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Low GI Diet

A brief overview of the low GI diet.

What is the Low GI Diet

The Low GI Diet has come to the forefront of the media surrounding weightloss in recent times. In some respects the GI diet has come off the back of more traditional "low carb" diets that are now familiar with a lot of people. However, there is now a shift in thinking that concentrates on the different types of carbohydrate rather than simply making the blanket statement that the dieter should banish all carbs from their diet. The low GI diet embodies this approach to "low carb" dieting.

GI Diet

GI Diet Scale

GI Diet is based around the Glycemic Index, hence the 'GI' acronym. So what is the Glycemic Index and how is it used to determine different types of carbohydrate?

The Glycemic Index was developed by Dr David Jenkins as a means of finding foods suitable for diabetics. The index is a measure of how fast after eating a food glucose gets absorbed into the bloodstream. Foods high on the glycemic index contain carbohydrates that are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and obviously, foods with low GI values take relatively longer to release sugars into the bloodstream.

The Glycemic Index uses a scale from 0 to 100. As you move up the scale, towards 100, the quicker the food source will elevate your blood sugar levels. At the top of the scale (100) is normally pure glucose.

Low GI Diet and Weight Loss

The Low GI Diet has the dieter select foods that are low on the glycemic index. The idea behind the Low GI diet is that the slower the carbohydrates are made available in the bloodstream the less they will be used as a source of energy by the body.

Eating low GI foods will also have a stabilizing effect on the blood sugar levels of the dieter. This is a key point for anyone trying to lose weight, as the sugar highs associated with foods high on the GI scale will leave you lacking energy when you enter a trough, and so to compensate, you will eat more to maintain the energy levels experienced when at the peak of the sugar high. This constant snacking on refined foods is obviously damaging.

Low GI Diet Foods

It's relatively easy to select foods suitable for low GI dieting, as all the dieter needs to do is aim for foods that are low on the GI scale. These will typically be foods that are less "processed" and refined. For instance, wholemeal bread is lower on the GI scale than white bread. The GI scale is quite extensive, and so you will normally find it in the many books now available on the Low GI Diet.

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