Glycemic index diet What's behind the claims
A glycemic index diet is a meal plan based on how foods affect the blood sugar level. The glycemic index is nothing but a system of assigning a number to foods that contain carbohydrates based on how much each food raises blood sugar.
Many commercial diets, diet books, and popular diet websites are based on the glycemic index, including Zone Diet, Sugar Busters, and Low Carb Diet.
The goal of a glycemic index (GI) diet is to eat foods that contain carbohydrates that are less likely to increase in blood sugar levels. Diet can be a way to lose weight and prevent obesity-related chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Why should you follow the gastrointestinal diet?
You can choose to follow the GI diet because:
You need help planning and eating healthier meals
Studies suggest that a gastrointestinal diet can help achieve these goals. However, you can get the same health benefits by following a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and getting enough exercise.
The glycemic index
A basic overview of carbohydrates, blood glucose, and gastrointestinal values is helpful in understanding glycemic index diets.
Carbohydrates, or carbohydrates, are a type of nutrient in food. When you eat or drink something with carbohydrates, your body breaks down sugars in glucose, which provides the main source of energy for the body's cells. Fibre passes through the body undigested.
Two main hormones in the pancreas help regulate blood glucose. Insulin moves or regulates glucose from the blood to the cells. The glucagon hormone helps release glucose stored in the liver when the blood sugar level is low. This process helps keep your body maintain a natural blood glucose balance.
Different types of carbohydrate foods have the ability that affects how quickly the body digests them and how quickly glucose enters the bloodstream.
Understanding GI values
There are several research methods for assigning a GI value to foods. The number is based on how much food raises blood glucose levels versus how much pure glucose raises blood glucose. GI values are basically divided into three categories:
Low GI: 1 to 55
Average GI: 56 to 69
High GI: 70 and above
For example, an English muffin which is made with white wheat flour has a GI value of 77. A wholemeal muffin has a GI value of 45.
Limitations of GI values
A limitation of GI values is that they do not reflect the likely amount you would eat of a food. e.g watermelon has a GI value of 80, which would place it in the category of foods to avoid. In other words, you need to eat a lot of watermelons to significantly raise your blood glucose level.
To address this problem, the researchers developed the idea of glycemic load, a value that indicates the change in blood glucose levels when eating a typical portion of food.
The Sydney University GI values table also includes GL values. Values are generally grouped as follows:
Low GL: 1 to 10
Average GL: 11 to 19
High GL: 20 or more
But due to its high-fat content, whole milk isn't the best choice for weight loss or weight control.
The GI value of any food is affected by several factors, which includes how the food is prepared, how it is processed & what other foods are consumed at the same time.
A GI diet prescribes meals mainly based on foods that have low values. Examples of some foods with low, medium, and high GI values include the following:
Low GI: green vegetables, mostly fruits, raw carrots, beans, chickpeas, lentils & bran breakfast cereals
Medium GI: corn, bananas, raw pineapple, raisins, oat and multigrain breakfast cereals, oat bran or rye bread
Commercial GI diets can describe foods as containing slow carbohydrates or fast carbohydrates.
Commercial GI diets have different recommendations for portion size, as well as protein and fat consumption.
Depending on your health goals, studies on the benefits of gastrointestinal diets have produced mixed results.
Other studies show that a low glycemic index diet can also promote weight loss and help maintain weight loss.
Blood glucose control
Based on many researches, for most people with diabetes, the best tool for managing blood sugar is the carb count.
Reviews of studies measuring the impact of low-GI diets on cholesterol have shown fairly strong evidence that such diets can help reduce total cholesterol, as well as low-density lipoproteins (the "bad" cholesterol.), especially when a low glycemic index diet is combined with an increase in dietary fibre.
Foods with low to moderate indexes such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are generally good sources of fibre.
One theory on the effects of a low glycemic index diet is appetite control. The thinking is that high-index food causes a rapid rise in blood sugar, rapid response to insulin, and a subsequent rapid return to the feeling of hunger. Low-glycemic foods, in turn, will delay the feeling of hunger.
Also, if a less-GI diet suppresses appetite, the long-term effect would be that such a diet would result in the long-term in people choosing to eat less and manage their weight better. Long-term clinical research, however, does not demonstrate this effect.
To maintain your weight, you need to burn as many calories as you can. Weight loss is best achieved with a combination of reducing dietary calories and increasing physical activity and exercise.
Selection of foods based on a glycemic index or glycemic load value can help you manage your weight because many foods should be included in a healthy, balanced, low-fat diet with minimally processed foods: wholegrain products, low-fat fruits, vegetables and dairy products: they have low glycemic index values.
For some people, a low-GI commercial diet can provide the direction needed to help them make better choices for a healthy diet plan.