By Laurel-Lea Shannon
Many diets encourage counting calories, because they treat all calories as equal. To lose weight they recommend eating low calorie foods. Low calorie foods usually translates into low fat foods. What’s the problem with this? All calories are not equal and the low fat, high carb diet that’s been touted by the medical establishment for the past 30 years is making many people fat and ill. What researchers are now discovering is that what matters more than calories is the Glycemic Index of food. Foods that cause your blood sugar to rise and fall rapidly tend to do four things:
- The glucose from these foods that isn’t quickly used through exercise is rapidly stored as fat.
- They cause spikes in insulin secretion that interferes with your body’s conversion of fat into energy. Eventually this can lead to insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes.
- They create cravings for more refined foods that will give you a quick sugar fix.
- They make you hungry.
The Glycemic Index rates carbs as either high, medium or low GI, depending on how they affect your blood sugar and insulin levels. Replacing high-GI foods, like white bread, pasta, potatoes and sugar-laden processed foods, with more low-to medium-GI carbohydrates, found in real food like vegetables, fruits, oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, and beans can help you lose weight. These foods are digested more slowly, keeping your blood sugar steady, and helping you to feel full longer.
Switching to a low-GI diet is easy. Instead of eating processed cereals for breakfast, choose oats, granola, or some other natural whole grain cereal such as kasha. Throughout the day, reduce the amount of “white” products you eat, such as bread, bagels and potatoes. At lunch and dinner, eat lots of vegetables. They are low GI and are loaded with vitamins and minerals. Your dinner plate should consist of 50-55% vegetables.
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