The debate over whether or not we should eat a low carbohydrate diet to lose weight started with the creation of the Atkins Diets. This debate continues on today and will never end because the debaters are focusing on the wrong aspect of carbohydrates. The debaters are focusing on the quantity of carbohydrates when they should be focusing on the quality of the carbohydrates.
When trying to lose weight or live a healthy lifestyle, you want to eat meals and snacks that do not cause insulin spikes. Insulin spikes are surges in insulin. Insulin is an animal hormone. Insulin is a anabolic hormone that tells sugar to leave the blood and enter the cells. Often times this sugar is converted into fat and stored in fat cells.
That is where the glycemic index comes in. The glycemic index of a carbohydrate tells you what happens in your body after you eat a particular carbohydrate. It tells you how much and how fast your blood glucose will rise.
Simple sugars and processed complex carbohydrates are typically the foods with the highest glycemic indexes. A carb with a high glycemic index leads to a large and rapid rise in blood glucose and an insulin spike.
The glycemic index is a quality measure. It does not address the quantity of carbohydrates in your meal or snack. White rice has a high glycemic index, but if you only eat one grain of rice you will not have an insulin spike. That is where the glycemic load comes in. The glycemic load addresses the quality and the quantity of the carbohydrates in your meal.
The glycemic load is more important than the glycemic index because it addresses quantity and quality of the carbohydrate. For example, carrots and some fruits have a high glycemic index but a low glycemic load. Their loads are low because there are not that many grams of carbohydrates in one serving. Carrots and most fruits are a great addition to any diet.
You could write an entire book about the glycemic index and the glycemic load. In fact, some people did. For more information consider reading The New Glucose Revolution: The Authoritative Guide to the Glycemic Index - the Dietary Solution for Lifelong Health.
In the mean time, the carbohydrates with the lowest glycemic loads are vegetables, fruits, whole-grains, beans, and other legumes. The ones with the highest loads are the white foods: white sugar, white potatoes, white rice, white flour, and white pasta.
The low carbohydrate diet debate is over and there is no winner. The focus has now shifted away from the quantity of carbohydrates eaten and towards the quality of the carbohydrates eaten. Follow the glycemic numbers to lose the weight and keep it off.
About the Author:
Kalvin Chinyere, M.D., fondly known as Dr. Kal, is a weight loss expert and the creator of The Don't Go Broke Diet. Dr. Kal was an overweight child, an obese teen and a morbidly obese adult. He tipped the scale at over 330 pounds. Dr. Kal has since lost and kept off over 140 pounds naturally. Learn more about the Don't Go Broke Diet at his
weight loss blog and his
weight loss program website.
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