In modern life, literally everything has changed, except for the functioning of our stomach. The digestive system of a modern person has got into a real time trouble. It has to adjust right on the move, adapt to the new nature of nutrition, which has undergone drastic changes.
To saturate, we no longer have to run around in search of some edible fruit or to hunt animals. We have at our disposal the richest assortment of various food products, which tease us with inviting fragrances and appetizing appearance from the shelves of any supermarket.
- We switched mainly to high-calorie food that is easily digested,
- We stopped expending much energy to find food and keep warm.
It was for these reasons that our distant ancestors needed food. They hunted and caught fish, gathered fruits, edible roots, herbs and nuts, alternately experiencing periods of hunger and satiety.
With an abundance of food, the body of primitive man accumulated energy reserves in the form of fat, which then was used economically during the inevitably coming heavy and hungry times.
Insulin was acting as the main vigilant custodian and watchdog of energy reserves. At first, it promoted the creation of untouchable stocks for a rainy day, and then did not allow the body to spend them ahead of time.
The main problem of the diet of a modern human being is that we eat too many processed foods. We understand that desserts contain a lot of sugar. But cunning producers and advertisers hide the fact that most other products are not much more useful to us, than the sweets are.
A high sugar content and low amount of fiber and nutrients is characteristic for such products, as:
- many cereals,
- potatoes and pasta,
- fruit juices,
- carbonated drinks,
- almost every product that is labeled “low-fat” or “fat-free”.
When we eat these processed and packaged foods regularly, we force our body to work on wear and tear, constantly processing unnecessary sugar.
The term “glycemic index” exists in the science of nutrition for almost 30 years already. The concept of the glycemic index (GI) was introduced into practice by doctors, who were helping the diabetic patients.
The fact is that carbohydrate food changes the level of sugar in the blood in different ways. Some products raise it significantly, others – to a medium extent, others – very little. This ability was called the glycemic index (GI). For the reference, doctors took the glycemic index of glucose or white bread, which is equal to 100.
- GI of 70 and above is high,
- GI in the range of 56 to 69 is medium,
- GI of 55 and lower is low.
Products with a high glycemic index cause a rapid and significant jump in the level of glucose, while any unused glucose surplus is deposited in our body as fat. As a result, the pancreas has to produce too much insulin, which almost inevitably leads to an excessive drop in the glucose level, and you feel hunger again very soon.
Products with a low glycemic index slowly supply our body with glucose, so that insulin is produced in a gradual manner. You remain fed much longer, which allows the body to use fat for energy production, rather than glucose. The smaller the glycemic index of foods, the better, if you want to lose weight.
It is not difficult at all to find out the glycemic indexes of products. You can find them:
- in any diabetic reference book,
- on diabetic websites in the global network.
The problem is that different sources can give different numbers. After all, the glycemic index is influenced by a number of factors:
- content of the fiber in a product,
- cooking method (the GI of the baked potato is higher than that of the boiled),
ripeness (for fruit),
- duration of the product cooking (GI of the overcooked pasta is higher than that of boiled to a normal condition),
- type of food processing (the glycemic index of some varieties of white bread may be lower due to the use of coarse flour).
The higher the glycemic index, the faster the food turns into glucose in the blood. The scale was initially developed for people with diabetes. Today through the diet of people has changed so much that everyone gets too many sugars from food, including the hidden ones. Excess weight becomes a widespread problem. And this is a serious reason to pay attention to the glycemic index of products.
Of course, if you eat only whole natural products and do not have diabetes, you don’t really have to think about the glycemic index. However, this is hardly the case. Here’s just one example:
- banana chips, which are positioned as a natural product, are in fact a true evil.
When you eat a raw banana, sugar is supplied into your body together with fibers that slow down the digestion and increase the blood sugar content. However, processing destroys these fibers, and sugar level rises instantaneously. Along with the fiber, the processing usually removes most of the vitamins and minerals.
Low glycemic index
- coarse flour, cereal bread, bran bread and pastry, cereals of unrefined grain, “wild” rice, apples, pears, plums
High glycemic index
- high-grade flour, refined grain cereals (except for steamed rice), cookies and crackers, cakes and buns, potatoes, and white rice, bananas, mangoes
However, in the pursuit of a low glycemic index, do not forget that there are products with a low glycemic index, but with a high fat content. It’s chocolate and most nuts. You should also keep in mind that the glycemic index of the product may vary depending on how we eat it – separately or with other foods.
If the GI of one dish is higher than that of the other, then the one who has a higher GI will “break” the situation to its side. Therefore, especially people who are trying to lose weight are not recommended to have both porridge and omelet for breakfast. The omelet should be transferred to the next meal. Better “couple” the porridge with something that has the same low glycemic index, e.g. a piece of whole grain bread.
Culinary delights also raise the glycemic index.
- Working hard to prepare food means to increase its total GI score.
