The Low Glycemic Diet

Everyone knows that the food we eat becomes energy for our bodies. It turns out that different foods turn into energy at different rates, and this difference in the rate of digestion can make a big difference when we’re trying to lose weight. Learn about the glycemic index and its impact on your body.

The glycemic index refers to the rate that a particular food converts into blood sugar. The higher the number, the faster your blood sugar rises. So orange juice has a higher glycemic index than oatmeal, for example.

The concept behind low glycemic index diets, called low glycemic diets or GI diets, is that avoiding sharp rises in blood sugar can help you lose weight. An increase in blood sugar triggers increased levels of insulin, the hormone that allows muscle cells to use blood sugar. Higher insulin levels are associated with increased conversion of glucose (blood sugar) into fat. So less insulin could result in less fat.

Eating low glycemic index foods avoids blood sugar spikes and insulin secretion spikes. This is thought to help reduce obesity, high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease. Possibly, putting our bodies through these insulin spikes could lead to insulin resistance, the key driver for type II diabetes.

The low glycemic diet recommends that you eat foods with a low glycemic index. BAM! That’s it. No calorie counting or strange recipes, just stick with low GI foods.

So what kinds of food have a low glycemic index? Think nuts, beans, lentils, cereals, proteins and lots of fiber. Eat more whole grain bread rather than the wonder variety. Skip the potatoes and have some kidney beans instead.

Most people find that eating a low glycemic diet is easy, and that over time their food cravings go away. Many doctors believe that food cravings are a side effect of insulin spikes, so this makes sense. The GI diet doesn’t force you to give up food, just select different foods in some cases. You don’t go hungry; you just fill up on food with a lower glycemic index. Nice!

Could the low glycemic diet work for you? There’s no medical proof that you will lose weight just because you eat low GI foods, but reducing cravings can certainly help you binge less. That can’t hurt your weight loss goals!

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