What is the Glycemic Index, how can it help me lose weight?
This is important information – not only for diabetics but also for those interested in losing weight – because foods high on the glycemic index scale tend to give you a “sugar rush.” They cause insulin to be released into your bloodstream to process the sudden rise in blood sugar. Unfortunately, once the blood sugar levels have been normalized, your body then has a tendency to crave more food to boost them again, causing a kind of “yo-yo” approach to eating.
Also, insulin is considered a “fat storage hormone” because it causes sugar to enter the body’s cells more quickly, so that it can be converted to energy, but at the same time causes them to store the excess sugars as glycogen or body fat.
So the glycemic index can be quite useful when trying to lose weight, and a useful complement to other diets. Foods with high GI ratings – white bread, cakes, white rice, baked potatoes, jams, jellies, and many processed breakfast cereals – will trigger this “yo-yo” effect, and leave you craving more food very quickly. These foods also tend to be high in calories. Foods with a GI rating lower than 55 – fruits and vegetables, milk products, high-fiber grains and cereals, beans and lentils, sweet potatoes, and pasta – have the opposite effect. They take longer to be digested, leading to an increased feeling of satiety.
Because these foods are less processed, and because of their high fiber or particle size, they take up more space in your stomach and leave you feeling more satiated and full. As a result, you are less likely to “binge eat.”
Paying attention to the GI ratings of foods has been proven to be a useful adjunct to many famous diet plans. Studies have shown that people on low-GI diets tend to lose more weight and keep it off than those on high-GI diets. One of the most successful commercial diet programs, Nutrisystem®, is largely based on glycemic index research. Whatever the diet program you choose, paying attention to the GI index of the foods you eat can help you make wiser choices.
A diet rich in protein (which does not cause the same glycemic response in the body) and low-GI foods is going to be more likely to succeed.