If you are diabetic, you know what the glycemic index is. It is a system to keep track of which foods turn into sugar the quickest. The index is important to diabetics because foods that are high on the index lead to spiked blood sugar levels and increased amounts of insulin to balance it out.
Glycemic Index Helps You Lose Weight
In the weight loss battle, sugar is really enemy number one. Foods that break down quickly into sugar are a lot easier to gain weight on. The reason is that insulin has a job to take excess sugar in the blood and then to store it in fat cells. If you eat too much food that spikes the sugar levels, you can be sure that your body will turn on the insulin and start storing fat. It makes much more sense to eat in such a way that the blood sugar levels remain constant.
According to the Obesity Institute of New York, most people have more success on a diabetic diet for losing weight than other diets. This makes sense because sugar is the number one problem. Diabetics especially need to lose weight because it exacerbates their symptoms. The reason is that excess fat and fat cells excrete hormones that make the body less sensitive to insulin. The more overweight you are the harder your body has controlling blood sugar levels. This is a key component of weight gain. As a side note, eating fish has been known to make the body more sensitive to leptin, a hormone that controls hunger.
What Foods Should I Eat
Here is a link to see the glycemic values assigned to most foods. http://www.mendosa.com/gilists.htm or you can also find a list here of more ommon foods people eat http://www.mendosa.com/common_foods.htm.
Foods that are over 70 on the glycemic index are considered high. Foods between 56-69 are considered medium. Foods that are under 55 on the glycemic index are considered low.
People that are trying to lose weight should only eat low glycemic index foods. After weight loss is achieved, they can sparingly add in other foods.
How Many Carbs
As a general rule, you should eat less than 100 carbs per day. It amounts to around 15 carbs per meal and for snacks. Most people will double that for dinner and eat around 30-40. If you try to keep meals and snacks under 15, then getting 100 in a day won't be too hard.
Here is a chart that shows you the carbs in most foods. http://www.ntwrks.com/~mikev/chart1a.htm If the food comes in a package, it will also show the carbohydrates in it. When you start out, it will be necessary to have a food scale and keep track. Otherwise, you will have a tendency to overeat because you will miscalculate portion sizes. Estimating portion size takes practice. It is not as easy as most people think.
Glycemic Index Facts and Tips
Did you know that the top item on the GI chart is refined white flour products? They are higher than table sugar. It's like putting gasoline on a fire except that it is your body. Nutritious and low fat baked potatoes are also another high glycemic food to be avoided.
Here are some real food tips to make the process easier. You shall eat whole wheat pasta, barley, oats (not rolled), coarse high fiber cereals, most fruits and vegetables, 1% or skim milk, and basmatti rice.
You should avoid ice cream, whole milk, beef, pork, lamb, peanut butter, cheese, fruit juices, anything that is instant, almost all processed cereals, carrots, watermelon, raisins, brown and white rice. Here is a link to a chart that shows some of the common foods to eat and to avoid. http://www.becomehealthynow.com/article/carbs/8/
You should be aware that almost all commercial foods that claim to be whole wheat should be avoided. The reason is that there is often white flour mixed in with the whole wheat. Look for bread that is heavy and coarse in the grain. Many commercial wheat breads just have a little food coloring and wheat husks thrown in to make it look healthy. Shouldn't that be against the law or something.
Some Interesting Links – Proof That Diet Matters
In a new Australian Study, high consumption of white refined flour products is linked to diabetes. In the study, those that ate the most white bread were the most likely to become diabetic. If that is true, think what happens to people that consistently eat foods that are high on the glycemic index that aren't white refined flour. There is definitely an effect. You don't see the high rates of diabetes in third world countries that eat differently. Here is a link to learn more about the study. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/11/05/health/webmd/main653957.shtml
For more information, you may want to check out the diabetes food pyramid located here: http://www.diabetes.org/food-nutrition-lifestyle/nutrition/meal-planning/diabetes-food-pyramid.jsp
Here is a link to the glycemic research institute. http://www.glycemic.com/
A great video about applying glycemic index principles: