Post by RightEatingHabits.com – The low glycemic diet was originally developed as a tool for people with diabetes to control their blood sugar (glucose) levels. It has since evolved to be a natural weight loss tool for dieters. In an earlier post, I wrote about the low glycemic index diet as a slow carb diet.
Here is a quick recap of what a low glycemic diet is:
According to the low glycemic diet (also known as the glycemic index diet or low GI diet), consuming the “right” kind of carbohydrates is key to achieving natural weight loss for weight watchers. And for people with diabetes, the low glycemic index is a useful guide on how to choose carbs that control blood sugars. This is how a low glycemic diet works:
Following the low glycemic index diet means adding more low GI foods to your diet which makes you feel full longer and less likely to have food cravings. The “right” kind of carbohydrates are carbs on the low glycemic index (GI). The body digests these low GI carbs more slowly. Tea is a low GI drink and a great substitute for sugar-laden drinks. And Green Tea is a must in a low glycemic diet. The Art of Tea – an American tea company, imports teas directly from tea growers and offers single teas as well as blended teas.
What is the glycemic index?
The glycemic index measures, from a scale of 1 to 100, how fast a particular carbohydrate food raises blood sugar levels after it has been consumed.
If you are diabetic or planning to lose weight, avoid high GI foods. They tend to cause a sudden rise in blood sugar levels followed by a sudden fall in blood sugars. This triggers hunger pangs and could lead to more overeating. Low GI foods are the healthier choice for diabetics and weight watchers because they do not provoke sudden blood sugar spikes and crashes.
Does the low glycemic diet or glycemic index diet really work?
People on a low glycemic diet generally experience natural weight loss as a result of the conscious switch to choosing and eating more low GI foods such as whole grain foods. They cut down on unhealthy high GI foods such as white bread, white rice, pretzels and bagels. People with diabetes also experience less sugar spikes when they are on a low glycemic diet.
Examples of low GI foods:
For breakfast, wholemeal bread (e.g. sourdough bread) and whole oats porridge.
Brown rice (whole grains) or wholemeal pasta and plenty of vegetables and some beans for dinner.
Fruits such as apples and bananas have low GI value.
How can a low glycemic diet / glycemic index diet boost natural weight loss or control blood sugar levels?
- The low glycemic diet forces you to be more aware and selective of the carbs you eat.
- Low GI foods help you to curb hunger pangs as they digest more slowly and make you feel full longer.
- When you are on a low glycemic index diet, you will tend to choose more high-fiber foods, such as whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables. Most vegetables and beans are low GI foods. The right choice of low GI carbs enhances natural weight loss.
Discover the two phases of natural weight loss using the low glycemic index diet as a guide.
Is following a low glycemic diet enough for natural weight loss and diabetes control?
Studies have shown that diabetics have better control of their blood sugar levels when their meals consist of more low GI foods.
Whether following the low glycemic diet is sufficient to stimulate natural weight loss is also dependent on other factors such as regular exercise.
The low glycemic index diet is a particularly useful guide on helping diabetics and weight watchers choose good quality carbohydrates.
Depending on the low glycemic diet plan as a single weight management tool may not be enough to boost natural weight loss. Consider these shortcomings:
- The glycemic index does not rank foods based on total nutrient content.
- The glycemic index only measures how fast a particular carbohydrate food may spike blood sugar levels. It does not take into consideration the amount of fats and sugar in the carbs. Or, the amount of carbohydrates consumed. Choosing the right carbs and eating fewer and smaller portions is just as important if you want to get on the path of permanent natural weight loss.
- Some low GI foods may also contain high amounts of calories, fats and sugars – which are not beneficial for natural weight loss. Consuming these foods will also be unhealthy for diabetic patients.Low fat yoghurt is a low GI food, but sugars are often added to make it tasty. Do check the food label for sugar content. Full cream milk (250g) may have a low GI value of 31. But whole milk is high in saturated fat. Switch to low-fat milk for less saturated fats and fewer calories.
- The low glycemic diet does not talk about portion size.
Complementing the glycemic index is the glycemic load.
Use glycemic index together with glycemic load
Use the low glycemic diet or glycemic index diet as a natural weight loss tool in conjunction with another tool, the glycemic load which measures how much carbohydrate you are really eating and how many calories are there in a particular carbohydrate.
Watermelons may be a high GI food, but it contains so little carbohydrate (calories) that you are not going to put on a lot of weight even if you eat the whole watermelon!
Where can I get more information?
To get more tips on natural weight loss and blood sugar control, get these three authoritative books on the low glycemic index diet and glycemic load.
The Bottom Line
What is “revolutionary” about the low glycemic index diet is how it challenges the perception that all carbs are created equal. They are not.
Make conscious decisions to eat better quality carbs – and you are on the way to more permanent natural weight loss. But don’t forget to exercise and do watch the portion size!
© Teresa Cheong, RightEatingHabits.com
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