The popular Low Glycemic Index Diet is certainly nothing new and is proven to work both as a weight loss plan and in controlling diabetes.
An astounding number of Americans currently suffer from diabetes, a good majority of which experience symptoms due to improper weight management.
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes or are looking to create a healthy lifestyle and manage your weight.
Speak with your primary physician about beginning a proper Glycemic Index Diet.
The best benefits of starting a Glycemic Index Diet for diabetics include:
The inclusion of some carbohydrates:
Individuals with diabetes are severely discouraged from beginning a diet that restricts the intake of carbohydrates.
Even though your carbohydrate level should be monitored since your body turns most carbs into sugar, every adult diet should include at least 130 grams of carbohydrates each day.
These carbohydrates work as fuel for the body. Providing you with much needed vitamins and minerals to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
The controlling of your diabetes with a Glycemic Index Diet alone:
If you have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, usually associated as a major side effect from being obese, you may be able to control your condition without medications or injections.
By carefully monitoring your Glycemic Index, you can work to control what food items your body must work to process.
Since this diet only includes foods that can be successfully processed by a diabetic’s body, your body will not have to try to process foods that can be potentially harmful.
The quality foods included on the Glycemic Index Diet:
The foods allowed on the Glycemic Index Diet are wholesome and healthy.
Many fresh fruits and vegetables are included in the diet, as well as whole grains and lean meats.
This diet will allow you to eat healthy, and therefore to lead a healthier lifestyle.
Furthermore, many of your favorite foods are on the Glycemic Index Diet list, so you can still enjoy the occasional treat.
The prevention of other diseases:
The Low Glycemic Index Diet also affects the body in the prevention of other diseases besides diabetes.
Many individuals at risk for heart disease should look into starting a Low Glycemic Index Diet to protect themselves against this deadly disease.
Researchers have found that a Low Glycemic Index Diet works better against preventing heart disease than a traditional low fat diet, and it is much more effective than the popular low carbohydrate fad diets.
Before you begin any diet or lifestyle change, be sure to contact your primary care provider.
Speaking with this professional individual will allow you to completely understand the correct way of beginning the diet and ensure the diet will work best for someone in your situation.
Furthermore, you will want to address any potential medical problems that may result from beginning a Low Glycemic Index Diet to ensure that you will remain healthy while seeking to begin a better lifestyle.
What does research have to say about the role of GI diet in weight loss?
Quite a bit of research has been done on the effects of GI diet on body weight and metabolic health.
1. Low glycemic index diet brings about modest weight loss
Emadian et. al comment that low glycemic diet does show promise in treatment of obesity. Thomas et. al reviewed multiple studies to assess the effect of low glycemic index diet in obesity.
Their results showed that low glycemic index diet brought about a significant decrease in body weight.
Total fat, cholesterol levels in comparison to the control diet.
Low calorie low glycemic index diet for 12 weeks is found to bring about significant reductions in body fat and abdominal obesity and improvement in fertility in overweight or obese women.
Sloth et. al reported an average 1.9kg weight loss in 10 weeks with low glycemic index diet.
Visceral fat is fat surrounding the organs and this fat can lead to metabolic issues. Low glycemic index diet is found to be beneficial in reducing visceral obesity.
Studies show that low GI diets can reduce abdominal obesity.
A 6 month study was conducted to compare the effect of low GI, high GI and low fat diets on weight.
At the end of 5 months it was observed that low GI diet brought about a significant reduction in body weight compared to low fat diet and it also brought about improvement in insulin function.
With high GI diet no significant change in weight was observed. Another study showed that low glycemic index diet brought about a significant decrease in body weight and waist circumference whereas high GI diet did the exact opposite.
Cochrane review suggests
The Cochrane review suggests that low GI diet bring about significant reduction in body weight in comparison to high GI and control diets.
However some studies report that low glycemic index diet and high glycemic index diet cause similar weight loss even when combined with exercise.
When compared to other dietary approaches such as calorie reduction and portion control. Low glycemic index diet is not found to cause any different weight loss outcomes than these diets.
A combination of high protein and low glycemic index diet favors weight loss maintenance. Average weight regain observed is around 3kg.
