At the core of the low-glycemic diet is the dieterâ€™s best friend, the Glycemic Index. â€œThe glycemic index, or glycemic index, (GI) provides a measure of how quickly blood sugar levels (i.e. levels of glucose in the blood) rise after eating a particular type of food.â€
Different foods have varying effects on the bodyâ€™s blood sugar level. In terms of the glycemic index, foods are evaluated with a high, medium or low level. The index measures the amount of available carbohydrates, which is calculated by considering the total carbohydrate value and deducting the fiber.
Scientists have long known that carbohydrates increase sugar levels in the blood. Sugar in the blood is called glucose, an important source of energy.
Weight Watchers say that, â€œA practical limitation of the glycemic index is that it does not take into account the amount of carbohydrate actually consumed. A related measure, the glycemic load, factors this in by multiplying the glycemic index of the food in question by the carbohydrate content of the actual serving.â€
The glycemic diet is not a traditional weight loss diet because subscribers can eat just about anything as long as the meals are balanced in terms of glycemic content. Thus, the importance of the index and knowing the glycemic ratings of foods that the individual consumes.
Once the dieter understands the glycemic values of food, the next step is to develop solid meal planning skills. Meals should contain protein, vegetables and starch.
Popular sources of protein are:
- Lean red meats
- Soy products
There are a numbers of leafy green vegetables that are popular:
- Romaine Lettuce
- Brussels Sprouts
- Many others
Popular starches are:
For maximum benefit, meals can be accompanied by fruits and a glass of milk. It is important to know that the glycemic index only evaluates the glycemic ratings of the carbohydrates that are digested. This means that only starches, vegetables, milk and fruits have glycemic values. These are the foods that affect the blood sugar reading.
In terms of the glycemic index, there are three measures:
- Low glycemic index â€“ a reading of 55 or less.
- Medium glycemic index â€“ a reading between 56 and 69
- High glycemic index â€“ a reading of more than 70
The glycemic index has a total range of 0 to 100. High glycemic foods are not necessarily unhealthy. Likewise, low glycemic foods can be unhealthy. The important thing with the glycemic diet is understanding the values of the carbohydrates you consume.
Please observe the glycemic values of these popular foods.
Food – GlycemicÂ Index # – Measurement
- Peanut M&Mâ€™s – 33 – Low
- Snickers bar – 43 – Low
- Brown rice – 48 – Low
- Whole-wheat bread – 52 – Low
- Basmati white rice – 57 – Medium
- Spaghetti – 58 – Medium
- Plain bagel – 69 – Medium
- Watermelon – 72 – High
- Jasmine rice – 89 – High
- Baked potato – 98 – High
Surprised to see watermelon and baked potato with the same rating? This highlights the need to know the values of the carbohydrates used in your regular diet. Baked potatoes and watermelons both contain numerous vitamins, minerals and a good deal of fiber.
Complying with a low glycemic diet mandates a pretty good understanding of proper portions. Given that the goal is a balanced approach, dieters must be careful with portion sizes. Eating large portions generally increases the glycemic load.
The dieterâ€™s caloric intake for a specific day can be reliably determined by the size of the portions. If the meal contains a low glycemic value, it will not be affected appreciable if you consume more than planned. However, medium glycemic loads can rise appreciably by eating larger portions. The same is true for high glycemic portions.
The beauty of this diet is that the dieter controls their consumption and can quantifiably relate to a healthy portion and meal. Before committing to the glycemic diet, you should do a few test days to become accustomed to proper portions and preparation.