Glycemic Index Diet
The Glycemic index diet also known as GI Diet is a weight loss program that is an integral part of many popular diet plans including South Beach Diet, The Zone, Glucose Revolution & Sugar Busters to name a few. The reason I thought I’d write about it is because I’ve been studying advanced exercise nutrition and noticed that there are a lot of popular misconceptions about the Glycemic index.
What is the Glycemic index?
The Glycemic index (GI) is a measure of raise in blood sugar from a 50 gram portion a particular carbohydrate compared to a control. A food with a high Glycemic index therefore results in a rapid rise in blood glucose and in turn insulin. On the other hand foods with a low Glycemic index are absorbed more slowly and thus do not cause a spike in blood glucose and insulin levels.
The index number ranges from 1-100 where 100 is the reference point for pure glucose. Examples of high Glycemic foods (over 85) include: white bread, corn flakes, rice crispies, carrots, baked potatoes, jelly beans. Examples of low Glycemic foods include: barley, mlik, yogurt, apples, pears, unripe bananas, black beans and peanuts. [ad#ad-2]
What is the basis of low Glycemic index diets?
The basis for Glycemic index diets lays solely on the belief that low-GI foods are absorbed more slowly by the body and therefore are not converted into fat as quickly and also allow dieters to feel fuller for a longer amount of time (preventing them from overeating). The claims for controlling your GI arose from people who suffer diabetes and must control their appetite and weight by consuming foods that are low on the GI scale.
Glycemic index diets encourage people to focus highly on eating lower GI foods which tend to be for the most part healthier, nutrient rich and higher in fiber. But the problem is that not all foods with low GI ratings are healthier. For instance, a can of soda has a lower GI than fresh watermelon!
What are other problems with Glycemic Index diets?
Many studies have shown that people have a large variation in their Glycemic response from one another, but not only that…the response can also vary significantly within one person depending on time of day of them eating that carbohydrate. Diabetes experts themselves have been quoted in saying that GI numbers don’t mean much because the range is too large from person to person and even within the same foods. For instance, rice’s GI can range anywhere from moderate (55) to extremely high (at 100)!
Furthermore, because Glycemic index diets are focusing on just this one factor, they are ignoring many other important factors when it comes to weight loss such as fats, proteins, alcohol and exercise! Because of this your results will most likely be very temporary and many experts recommend throwing these diets into the bucket, they will not work!
What’s most important that is being overlooked completely by low GI diets?
It is extremely advantageous for anyone especially athletes to consume foods high on the Glycemic index after exercise to replenish their body’s storage of glycogen. After all, glycogen is our primary fuel source when it comes to exercise and we need it to be able to break barriers and challenge our body to get stronger and therefore leaner and more muscular.
Can I take away anything good from Glycemic Index diets?
Yes! Their downfall is focusing too much on one thing alone. Learn from this mistake and think of the bigger picture. Yes you need to focus on foods that involve whole grains, whole fruits, vegetables and lean meats with healthy fats, but you also need to be sensible about your overall diet and exercise plan. This is something I speak about in great length in my ebook Secrets of the Ripped Man – the overall picture is what will give you your greatest success in staying lean and healthy.
Have you experimented with foods that are low/high on the Glycemic Index? Please leave a comment of your results…