenses. «This fruit provides minerals such as magnesium, calcium, phosphorus and selenium and B complex vitamins, including folates, useful for the correct functioning of the immune system.

How to cut orange

Why it's good to eat an orange a day
Oranges, swordfish and spinach with mustard

For a refined, fresh and light appetizer that is easy and quick to prepare, discover our recipe for Oranges, swordfish and spinach with mustard

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