The Glycemic Index and Weight Loss
1 of 9 in Series: The Essentials of Losing Weight on a Low-Glycemic Diet
Using the glycemic index to lose weight means doing more than just counting calories. Choosing healthier foods that provide energy and promote a strong, fit body is just as important as sticking to a calorie goal.
The glycemic index is a tool you can use as part of your overall weight-control and healthy-eating strategies. Why? Because the glycemic index goes beyond calories; it encourages you to look at the way foods are digested and metabolized in your body and what impact that has on your body weight and how full you feel after eating. If biology and chemistry weren’t your strong points in school, don’t worry. The glycemic index puts all the science together into a list of foods categorized by their effect on blood sugar and insulin.
Use a glycemic index list as a weight-loss tool by selecting low-glycemic foods or balancing out a high-glycemic food choice with a lower-glycemic one. There’s no one right way to do this. Nor is there a black-and-white approach where you’re either on or off the diet. Just use the information in the glycemic index list to add additional healthy benefits to your food choices.
Blood sugar, carbohydrates, and insulin all come together to affect body weight. Carbohydrates are digested and metabolilzed into blood sugar. Rising levels of blood sugar cause the pancreas to produce insulin. Higher levels of insulin then promote body fat storage.
If you want to lose weight, you can try following a low-carb diet to interrupt this process, but that drastic move really isn’t a solution because your body needs the nutrients found in foods that contain carbohydrates. A smarter choice for weight loss is to use the glycemic index to make sound decisions about which carbohydrate-containing foods you’re going to eat. That way you stay satisfied longer; you get the benefit of fiber, vitamins, and minerals from carb-containing foods; your blood sugar levels stay even; your body produces less insulin; and you lose weight!