LOW GLYCEMIC INDEX DIET MAY HELP WOMEN PREVENT WEIGHT GAIN
Glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how quickly a food causes blood sugar to rise. Foods with refined sugars and simple starches, like white bread and cookies, have a high glycemic index, while those with more complex carbohydrates and greater fiber content, such as whole grains and vegetables, have a low glycemic index. A GI value, on a scale of 0-100, determines how rapidly a particular carbohydrate turns into glucose.
Dr. Helle Hare-Bruun of Copenhagen University Hospital and colleagues reported in a recent study published in the October 1 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that a high GI diet, or a diet based primarily on foods ranked on the glycemic index scale from 73-100, was directly associated with an increase in weight, waist circumference and body fat in women, particularly sedentary women. Glycemic index had no effect on weight gain in men.
Hare-Bruun and colleagues used existing data to examine the relation of dietary GI with changes in body weight and composition over a 6-year follow-up period in 376 men and women aged 35 to 65, to see how dietary glycemic index might affect weight over time. A high GI diet could make a person feel hungry faster and eat too much as a result, the study finds.
“A low glycemic index diet may protect against increases in body weight and general and abdominal obesity in women—especially those who are sedentary—which suggests that physical activity may offer protection against diet-induced weight gain and obesity,” the researchers conclude.
A low GI diet focuses on changing eating habits so that the majority of foods consumed are from the low GI food group, on the scale ranking less than 55. These foods take longer to break down into glucose in the body. Low GI foods include fruits, vegetables, legumes, lean meat, fish, and whole grains. This produces a more even level of glucose throughout the day and minimizes cravings. As the holiday season approaches, a good GI diet plan can be effective in weight control as well as, according to health experts, may prevent onset of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.