Low Glycemic Diets: How Do They Work?

Scientists have finally figured out what encourages the body to store fat, and that is exactly how low glycemic diets were born. They are based upon the eating advice given to diabetics, but overweight people who are not diabetic can benefit from this way of eating. In fact, eating this way may even reduce the risk of developing diabetes and other diseases in the future.

How Do Low Glycemic Diets Work?

See, some foods affect blood sugar levels more than others. The amount that food impacts blood sugar levels in average people is called a glycemic index. To be fair, some folks are more sensitive than others, so they need to watch these numbers more carefully.

For example, a piece of cake with rich frosting is bound to spike blood sugar levels. A serving of broccoli, even with some butter, melted cheese, and other seasonings, won’t do much at all. These are extreme examples, but they illustrate the concept.

In fact, when some types of food with a fairly high glycemic index are eaten with food that has a low index, the two can even balance each other out. Part of enjoying low glycemic diets is learning to combine foods in good portions to keep blood sugar levels and insulin in check.

When the blood sugar levels are high, your brain sends out the signal to release insulin. This hormone tells your body to start sweeping sugar out of your body and into your fat cells. In other words, some kinds of food are like alarms that signal your body to store fat. Other kinds of food don’t have this impact, and they don’t send this signal at all.

What Are Glycemic Diets

There have been quite a few diets based upon this concept. Some of these are the Zone, Sugar Busters, and Slow-Carb. They have all been studied, and they do work in a sensible way. They also don’t mean that dieters have to restrict their portion sizes or count calories. Once people get the hang of eating the right way, the diets are pretty effortless to stick to.

Carbohydrates And Diet

There is no doubt that restricting carbohydrates is one way to lose weight. The body loves to use carbohydrates as fuel and to store the as fat. It is harder for the body to burn fat from fat cells, and it will only do this if it runs out of carbs. However, that doesn’t mean that all carbs are bad.

These are the three kinds of carbohydrates:

* Sugar
* Starch
* Fiber

Fiber is mostly indigestible, but your body needs it. The lack of fiber can make you prone to gain weight. It is mostly sugar, and to a lesser degree, starch, that people should avoid on a diet based upon the glycemic index. If you look at a certain type of food, you can even subtract the fiber grams from the total carbohydrates to get the actual number of carbohydrates that you need to worry about.

This makes food that is traditionally thought to be sugary or starchy but has a high fiber content, better for you. Good examples are nuts or legumes. Yes, they contain carbs, but they also contain a lot of fibers, so they tend to have a low to moderate impact on the glycemic index. However, commercial bread is usually pretty high in carbohydrates and low in fiber, so it is something to eat rarely.

You can buy high-fiber bread, but shop for that carefully too. Some brands are good, but they are also usually sort of expensive. Anyway, the point is that most bread should be eaten more as a condiment, and it should not be the focus of a meal.

For example, consider two similar kinds of bread and their GI values:

* White flour English muffin: 77
* Whole wheat English muffing: 45

Obviously, the better choice is a whole wheat English muffin. Even better, eat half of a whole wheat muffin with an egg and a fruit salad for breakfast. Good fruit choices are melons and berries.

Even though you may see that some fruit has a high GI index, a lot of fruits is also fiber, so you can eat quite a bit before you are really telling your body to spike blood sugar levels. For example, watermelon is supposed to have a pretty high GI index. But it is mostly water and fiber, so you’d probably have to eat several servings of watermelon to get your insulin going, and most people do not eat that much.

Do Diets Base Upon the GI Work?

They seem to help people lose weight who have had problems with other diets. Of course, they work best when combined with some exercise to help burn up excess sugar. Exercise also gives you more margin for error.