If you have been following new diet developments, likely you have been hearing about glycemic index (GI) and especially about the low glycemic foods for weigh loss. As well, you likely heard that to incorporate low glycemic foods into your diet is an excellent decision not only for weight loss but for your overall health.
Glycemic Index sounds very complicated and many people are not sure what low GI and high GI is all about. Don’t let the terminology confuse you. The low glycemic foods are common and many of them are already a part of your diet. In this article I’ll explain briefly what is GI and provide you with a chart of high (“bad carbohydrates”) and low (“good carbohydrates”) glycemic foods, so that you can make a wise choice when creating your healthy eating plan.
How Can Low Glycemic Foods Boost Your Weight Loss
Glycemic Index (GI) is a method of classifying carbohydrates according to their potential of raising blood glucose levels. Because the body converts different types of carbs into sugar at different rates, the low and high GI values were established to indicate how quickly a particular food affects blood sugar level.
Foods that have low GI cause a slow increase of glucose in bloodstream and a slow and controlled insulin release, which is good for weight loss. On the other hand, foods that have a high GI cause a rapid increase in glucose levels, thus rapid increase in insulin, which is not what you want when weight loss and maintaining good health is your objective.
You can always remember and think of the low GI and high GI foods as the “good carbs” and the “bad carbs”, respectively.
Good Carbohydrates – Low Glycemic Foods
Breakdown and absorption of low GI food is slow, resulting in a slower and gradual release of glucose into the bloodstream. Some of the low glycemic foods are wheat flour, brown and basmati rice, lentils, kidney beans, all vegetables that contain fiber, etc. These low glycemic carbs are excellent foods for weight loss.
Bad Carbohydrates – High Glycemic Foods
High GI food breaks down fast and as a result the glucose level rises rapidly. This results in hyperglycemia. Most of the refined and processed foods fall into this category. Some of these carbs are white sugar, pastries, white flour, white rice, potatoes, etc. Eating these foods will often result in weight gain.
Experimental evidence clearly indicates that low glycemic foods and weight loss are directly proportional.
Recent animal research provides compelling evidence that high-GI carbohydrate is associated with increased risk of obesity. In one study, male rats were split into high and low GI groups over 18 weeks while mean body weight was maintained. Rats fed the high GI diet were 71% fatter and had 8% less lean body mass than the low GI group. ( Source)
These principles have been applied to human diets now and when used correctly, the results are a significant weight loss for anyone who controls the consumption of bad types of carbohydrates .
Dr. Michel Montignac, an expert in the field, published a book called “Eat Yourself Slim” where he discusses this notion, explains the whole principle in detail and provides delicious recipes as well. Should you decide to read this book, I have to warn you that it is written more in a scientific way rather than “general public friendly”. If you think you can handle that, it is worth reading
You really need to learn about the glycemic index of the food you eat. Carbohydrates are an essential macronutrient to sustain life. You simply have to eat them. Although recommendation vary, the general belief is that 55-60% of our daily calorie intake should come from these macronutrients.
Carbs are the most accessible source of energy. One gram of carbohydrates equals 4 calories of energy. If you aim for weight loss, make sure that most of this energy comes from complex carbs. (They are the low glycemic types of foods you need to eat for weight loss). As you will find in the table below most of the complex carbs (unrefined and unprocessed) have a low glycemic index.
It does not matter which diet you will turn to, if you can differentiate between high GI – bad carbs (ones that cause you to gain weight) and low GI – good carbs (ones that play a significant role in loss of weight and fat) and use them in your diet, your weight loss diet will be a success.
Chart Of Glycemic Index Of Carbohydrates*
*adapted from: Eat Yourself Slim by Michel Montignac
The Glycemic Index chart exposes you to the idea of the GI of carbohydrates. As you can see it is a fairly simple chart and if you are on your journey to weight loss, I am sure you will find only a few surprises here, even if you never knew about the GI index. The best low glycemic foods for weight loss are vegetables, legumes and fruits. Any healthy diet would have you incorporate most of these low GI foods already into your meal plans.
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