GI – all carbs are not the same!

GI – what does it have to do with me losing weight?

GI stands for “Glycemic Index” and is a measurement of how the blood glucose curve rises after eating food containing carbohydrates. When the blood glucose curve raises the body reacts by secreting insulin which makes you hungry, tired and fat (read more here about insulin).

Different dishes increase the blood glucose at different speeds, the faster the increase, the more insulin is produced, which is bad for your shape and health in general. If you eat food with low GI your blood glucose curve will be flatter, making you stay full longer and less of the fat you eat will be stored on your body.

So, lentils are better than sugar. But the amount must also be taken into consideration – huge amounts of lentils raise the blood sugar more than a tiny bit of sugar. The combined effect of amount and GI is called the “Glycemic Load” (GL = amount * GI). A lower glycemic load leads to lower insulin, and when the insulin stays low, you loose weight.

GI is a good choice if you……

  • Suffer from sugar cravings and feel sleepy after a meal
  • Want to lose weight long-term while still being able to eat tasty meals
  • Have problems with cardiovascular diseases or diabetes
  • Want to eat more healthily in general

How do you use GI to lose weight?

The GI philosophy is a way to lose weight that truly works and compared to many other diet plans, GI is easy to start with and continue with in the long-run. Since your blood glucose curve becomes flatter you’re not particularly hungry even if reducing the size of the portions. More of the fat you eat will go straight through the body without being stored or burnt – yes, that’s a fact!

You don’t have to change your diet radically, only start with smaller changes. For example, eat wholemeal bread, wholewheat pasta, brown rice and bulgur instead of the white versions. Also remember to eat either fat or carbohydrates at the same meal and swap the potato for vegetables.

If you feel you have a lot of weight to lose and want to follow the GI concept, there are several ways to go:

1. GI diets

There are many diets that are based on the idea of GI. Even though the logic behind them is the same, the differences can be quite big. Read up on the methods and try and figure out which would suit you the best before you start:

The GI diet – Strict enough and works well.
The Montignac diet – Based on the idea that you choose what type of meal to have. You either eat a GI meal: fat-rich (and low in carbohydrates), or a meal rich in carbohydrates but low in fat. In this diet you also remove the saturated fat from the food, such as cream and butter.
The South Beach Diet – A diet in different phases. Starts off strictly and then step by step moves over to becoming a rather easy-going GI diet.

If you take GI one step further and cut down greatly on the amount of carbohydrates, you enter into the more strict (and usually more efficient) low-carb diets, for example the Atkins diet. They are based on the body using fat instead of carbohydrates to function, a process called “ketosis“. Here you eliminate most carbohydrates from you diet, also those with a low GI, and replace them with vegetables.

A lot of the GI diets start of strictly with ketosis in the same way as Atkins, but after a few weeks switch to a more gentle GI concept, where low-GI carbs are allowed. The body then switches back from ketosis to normal metabolism.

The biggest difference between GI diets and low-carbohydrate diets is that with GI diets the body is running on carbohydrates but in the low-carbohydrate diets the body is running on fat, i.e (ketosis). GI diets are generally much easier to follow than low-carb diets, which are much stricter.

2. Food supplements lowering the GI level of the food

Two kinds of food supplements that lower the GI of the food. This is possible since they block different enzymes and make it harder for the body to process the carbohydrates in the food.

PhaseLite – white kidney beans inhibits the enzyme alpha-amylase and therefore lowers the blood glucose levels.
Chlorogenic acid inhibits the body’s uptake of glucose and therefore leads to a lower blood glucose level.

3. Diet pills for people following the GI diet

There are a number of diet pills that in different ways flatten the blood glucose curve and therefore give the same effect as if you had eaten food with lower GI, for example DEcarb.

4. Weight loss clubs for those looking to lose weight with GI

The GI diet is not hard to follow when you know what is “good” and what is “bad” food, i.e how high the GI of a certain food is. This can however be rather complex; for example, re-heated potatoes have a considerably lower GI than newly cooked potatoes. Therefore a good idea is to join a weight loss club in the internet where you get access to menus, carb counters and many other tools as well as contact with like-minded people to get tips and advice. Have a look at Tescodiets.com to see if it could be something for you.

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