You may have heard of this diet approach before (especially if you’re diabetic) or maybe you’re just hearing about it now. Truth is more and more doctors and nutritionists are getting on board and recommending a low glycemic diet as a way for people to control and lose weight. Why is that and how can low glycemic foods help you lose weight? Here’s the skinny on this topic.
Firstly, all foods are put into a hierarchy (the glycemic index) based on how quickly they digest in our system and, in turn, how much they cause our blood sugar levels to rise. Rising blood sugars are not typically good for diabetics because they lack the insulin supply to break down the glucose which left untreated can cause certain serious health conditions for them, such as heart, kidney, eye, and nerve-related dysfunction. For the non-diabetic person, high glucose levels can cause an undesired result — an increased appetite which can spur on excessive bouts of eating. To keep one’s blood sugar level down, it’s recommended that people eat low glycemic foods as a regular part of their daily diet.
Secondly, to take part in the low glycemic diet one needs to understand what foods fall into that category. There is an available list that you can readily get via the internet from various websites for free. Although not a complete or extremely large list, one can get an idea of the types of foods one should eat less of and which to add into their diet. For example, foods that are denser, that contain more fiber, and which are fat or oil based are low glycemic. So following this reasoning some of the foods that would be good to add to one’s diet are celery (which is extremely fibrous), sweet potatoes (more fibrous than a white potato), and nuts. Although fats are low glycemic, again, it’s not recommended that you eat large portions of fat due to the known consequences. Also, highly processed foods, such as many white breads, are discouraged because of the way in which some of their fibrous elements (and nutritional value) have been stripped off of them in the milling process.
It’s important that when one pursues a change in their eating lifestyle that they try to entertain a sense of balance and a sense of portion control. Using common sense, one should not eat sweet potatoes all the time or only protein (which is allowable under this approach). Low glycemic foods are not meant to replace every food that you eat throughout the day, but rather as a way to transition from meal to meal, and to suppress hunger. If one is starving – a dense carrot (although not the food of choice for many) will satisfy that hunger pain and allow you to make it to your next meal without attacking a whole bag of potato chips.
If you’re looking for a diet approach that will allow you a variety of foods but which will require you to take some accountability for portion control, ask your doctor for more information about the low glycemic diet and see if it’s the right approach for you.