The Glycemic Index & Weight Loss
The glycemic index (GI) is a dietary measurement system which can help us measure how quickly our blood sugar rises after eating a carb-rich food. The higher the glycemic index value of a food, the more quickly it gets broken down in the body, and the faster the rise in blood sugar.
Does the Glycemic Index Help Weight Loss
Although useful, the glycemic index is not a perfect foundation for a weight loss diet, no matter how valuable it is for determining food-conversion into blood sugar. For instance:
1. The Glycemic Index Ignores Calories
The main drawback with GI diet-theories is that the glycemic index does not take into account calories - still the most important element in weight control. For example, if you consume foods according to the GI theory, carrots and ripe bananas - both nutritious and low in calories - would be banned from the diet because they have high GI values, yet ice cream and chocolate would get the green light, because they have low GI values. (According to the glycemic index even jellybeans are better than potatoes.)
2. The Glycemic Index Ignores Portion Size
The glycemic index of a food bears no relation to portion size. So if you chose spaghetti (43), because it has a lower GI than baked potatoes (93) - and ate large quantities of it, you would gain weight. See also Glycemic Load
3. The Glycemic Index Ignores Food Combinations
We don't often eat single foods - we eat combinations or meals. But the glycemic index only ranks single-foods. So it's not a very accurate guide to the blood-sugar-effects of a meal.
Glycemic Index and Weight Loss - Summary
Don't judge a food solely by it's glycemic index rating. GI cannot tell you everything you need to know about the weight control benefits of a particular food. The best way to control your weight and blood sugar is to eat lots of fiber-rich foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, along with small amounts of healthy fats, such as nuts and olive oil. Also, watch your calories (eg. portion sizes). No matter what the food, if your portions are too generous, chances are you'll gain weight, whether you're eating low or high GI foods.
Related Glycemic Index Links
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