Though short term studies and clinical trials suggest that low glycemic index diets cause weight loss. A review of 23 studies shows that this data when pooled together is inconsistent.
Some show significant weight loss while some show insignificant trends.
It would be safe to say that low glycemic index diets bring about modest reductions in weight.
2. It can promote fat oxidation
Low GI diets reduce insulin response which in turn stimulates fat oxidation or breakdown and utilisation of fats.
Pohlmeier et. al conducted a study wherein 8 weeks of low glycemic index diet provision led to a significant reduction of body weight (average 8.1kg).
Also it was observed that there was efficient carbohydrate metabolism and increased fat oxidation or breakdown of fats.
Research shows that high GI diet can impair fat oxidation rate in comparison to low GI diet which can cause subsequent weight regain after weight loss.
These findings suggest that low GI diet can be favorable in weight maintenance.
Exercise as we all know helps in burning fat and carbohydrates.
A low GI meal prior to exercise aids in maintaining blood sugar levels and supports burning of fats during exercise.
High or moderate GI are recommended after exercise since they are easily digested and absorbed and provide immediate energy.
The high GI foods after exercise increase insulin secretion and this insulin supports glycogen storage.
Increases protein synthesis by muscle and increases blood flow to muscle.
Research proves that a combination of exercise and low glycemic index diet favors fat burning.
3. It promotes satiety and reduces cravings
Low glycemic index diets are high in fibre which explains why they can possibly influence satiety.
Silva et. al report that that a breakfast low in GI and high in fibre reduces blood glucose spikes and also reduces hunger hormone.
A study reported 7% decrease in appetite and food cravings with low GI diet compared to high GI diet.
Otherstudies also report similar findings.
A review of 32 studies shows that diets low in glycemic index can reduce appetite in short term. In comparison to low GI diets.
High GI diets are found to increase food cravings and stimulate the brain’s reward pathway.
Some clinical trials report that low GI diets do not affect satiety.
4. It improves metabolic health
A diet rich in protein and low glycemic index foods improves blood sugar control and also reduces abdominal obesity in individuals with type 2 diabetes.
Research shows that this diet also aids in reducing symptoms of metabolic syndrome.
Low glycemic index is found to help in metabolic conditions like non alcoholic fatty liver disease , glucose tolerance in gestational diabetes , reduction in cholesterol levels , reduction in obesity induced inflammation , improvement in diabetes related parameters , prediabetes , obesity induced diabetes .
5. Low glycemic index diet is beneficial for childhood obesity
Kong et. al conducted a 6 month clinical trial where obese adolescents were assigned to either low glycemic index diet or control diet.
After 6 months it was observed that there was significant reduction in weight and waist circumference in group following low glycemic index diet.
Researchers concluded that low GI diet can be an alternative to conventional diet in obesity management in adolescents.
A similar 6 week study demonstrated that low glycemic diet reduced body fat and cardiovascular risk factors in obese children.
Exhaustive review studies reveals that lowering glycemic index of diet can have beneficial effect on obesity and weight gain in children.
Remember, the Low Glycemic Index Diet is not a typical diet. Instead it is a lifestyle change.
Once you begin your trip down this road.
You should strive to remain on the diet on a long term basis.
If you are a diabetic, you may not be able to allow yourself binges on unhealthy foods without paying a costly penalty.
So use this diet to your advantage in controlling your condition.
Considerations when on the GI diet
GI rank just indicates the effect the food item will have on blood sugar but does not tell much about its nutritional value. This can make it difficult to choose what to eat and what not.
Proteins and fat lead to slow absorption of carbohydrates. Therefore chocolate that is high in fat is ranked low on GI scale. Cooking and processing also affects the GI of the food.
Another limitation is that you cannot identify glycemic index of a meal. As mentioned earlier certain foods are low on GI, packed with proteins and fats but do not contain required nutrients.
Also some really healthy food items have high GI ranking like brown rice. But then again this diet allows you to eat low GI bread and pasta.
There is not much guidance or structure as to what should be eaten and how many calories to consume.
For example watermelon has GI of 80 but one serving has only a GL of 5.