- If you boil and steam your food, don’t do it for too long.
- Better refuse frying in general.
- If you cut the food, then cut it finely.
The index of raw carrots is low, but if you boil and puree it, it will increase significantly. The temperature of the dish also affects the glycemic index. It is higher in hot food, than that of chilled food. This does not mean that you need to eat everything cold. Simply cool the food to a comfortable temperature.
You may already have heard of the GI diet, based on a low glycemic index of foods. Studies of recent years have shown that this diet can become that miracle cure that will help us o cope with excess weight and significantly improve our health.
The main positive aspect of the diet is the health effect, which is observed after some time of compliance with the regime. Indeed, chronic diseases of the endocrine system and the cardiovascular system, which existed earlier, switch to remission.
The GI diet allows consuming almost any product, subject to some restrictions. While observing this diet, you can eat all kinds of food and dishes, complying with just a few fairly simple rules. As a rule, recommendations concern only the food composition. In general, the glycemic index diet is tolerated easily and imperceptibly even by those, who do not like to keep to any “prohibitions”.
Here are a few basic rules of the GI diet:
- Do not forget that one of the important factors is the cooking method.
Products with a low glycemic index will be of little use, if you continue frying them in oil or season with fatty sauces.
- The more fiber a product contains, the lower its glycemic index.
Long-term cooking of products increases this index, and protein products (lean meat, fish, cottage cheese, eggs) in combination with carbohydrates slow the rate of carbohydrates assimilation.
- If you are dying to have something sweet, choose sweets with a low or medium glycemic index and combine them with protein foods and foods rich in fiber.
Though, of course, the sweets that you choose should be fruit, and not bonbons. If you can’t hold anymore, replace milk chocolate, sweets and cookies with dark chocolate.
- Go in for sports and lead an active lifestyle, as this will only bring you closer to better results, and will improve your health and well-being at the same time.
- Eat more often, but in smaller portions.
It is more useful for the body and for the weight loss, when you distribute the entire daily calorie rate evenly for 5-6 meals. Of course, the portions will be smaller. It is also beneficial through the fact that you will not raise your blood sugar level as much as you do, when having two meals a day. This means that your body will produce less insulin, which, with an excess of calories, will carry excess energy into the necessary and unnecessary places.
- The glycemic index diet prohibits industrially produced semi-finished products, refined foods, sweets and baked goods, because they often contain much more carbohydrates, than you might think.
Therefore, you should give preference to natural products. To improve the taste of food, you can add herbs and natural spices. Sweet tooths can be recommended to use cinnamon and vanilla in their diet menu. These spices add an extra flavor to desserts, cereals and other dishes without adding too much sugar.
- While controlling the glycemic index, do not forget about such an important factor as the number of calories!
For example, nuts are foods with a low glycemic index, but they are very, very high in calories. Having eaten three handfuls of hazelnut, you will not increase the glucose level significantly, but you will get a ton of calories, so stay within the normal values in your nutrition and watch out for high-fat foods!
Does this weight loss diet have any advantages over other slimming diets? The main disadvantage of many diets is that foods that contain nutritious and healthy substances are excluded from the menu. This diet offers you a variety of healthy foods that will only strengthen your health.
- Naturally, everyone who wants to lose weight wants to know “how effective is the GI diet?” Its effectiveness is confirmed by numerous studies that have proved that a diet based on products with a low glycemic index is more nutritious than others are.
- In addition to the fact that there is no sudden release of insulin into the blood, products with a low glycemic index remain in the digestive tract for a long time and reach the small intestine, where the main hormones that suppress appetite are produced.
- Even though with a decrease in consumed calories, the metabolism usually slows down, the GI diet minimizes this undesirable effect. If the blood glucose level remains constant, the body does not send signals of hunger. Consequently, it will not slow down the metabolism in an attempt to save every single calorie.
Nevertheless, you need to approach everything in a wise way. Do not rely only on the glycemic index of products. Good examples of foods that have a low glycemic index, but aren’t the best choice for fighting excess weight, are:
- potato chips,
Either way, you need to consider the number of calories and evaluate the nutritional properties of foods in your menu. Therefore, you can consume these products, but occasionally. And do not avoid useful foods with a high glycemic index, like:
They contain a small amount of carbohydrates, so when you consume them with other products, it does not greatly affect the glucose level.
If you are trying to lose weight, maintain a normal weight, keep and increase your health or suffer from diabetes, you should prefer products with a low glycemic index, and consume them correctly.
Of course, it is hardly possible to completely avoid products with a high glycemic index, and you actually don’t have to do this. However, it is important to alternate their consumption:
- for breakfast, better have a product with a higher glycemic index,
- for dinner, better choose foods with the lowest glycemic index.
Based on all of the above, you can create your own menu of products with a low glycemic index, reduce the portions that you need to feel satiated, improve your health and your figure!