Introduction: low glycemic diets are good for everyone but the people who need these diets most are Diabetics and those trying to lose weight. Foods are measured by GI glycemic indexing.
What is glycemic indexing (GI)? The glycemic index ranks from 1 to 100.This is the method by which foods are measured and shows the amount a food will raise blood sugar and insulin levels. The rate at which your blood sugar rises is very important in managing diabetes and weight maintenance. High glycemic foods are those that are quickly digested and turned into sugar. They will cause a considerable rise in high blood sugar. Foods ranking 70 or greater on the GI scale are considered high glycemic foods. Examples of these foods are:
Foods high in sugar or glucose
* Baked or mashed potatoes
* White Rice
* White (not whole grain) bread
* Cookies, cakes, muffins, doughnuts-made with refined white flour
* Junk foods
Low glycemic foods include some fruits and vegetables they are 55 or less on the GI scale. Examples of these are:
* Most fruits (apples, pears, oranges, berries, etc.)
* High fiber grains (bran, whole grain wheat’s)
* Whole milk
* Low-fat yogurt
* Whole grain cereals
Why use a low Glycemic Diets: High glycemic foods can cause weight gain and are dangerous for those suffering from Diabetes. High glycemic foods increase your appetite, and cause your body to increase triglycerides. They can also lead to weight gain. Cutting carbohydrates is not enough. You need to be aware of how all the food you eat measures up to the GI index.
Protein foods such as cheese, vegetables, eggs and fresh meat are not included in the GI index because they do not include large amounts of carbohydrates. Therefore these foods can be eaten when you are on a low glycemic diet.
Diabetes is a life threatening disease when not taken care of and it is very important to be aware of the glycemic index of the foods you eat. One of the first methods of treatment is to put these patients on a low glycemic diet. This will help them to lower their blood sugar levels and maintain a normal blood sugar level.
Obesity: A low glycemic diet will also help you lose weight. Eating more protein foods and low glycemic foods will help you drop those pounds and when you maintain a low glycemic diet will help you sustain your weight.
Eating in a healthier manner is just a matter of understanding the different foods and paying attention to what you eat. Educate yourself a little on which foods are high in protein and low in glycemic levels and you will be able to improve your health and have more energy to do the things that are really important to you.
The GI diet, based on the Glycemic Index, has recently become very popular, but the GI ranking system has been around since 1981. There have been several books published on the success of the GI diet, but is it really a diet or a lifestyle change?
The glycemic index
Dr. David Jenkins, from the University of Toronto in Canada, developed the glycemic index to measure the speed at which foods break down in the body to produce glucose. While originally intended to help diabetic patients control their glucose levels, it was soon used to help individuals trying to lose weight to control their eating habits and hunger. The key was to decrease the fast breakdown of foods into glucose. Glucose is the natural source of energy for the body. It produces a rush of energy when the food is broken down, and then when it is burned up, it leaves a feeling of hunger and fatigue.
Depending on how fast they elevate the blood sugar level after eating, foods are considered high, medium and low GI foods. Low GI foods rank less than 55 on the glycemic index scale, medium GI foods go from 55 to 70 and high GI foods rank higher than 70. High GI foods break down very quickly in the body and make you feel hungry again soon after consuming them. Low GI foods are slowly digested and absorbed so you feel fuller for a longer period of time after you eat.
High GI foods include:
- white flour products like white bread, croissants, doughnuts;
- heavily processed foods like corn chips, potato chips or pretzels;
- foods high in sugar like cookies, rice krispies, ice cream;
- high starch vegetables such as potatoes and parsnips;
- fruits high in sugar – watermelons, dates and other dried fruits.
Medium GI foods include:
- most types of pasta;
- some fruits like mangos, apricots and raisins;
- some vegetables like baked beans.
Low GI foods include:
- most fruits and vegetables;
- cereals that are high in fibers but low on sugar;
- dairy products like low fat plain yogurt, whole, low fat or skimmed milk;
- whole grain breads.
The Low GI Diet
The low GI diet focuses on changing eating habits so that the majority of the foods consumed are from the low GI food group. These foods take longer to break down into glucose in the body. This does two basic things:
- Produces a more even level of glucose throughout the day to avoid those high glucose times followed by the low glucose slumps.
- Stops cravings and hunger from occurring as much.
When these two components combine, they allow the dieter to eat a balanced meal and not experience the “energy slumps”. The whole grains and unprocessed foods take more time for the body to convert to glucose and keep the feeling of being full for longer. It also prevents those cravings which tend to cause overeating or consuming foods that are not on the eating plan.
However, the diet should not rely exclusively on the glycemic index as low GI foods aren’t necessarily healthy. Foods should be chosen based on their overall nutritional value. The glycemic index is influenced by a sum of factors like: the nutrient content of the foods, the extent to which they are processed, the cooking method, food combination or ripeness in the case of fruits and vegetables.
Products that are high in fat have a low GI as they don’t break down as easily as the ones high in carbs. That doesn’t mean you should choose to eat high fat foods in order to stick to the index. As an example, whole milk is ranked lower than the fat free or low fat one.
The glycemic index doesn’t rank foods that do not contain carbohydrates, like fresh meat, chicken, fish, eggs and cheese. However, it includes processed foods that include meat and diary products. For a healthy low GI diet you should choose lean or low-fat meats that have been trimmed of visible fat, skinless poultry, fish and low-fat dairy products, even though they aren’t ranked.
The nutrient content is also very important. Between dates or watermelon and a bag of crisps the obvious choice is the fruit even though the watermelon is considered high GI because of the sugar content and the crips are considered low GI as they are high in fat and slow down the absorbtion process.
It is also important to remember that the glycemic index ranks invidual foods only, not whole meals. Depending on how the foods are combined, the overall GI value of the meal can change and cannot be measured accurately, but the main idea is that including low GI foods in your meal will result in lower GI value overall.
The low GI diet does not lead to rapid weight loss; rather it results in a steady and constant decrease in body weight. The individuals who use this plan find that they have more energy and therefore are more likely to exercise.
So is the low GI plan a diet or a lifestyle? Most experts agree that it is a diet plan that leads to changes and becomes a lifestyle. Eating low GI foods just makes good sense for weight control and maintenance, energy levels and healthy eating.
Obesity is the condition where the body accumulates so much excess fat that it becomes a health risk. About 35% of the population of the United States struggles with obesity in one form or another and the consequences can be very grave as hundreds of thousands of people die each year due to complications that stem from being overweight.
Today’s society in many ways contributes to why people become obese. This is because people prefer to drive even for shorter distances. This is off course the western societies more because in the Third Word obesity is hardly a problem. While driving around one will also see the many convenient food stores and “drive-thrus” that exist in many places and these cater to a hungry population that is short on time and wants its food quickly. In many research findings, junk foods have been blamed for the obesity epidemic that is afflicting many parts of the US. But there are ways in which someone can fight obesity especially belly fat.
One of the ways is to eat right. There are diets one can get into that do not necessarily involve actual cutting back of food but one can choose their calorie intake wisely. This means that one has to read and understand the calories that are written on the label of the containers that they purchase.
Another way is to exercise. People sometimes become discouraged by gym membership fees but these need not be a valid deterrent. One can simply walk or jog around their compound or neighborhood. It is all really about discipline and diligence. Exercises, even simply ones, can have a tremendous impact in reducing belly fat if conducted in a timely and consistent manner. This is recommended fr fighting against belly fat and reducing overall obesity.