The GI Diet
It is thought that the GI Diet may help you to lose a few pounds by suppressing the appetite and might help the body metabolise fat more efficiently. However, studies suggest this diet might not be beneficial for weight loss.
It is claimed that unhealthy dietary habits, excess calorie consumption and sedentary behaviour may be why some people are gaining weight. It is thought that many people struggle to control their weight and turn to diets to get back to their ideal size. Many diets are hard to stick to on a long-term basis and might result in weight regain. So, is the GI Diet any different and can it help you lose weight? To help us answer this question, it is important to analyse what the GI Diet is, how it might aid weight loss and any clinical studies that examine the GI Diet.
What is the GI Diet?
The Glycaemic Index or GI Diet is a concept supposedly developed by Dr David Jenkins, a professor of Nutrition. The glycaemic index is said to measure the speed that food is broken down into glucose by the body, which is used as a source of energy. It is said that foods on the glycaemic index diet are scored on a scale of 0 to 100 based on how they raise your blood sugar levels. Foods such as white rice, white bread and potatoes are rated 70 or higher and are said to be high GI foods.
High GI foods are supposedly carbohydrates that are broken down quickly by the body, which may increase blood glucose levels. It is thought that low GI foods are 55 and under such as oatmeal, peanuts, skim milk and some fruits. It is claimed that low GI foods are broken down slowly by the body and supposedly cause a steady and gradual increase in blood glucose levels. The GI Diet is designed to encourage eating more low GI foods than high GI foods as it claims that it will help to stabilise blood sugar levels. This might allow you to feel more energetic, in a better mood and may help you to concentration better throughout the day.
It is thought that the glycaemic index was originally designed to help control the blood sugar levels for diabetics. It is now suggested by studies that low glycaemic diets might prevent diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers. It is also thought that if you are able to control your blood sugar, you may be able to lose weight. The GI Diet has become popular in recent years with those looking to lead a healthy lifestyle and hoping to lose a few pounds.
How does the GI Diet aid Weight Loss?
It is thought that the GI Diet may help to stabilise blood sugar levels in the body, which might help you to lose weight. It is claimed that high GI foods generally include unhealthy options, which might mean a quick rise in blood sugar. This may leave you feeling lethargic with no energy and feeling hungry a short while after eating. For weight loss, this would not be beneficial and could mean you snack throughout the day and consume more calories, which could result in weight gain over time. It is said that if you follow the GI Diet and consume low GI foods, this may reverse this cycle.
Eating low GI foods may produce a steadier rise in blood sugar, which might mean a gradual supply of energy throughout the day. This might make you feel more energetic and a gradual increase in sugar levels may help you to feel fuller for longer. This might allow you to control your food cravings, especially for sugary, unhealthy foods. Ultimately, following the GI Diet might allow you to eat fewer calories during the day and low GI goods may suppress the appetite, which could help you to lose weight.
It is thought that keeping blood sugar steady may help your body to metabolise fat more efficiently. It is thought that high GI foods may cause a large surge of insulin. Low GI foods are believed to only cause a small increase in insulin, which is said to help encourage the body to burn fat. It is claimed that if you consume a lot of high GI foods, you might stop your body turning to existing fat stores for energy. A study found that the suppression of insulin secretion was associated with loss of body weight and fat mass. This may suggest that following the GI Diet might help you to burn fat and might allow you to achieve your weight loss goals.
Pros and Cons of the GI Diet
A problem with a lot of diets is that they are not sustainable for long periods of time, which might mean you do not follow it for long enough to see a difference, which may lead to weight regain. This could be because some diets involve dramatically cutting back on calories, which might make you feel hungry or cause side effects such as tiredness and irritability. Diets such as the Atkins Diet are believed to dramatically lower carbohydrate intake, which may mean you feel like you have no energy. However, the GI Diet claims to have fewer side effects that are commonly associated with other diets. The GI Diet does not cut out carbohydrates or involve strict calorie counting. This may allow you to have a varied and healthy diet, without feeling deprived and might make it a more sustainable, long-term diet.
However, some claim that the GI Diet is confusing and this might make it difficult for some people to follow. Depending on the food you eat, you may have to constantly check the glycaemic index ratings to find out if they are low or high GI foods. Also, it might become confusing as supposedly, the ripeness of certain foods can increase the glycaemic index of certain foods, such as bananas. Another potential issue is that it may be to difficult to work out the GI value of a meal with several different foods. There is no requirement to display the GI on a food product, which might make this diet hard to follow correctly as it is thought that eating some foods at the same time may affect the overall glycaemic index of a meal.
The GI Diet may also be deceiving in relation to weight loss. A food might have a low GI rating but may have high amounts of fat or calories. There is also the possibility that people will think that low GI foods are all healthy or that high GI foods are all unhealthy. This may affect how people approach dieting and might encourage a negative thought process that does not take into account the nutrients contained in foods. The GI Diet may also jeopardise weight loss goals. It is thought that if you simply consume fewer calories than your body uses in a day, you might be able to lose weight. It is claimed this may be achieved by simply eating a healthy and balanced diet along with regular exercise, without the need for a specific diet.
Therefore, the GI Diet may help some people to lose weight as it is thought to suppress the appetite, supposedly without cutting out carbohydrates or dramatically cutting calories. Low GI foods might help you to feel fuller for longer and may help you to feel more energised throughout the day. Together, this may mean you consume fewer calories, which might allow your body to metabolise fat more efficiently. However, the GI Diet might not be suitable for everyone. Some people may find this diet confusing, which might make it a hard to stick to on a long-term basis. There is also the possibility that this diet may discourage healthy eating based on nutrition and might lead people to only consider the glycaemic index in relation to food and not consider fats or calories.
Clinical Studies on the GI Diet
Studies examining the GI Diet have come to different conclusions in relation to weight loss. One study found that lowering the glycaemic load and glycaemic index of weight reduction diets did not provide any added benefit to energy restriction diets in promoting weight loss. Another study found that long-term weight changes were not significantly different between high glycaemic index and low glycaemic index diet groups. It suggested that there was not a benefit of low glycaemic index diet for weight control. Thus, clinical studies indicate that the GI Diet may not be the best way to lose weight.
A 2014 study on the other hand, found that a low GI and energy restricted diet containing moderate amounts of carbohydrates may be more effective than a high GI and low fat diet at reducing body weight. This may suggest that eating low GI foods may help achieve weight loss goals, but these results could have been for a variety of different reasons and would need confirming with further study.
One study suggested that although there did not seem to be any advantages for weight loss, when GI was altered, this kind of diet might help to prevent and treat some metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. Further studies may be needed to confirm these findings, but the study indicates that the diet could be beneficial for the prevention of certain health conditions.
In conclusion, it is thought that the GI Diet may be a sustainable diet, which might help some people to lose weight. It is claimed that eating more low GI foods than high GI foods may help to suppress the appetite, which might help you to consume fewer calories and may allow your body to metabolise fat more efficiently. Although the GI Diet is thought to be beneficial for those with diabetes, studies suggest that it may not the best way to lose weight. Some people might also find it confusing and it is thought that the importance of nutrition may be lost in this diet.
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