Understanding the Low Glycemic Diet

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The Low Glycemic Diet, better known as the Glycemic Index Diet, is an effective way to achieve sustainable weight loss. The low glycemic diet depends on your body’s metabolic rate and the types of food which you consume to aid weight loss at a steady, sensible pace.

Foods with a low glycemic index are foods that are low in carbohydrates or contain very complex carbs, carbs that are difficult to digest. Carbohydrates are an essential nutrient that your body needs to provide energy. However, too many carbohydrates can lead to obesity. Examples of foods that are high in carbohydrates (high glycemic foods) include rice, bread, cake and similar baked goods. Normally, foods with high glycemic diet index are starchy and sweet. High glycemic foods can make your blood sugar spike quickly.

The glycemic food index categorizes foods into three groups:

High glycemic foods – Sugar, white potatoes, watermelon, most breakfast cereals, candy, cookies, cakes and sweet drinks.

Medium glycemic foods – Include white rice and orange fleshed sweet potatoes, fresh orange juice, honey, basmati rice and wholemeal breads.

Low glycemic foods – Include 100% stone-ground whole wheat or pumpernickel bread, rolled or steel-cut oatmeal, oat bran, muesli, barley, bulgar, legumes and lentils and most fruits, non-starchy vegetables and carrots.

Weight loss is best achieved by avoiding high glycemic foods which the body absorbs and burns very quickly causing a spike in your blood sugar level and instant energy often making you wanting to eat again in a very short space of time. This may be beneficial for athletes who need quick energy but under normal circumstances it is best avoided, especially so if you have diabetes where a spike in blood sugar can be dangerous.

By choosing low glycemic foods, the entire digestive process is slowed down. Low glycemic foods are often referred to as slow release foods. Your body takes longer to break these foods down and convert them to energy thus giving a longer lasting and more sustainable energy source. This in turn will give you a much longer feeling of satisfaction and discourage snacking.

As an example, if you have a bowl of oatmeal with fruit for breakfast you are far more likely to make it through to lunch without needing a mid-morning snack. If you have a bowl of frosted corn flakes, by 10am you will be reaching for a snack.

On a low glycemic diet you can enjoy foods from all groups without feeling hungry. Foods which fall into the high glycemic group can often be easily substituted for foods in either the medium or low glycemic groups. Changing your diet slowly will help change your lifestyle to a more healthy one.

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