Is a Low Glycemic Index Diet Necessary if You Want to Lose Weight?

Is it really necessary to follow a low glycemic index diet if you want to lose weight? Whilst following a low gi diet may be beneficial for some people because it simply helps them to select healthier foods, but it doesn't appear to be essential if you want to lose weight or even if you suffer from type 2 diabetes!

The whole premise behind emphasising low glycemic index foods in your diet is the fact that they will help to keep your blood sugar level stable and by doing so make it easier to keep insulin low.

This is a good rule to follow if people want to lose weight and especially if they suffer from diabetes because high insulin levels cause a range of health problems in the body. However, it seems as if a whole industry has been created around promoting low glycemic index foods.

Why you don't need to follow a low glycemic index diet...

Unfortunately though, there are several reason why I believe over-emphasising these foods in your diet is a mis-guided approach to nutrition. Firstly, the glycemic index food charts and low glycemic index diets give people the impression that the low glycemic index foods are 'good' and high glycemic index foods are 'bad'. This is simply not the case. There are many foods on the glycemic index chart that are considered high (bad) but which are actually very good for you and are necessary to include in your diet on a regualr basis because they are loaded with nutrients that can contribute to good health and optimum body functioning.

A good example of a healthy, but high glycemic index food are carrots. Carrots are loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber and other phytonutrients, making them a great food to include in your diet even though they are a high glycemic index food. By the same token, chocolate is a low glycemic index food because it contains a substantial amount fat and protein, but this certainly doesn't mean you should emphaisise more of it in your diet!

Another reason why people should not be too concerned about the glycemic index of foods is simply because having 'complete meals', whereby each meal or snack you consume contains a combination of all 3 macronutrients, carbohydrate, protein and fat, means that the glycemic index index of any carbohydrate-containing food you have in the meal/ snack will automatically be lowered because protein, fat and fiber slow down the absorption rate of the carbohydrates, therefore lowering the glycemic index. Plus, if you have other carbohydrate sources in the same meal and they are lower on the glycemic index, they will also lower the glycemic index of the high GI food.

As a result, whilst you may like to perhaps have a few more low glycemic index foods in your diet, there is really no good reason to do so and certainly not if it means excluding other carbohydrate sources from your diet. Overall, there is absolutely no need to follow a low glycemic index diet if you're already following the recomendations outlined here and throughout the rest of this site.

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Thank-you for this great article! Questions I had begun to ask about the GI were at my fingertips, along with great links.

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