The Glycemic Index and Dieting
The field of nutrition is awash with charts, tables, diagrams, models, acronyms, and abbreviations; more than the average person can memorize. As such, one often comes across someone who has simply burnt out trying to keep track of how much to eat, when to eat it, how to find the calories from fat, the RDI, the DV, and so on. There is an overkill of useful information within the nutrition field, and it can ironically provoke one to grow weary and exhausted, tune out, and go grab a fast food burger.
Yet every once in a while, a concept within the nutrition field emerges that truly demands attention. Over a decade ago, the USDA's "Food Pyramid" was one such concept because it helped eaters discover how many gaps existed in their typical daily diet. Now, as the Food Pyramid begins to take a new shape, and as the nutrition field works to establishes itself as the most important branch of health care in the 21st century, an invention called the Glycemic Index is taking center stage.
The Glycemic Index (GI) is not new; it has been around for more than 2 decades. Yet until recently, its exposure beyond the world of diabetes has been limited [i].
The Glycemic Index indicates how "high" or "low" blood sugar levels change in response to carbohydrate intake. A "high" Glycemic Index indicates carbohydrates with a swift breakdown, whereas a "low" Glycemic Index indicates carbohydrates with slow, gradual breakdown. Both terms are of equal importance to diabetics, because there are times with high Glycemic Index foods are required, and times where low Glycemic Index foods are required.
Indeed, the Glycemic Index itself is not new, but its application far beyond the borders of a diabetic dialogue is notable; especially for dieters.
People striving to lose weight often face a nemesis much tougher than establishing an exercise regimen or introducing healthier foods into their diet. The problem is one of energy. Many dieters are surprised - and disturbed - to learn that their diet program is causing them to lose more than inches and pounds: they are losing energy.
This is often expressed as a complaint, as in "I'm feeling weak", or even "I can't stay awake". Many dieters and those advising them have erroneously chalked this up to a matter of attitude, or will power, or some non-biological cause.
The plain truth is that many dieters have been oblivious to the Glycemic Index, and hence, to the fact that many of the diet foods they have eaten - or are eating right now - score very high Glycemic Index levels. As such, these foods are providing a quick boost to blood sugar levels, and then setting up the dieter for the inevitable fall. This is because high GI foods typically increase blood sugar values, which in turn trigger the hormone insulin to clear sugar from the blood. Since blood sugar (a.k.a. glucose) largely dictates the body's energy levels, it stands to reason that this process manifests as an initial boost in energy, and then as a depletion of energy. This rise and fall of blood sugar - and energy - is often described by dieters using a "roller-coaster" analogy: one minute they feel confident and strong, and the next, they are about to pass out and require some kind of stimulant in order to make it through the day.
Regrettably for many dieters, that stimulant is usually more high Glycemic Index foods, such as sugary snacks or soft drinks. It is easy to see how this experience can lead an individual to stop dieting. After all, before the diet, the individual was merely gaining weight. On the diet, the individual is gaining weight and is exhausted for most of the day. It is better to quit the diet.
The above scenario only takes place, however, when a dieter unwittingly eats high Glycemic Index foods. Research has shown that low Glycemic Index foods, which raise blood sugar levels much more gradually than high Glycemic Index foods, are very helpful for dieters [ii]. This is because a dieter will experience less of a "roller-coaster" ride while on the diet, and furthermore, will be less inclined to snack because energy in the form of blood glucose is being released slowly and gradually. Low Glycemic Index foods are much more efficient sources of energy than high Glycemic Index foods, because the body needs less insulin to convert food into energy [iii].
Despite the growing awareness that low Glycemic Index foods are beneficial, the world of diet foods has not kept pace. This is because many manufacturers are searching frantically to find low Glycemic Index carbohydrates sources for their products, and overlooking a basic, simple fact: the lowest possibly Glycemic Index is no carbohydrates at all.
These zero-carbohydrate/zero sugar nutritional supplements - which are quite rare in the market - do not deliver any sugar to the bloodstream. As a result, dieters do not have to worry about riding the "roller coaster" of energy spikes and pitfalls.
Yet there is an even greater benefit for dieters who choose a 'zero sugar' nutritional supplement. If that low Glycemic Index nutritional supplement is rich in complete protein, then it will act as a sort of antidote to high GI foods by helping to combat their adverse consequences.
For example, a dieter who eats a high Glycemic Index candy car can mitigate the roller-coaster spike in blood sugar levels by eating a nutritional supplement that has very low Glycemic Index and has a rich source of complete protein. This is because the protein in the nutritional supplement mixes with the high Glycemic Index of the candy bar, and effectively lowers the overall Glycemic Index. This is welcome news to dieters who would otherwise be seeing those extra carbohydrates transformed by insulin into triglycerides, and stored in adipose tissue; also known as body fat.
Currently, only a handful of nutritional supplements are designed to offer zero carbohydrates and thus score as low as possible on the Glycemic Index. And of these zero-carbohydrate products, even fewer offer a rich source of complete protein that effectively helps counter the blood sugar spike impact of high Glycemic Index foods.
It is inspiring to note that Glycemic Index is getting some well-deserved attention from outside the diabetic community, where it has helped millions of people eat wisely. Now, dieters and obese people can enjoy the wisdom that this index promotes.
