Wednesday, 6 July 2011

What is a Low Glycemic Index Diet?

Low Glycemic Diets Control Blood Sugar - Grace Victoria/Fotolia
Low Glycemic Diets Control Blood Sugar - Grace Victoria/Fotolia
New research suggests a low glycemic index diet may be best for weight maintenance, but what is a low glycemic index diet?
Study results recently published in The New England Journal of Medicine suggests those who follow a high-protein, low-glycemic index diet may have an easier time keeping weight off than those who don’t. The glycemic index is a ranking system that measures how carbohydrates affect blood glucose levels. High glycemic foods raise blood sugar quickly while low glycemic foods take longer to digest and have less of an impact on blood sugar levels.

Low Glycemic Index Diet Basics

Low glycemic index foods release sugar slowly into the bloodstream, providing a steady supply of energy without spikes in insulin. Following a low glycemic index diet means eating foods that rank low on the glycemic index and avoiding foods or eating in moderate amounts those foods which rank high. Low glycemic foods have a GI rank of 55 or less. Examples of low glycemic foods are oats, low-fat dairy, legumes, and certain fruits and vegetables. High glycemic foods are those that raise blood sugar levels quickly such as potatoes, white rice, and white bread.

Benefits of a Low Glycemic Index Diet

In addition to aiding weight maintenance, proponents of low GI diets suggest that following such a diet helps control diabetes, since low GI dieters typically have lower blood glucose and insulin levels. Research suggests that this diet may also reduce the risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes and colon and prostate cancers. An added benefit of the diet is that all of the foods needed for a low glycemic index diet are readily available at any supermarket.
Diabetic Diet & Meals Free Diabetic Recipes > Breakfast, Lunch - Snack - Dinner - Dessert.
Glycemic Index and Load Easy to read food tables with key nutritional data to improve health.

Disadvantages of a Low Glycemic Index Diet

Although a low glycemic index diet may aid weight loss and make it easy to maintain weight once it’s lost, it can also be hard to follow. Foods are measured individually without consideration of how they are prepared, when they are eaten or what other food the ranked food is combined with. Also, food labels do not contain glycemic index information, so purchasing prepackaged foods that are ranked low on the glycemic index is difficult. Certain vegetables, which provide the body with essential nutrients, are prohibited on the diet.
As with any new diet plan, if you are considering a low glycemic index diet, consult a physician or a nutritionist to determine if this diet is right for you.
Iowa State University. (n.d.). “Using the Glycemic Index to Compare Carbohydrates.” Accessed November 28, 2010 from
Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2009 Nov 24). “Glycemic Index Diet: Losing Weight with Blood Sugar Control.” Accessed November 28, 2010 from
The University of Sydney. (n.d.). “What is the Glycemic Index?” Accessed November 28, 2010 from

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