Is Eating Low Glycemic Right for You?

Eating Low Glycemic

Eating Low Glycemic – Right for You?

I am sure you have heard the buzz about eating low glycemic. Its been on Oprah and  Dr. Oz as well as spurred medical studies. Especially with the high incidence of diabetes in this country which is unfortunately growing fast. We all know that eating healthy and exercising are key, but other factors can affect your weight loss. One of these is a high insulin response. This is where eating low glycemic may pay an an important role in helping you reach your goals.

Eating Low Glycemic

Eating Low Glycemic


Eating Low Glycemic − What is the Glycemic Index?

I am sure you have been wondering! The glycemic index (GI) is a system of ranking foods containing equal amounts of carbohydrate according to how much they raise blood-glucose levels. The scale is from 0 to 100. The higher the number, the more quickly you’ll digest the food and trigger extreme fluctuations in blood sugar. Low scores (55 and lower) mean the food is digested slowly and produces only gradual changes in blood sugar. Foods with a high GI value tend to cause a higher spike in blood sugar, and because high-GI foods are so quickly metabolized, they tend to make you hungry again sooner.

Eating Low Glycemic

Eating Low Glycemic


Eating Low Glycemic − The Science

In a small study conducted several years ago by Ludwig and colleagues, teens were fed a meal that dramatically raised blood sugar levels. These foods included instant oatmeal, bagels, and a number of breakfast cereals—many of the foods we are told are good diet choices— and  they were shown to provoke sharp spikes followed by sudden crashes in blood sugar. Overall, the volunteers in the high-glycemic group described themselves as “very hungry” throughout the day and ended up eating 600 to 700 more calories than those who ate foods that didn’t cause wild blood sugar swings. These teens were eating low glycemic foods like vegetable omelets, low-fat cheese, apples, and grapefruit.

Eating Low Glycemic −Insulin

In subsequent small animal studies, Ludwig found that animals on a high-glycemic diet prompted most—but not all—of them to overeat and gain weight. The defining difference was a high insulin response in the weight gainers.  I won’t get into all the fun biology details, but to summarize one of insulin’s jobs is to direct excess blood sugar to the liver and muscles, where it can be stored for later use. Because this hormone also helps signal when we’ve had enough to eat, a sudden surge of insulin followed by a sharp dip could trigger the sensation of hunger and the need to eat. Sounds backwards, but its true. I know I have felt that rush of energy after eating a high glycemic food (chocolate chip cookies are often the culprit!) and the unfortunate increased hunger and lethargy.

Ludwig then conducted a further study where he recruited 73 obese adults between the ages of 18 and 35 to take part in an 18-month trial. First, the researchers measured the participants’ insulin response. The volunteers followed one of two approaches: eating a low glycemic diet that included certain fruits and vegetables, whole grains such as barley, and other carbs that help keep blood sugar levels even or a low-fat diet in which carbohydrate foods were not as restricted but fat was limited to 20 percent of total intake. There were no other restrictions on the groups—they could eat until they were satisfied.

Eating Low Glycemic − The Result

People whose bodies reacted most strongly to a blood sugar spike—they secreted the most insulin—lost an average of 13 pounds on the low-glycemic diet but only about 3 pounds on the low-fat plan. People who secreted less insulin lost an average of three pounds no matter which diet they followed. Obviously, eating low glycemic foods made a significant difference in some, but not all people.

Eating Low Glycemic − Weight loss

Thus, eating low glycemic index foods could be the best way for you to lose weight BUT it may not be the best for you. What I take from this is that if you having difficulty losing weight consulting your doctor to rule out medical reasons is always recommended. They may test your insulin response and find that eating low glycemic could be right for you.

Eating Low Glycemic − Quick Tips

Eating Low Glycemic

Eating Low Glycemic


Here are a few quick tips to get you started eating low glycemic.

1. Bigger is better.

Large food particles take longer for the body to break down and absorb, so they move more slowly through your digestive system.  Simple, the more intact and less processes, the lower its glycemic index.  i.e. whole rather than refined grains, whole fruit rather than fruit juice, steel-cut oats rather than instant oatmeal, stone-ground rather than plain cornmeal.

2. Eat Protein

Protein takes your body longer to digest and helps to keep you satiated. It also helps to lower the glycemic index of a food item. Add a portion of lean protein to each meal to help manage blood sugar and weight.

3. Increase your fiber.

Fiber is the part of plant foods that cannot be digested by the body, so fiber-rich foods like beans, nuts, dried fruits and high-fiber cereals, pasta and breads are inherently low on the GI. Foods with 5g of fiber or more are good choice.

4. Add healthy fats.

Like protein, fat molecules also slow down digestion, so including a little fat can lower a food’s glycemic index and make it more satisfying. Choose heart-healthy unsaturated fats like vegetable oils and nuts. And, if you’re watching calories, be moderate: drizzle bread with a little olive oil, toss carrots with a bit of tasty dressing, sprinkle slivered almonds on your salad.

Eating Low Glycemic − Conclusion

Overall, I recommend focusing on making smart food choices and tracking! Write down your food daily. You cannot change how you are eating if you do not know where you are starting from!  Being mindful of the glycemic index of foods can help you avoid large insulin surges and secondary hunger and lethargy. This is one of the reasons I love Shakeology with its Glycemic Index (GI) scale score of 24, which is lower than most fruits and many veggies. Plan out your meals.  By making eating low glycemic foods a focus, you will automatically increase your consumption of healthy foods.

The best nutrition plan is the one that works for you.  Do not be afraid to try new things.  Trial and error is part of making health & fitness a lifestyle. I wish you all a Healthy Day! If you found this information about eating low glycemic helpful, have suggestion, please comment below.

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2 comments… add one
  • This is a really well written article. Thanks so much for sharing. After doing the Ultimate Reset and the research and meal planning I was able to understand almost everything you were taking about.:-)

  • Lots of info in this post! I was surprised by some of the GIs for certain foods. That is a great chart!

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