Glycemic Index and Obesity
Blood Sugar Levels Help Control Hunger
One mechanism which controls hunger is the level of sugar/glucose in our blood. When our blood glucose level falls below normal, we feel hungry. Then, as we eat and as our food is digested, carbohydrate in the food is converted into glucose and enters our bloodstream. As our blood glucose levels rise, signals are sent to the pancreas which responds by secreting insulin. This insulin mops up the excess blood glucose and when once more our blood glucose levels fall below normal, the process is repeated.
How Glycemic Index or Glycemic Load Affects Hunger & Obesity
High glycemic diets can cause excessive calorie-intake and obesity. For example, if we eat a high glycemic food or a high glycemic load meal, which by definition triggers a rapid rise in our blood sugar levels, our pancreas is over-stimulated and releases a much larger amount of insulin. Result? This large quantity of insulin rapidly mops up the excess sugar in our bloodstream causing our blood sugar levels to dip quickly below normal, causing us to feel hungry once more. So even though we may have eaten a high calorie meal, we are induced to feel hungry and eat again within a comparitively short time. This process may lead to excessive calorie intake and weight gain, possibly causing obesity.
Glycemic Index and Obesity - Confirmed by Studies
Most published studies of low glycemic diets show that consumption of low-glycemic index foods delays the return of hunger, decreased subsequent food and calorie intake. Compared to high glycemic index diets, low GI diets increase satiety. The results of several small short-term trials (up to 4 months) suggest that low-glycemic load diets result in significantly more weight or fat loss than high-glycemic load diets. While few long-term randomized controlled trials of low-glycemic load diets have been published, the results of short-term studies on appetite regulation and weight loss suggest that low glycemic-load diets may be useful in promoting long-term weight loss and decreasing the prevalence of obesity.
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