Founded in 2001, Protica, Inc. is a nutritional research firm with offices in Lafayette Hill and Conshohocken, Pennsylvania. Protica manufactures capsulized foods, including Profect, a compact, hypoallergenic, ready-to-drink protein beverage containing zero carbohydrates and zero fat. Information on Protica is available at http://www.protica.com
You can also learn about Profect at http://www.profect.com
[i] Source: "The G.I. Diet: A Food Drill". CBS News. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/03/04/earlyshow/living/main604138.shtml
[ii] Source: "The Glycemic Index". The Healthy Weight Forum. http://www.healthyweightforum.org/eng/articles/glycemic-index/
[iii] Source "Glycemic Index". WebMD. http://my.webmd.com/hw/health_guide_atoz/uq2846.asp
Copyright 2004 - Protica Research - http://www.protica.com
Set Your Fat Thermostat at a Healthy Level
Have you ever watched someone who appears thin and healthyeating a piece of chocolate cake and wondered how they staythin? Part of the reason is that they have a set-point intheir brain that keeps their body fat and weight fromvarying~ that is, until they do something that causes thebrain to change its settings for weight control.That's what happened to me when I quit smoking.
Constipation is the passing of dry, hard faeces fewer than three times a week. Individuals who have constipation may find it painful and difficult to have a bowel movement, also other symptoms include feeling sluggishness, bloated and uncomfortable.
Discover Which Fruit and Vegetables Help Relieve Arthritic Pain
If you or someone you know suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, youknow how painful and debilitating it can be. If you haven'twalked a mile in those shoes, you can't imagine how frustratingit can be.
Five Steps to a Healthier Heart
Step 1: Eat five to ten servings per day of fresh fruits and vegetables.Studies have shown that populations that eat large amounts of fruits and vegetables have half the cardiovascular disease rate of those that don't.
Fruitceuticals - The Evolution of Fruit
Since the beginning of time, everyday fruits have been known to help maintain a healthy body. The popular "5-A-Day for Better Health" is a national program encouraging Americans to increase their daily servings of fruit and vegetables to five or more per day.
Reverse Disease and Maintain Optimal Health
PROTEIN DEFICIENT? CHANCES ARE YOU ARE!Did you know that 9 out of 10 people lack the proper amount of protein in their systems in order for their bodies to function properly? Contrary to popular belief, a sufficient intake of protein in the diet does not ensure that the body is getting what it needs. The trouble stems from the body's inability to properly digest dietary protein and manufacture systemic proteins which keep our bodies intact.
Compulsive Eating Alternative: Learning to Eat With Pleasure
Do you allow pleasure from food? Are your senses throughly engaged as you eat? Do you fuel your aliveness with each meal or eat to deaden and numb out? Do you eat foods that taste good in your mouth and feel good in your physical body - both now and later?Imagine eating in a manner that is passionate and filled with the pleasure of being alive. What exactly would pleasurable eating look like? It would vary by individual, and perhaps even by meal.
Learn About Food Nutrition Facts
Food nutrition factsFinding food nutrition facts and dietary nutrition used to be almost impossible because of the mountains of facts scattered all about in libraries and books. Lets face it most of us aren't going to cuddle up to a book on vitamins and minerals.
Why You Should Eat Lentil Soup at Least Once a Week
If you're looking for a power-packed entrée or soup to spice up your life, look no further than the lowly lentil. Perhaps there was a reason why that lentil pottage was so tempting in the biblical story of Jacob and Esau.
Best Skin Diet For Healthy Skin
"You are what you eat."Does it sound familiar? You probably have heard of it.
You Are What You Eat
You really are what you eat. You are also very much affected by the lifestyle you live.
Are You Lactose Intolerant?
Do you know anyone who can't consume milk or milk-based products? The condition is not uncommon and these people are classified as lactose intolerant.Lactose is the main carbohydrate or sugar found in milk, and in varying quantities in dairy products made from milk including yoghurt, ice cream, soft cheeses and butter.
Ever Hear of This Fruit?
I want to tell you about the most healthful and most delicious tropical fruit that you'd ever want to taste. It's called the mangosteen, and the reason you've probably never heard of it is because you can't buy it in the United States.
Not all Fats are Bad
Fats have been unfairly lumped together as being all bad for too long. Fat doesn't necessarily cause disease, and can actually cause a role in its prevention.
A Healthy Diet Means Avoiding Trans-Fat as well as Saturated Fat
We all need fat in our diet on a daily basis. However, not all fats are created equal - there are healthy fats and unhealthy fats.
Enjoy The Holidays Healthfully
How To Have A Healthy ThanksgivingEnd of the year holidays are a time when our eyes are often bigger than our stomach! Many of us wonder how we will get through them without gaining 5 or 10 pounds. So how can you feel great after parties and meals instead of overstuffed and uncomfortable?Your stomach cannot miraculously hold more food just because it's the holidays.
The Cost Of Being Sick And One Possible Alternative: Glyconutrition
A lot of people I've talked with about health supplements usually are coming from about the same place - you know: "been there, done that." People are tired of hearing about the latest and greatest and - for the most part - figure that all supplements are pretty much the same.
Enzymes and Raw Food - Can You Cheat Time and Stay Young for Longer?
I'm going to be a bit radical here, but know that I'm only encouraging you to question and think and ideally do your own research, both theory and practice. I'm pretty confident that you'll thank me for it.
The Dangers of Honey
Before we get to honey we have a question from one of our readers.Pam asks:What is your opinion of Splenda?Answer:Splenda is made by chlorinating sugar (sucrose).
Train Your Self To Eat Healthy
For some people it is really hard to give up the junk food and sweets and eat a better, more nutritious diet. So let's use the example of eating the 5 to 9 fruits and vegetables we need daily.