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Low GI/GL diets are based on the same principle of balancing the body’s blood sugar.
Eating a low GI/GL diet helps keep your blood sugar level stable and is the key to losing excess body fat, whilst providing all the nutrition your body needs to be energised, reducing your risk of disease, stamping out your food cravings and enabling you to maintain a healthy weight.
It is only carbohydrates which affect blood sugar and insulin levels to any significant degree. How quickly a carbohydrate is turned into glucose and released in the bloodstream affects the amount of insulin that the pancreas will release to control blood sugar levels. Too quick a conversion and your insulin levels skyrocket, a bad situation if you are trying to lose body fat since fat loss cannot occur in the presence of high insulin levels. Such a hormonal environment triggers fat storage.
What is insulin?
Insulin is a hormone. It makes our body's cells absorb glucose from the blood. The glucose is stored in the liver and muscle as glycogen and stops the body from using fat as a source of energy. When there is very little insulin in the blood, or none at all, glucose is not taken up by most body cells. When this happens our body uses fat as a source of energy.
Choosing to eat low GI/GL foods produce low levels of carbohydrates (glucose/energy) in the bloodstream. Therefore, it stands to reason that if a carbohydrate is released slowly into the blood stream, then less insulin is released and thus fat loss is maximized and fat storage is minimized.
The foods that cause the highest rises in blood sugar and insulin levels are bad for you in general, as they tend to be highly processed. This strips them of the vitamins, minerals, enzymes and fibre that your body needs in order to be healthy.
What is GI?
The glycemic index (GI) is a numerical system of measuring how much of a rise in circulating blood sugar a carbohydrate triggers–the higher the number, the greater the release of insulin into the blood stream to bring the sugar level back down. So a low GI food will cause a small rise, while a high GI food will trigger a dramatic rise. A GI of 70 or more is high, a GI of 56 to 69 inclusive is medium, and a GI of 55 or less is low.
What is Glycaemic Load?
Foods that have a low GL almost always have a low GI. Foods with an intermediate or high GL range from very low to very high GI.
There are proven health benefits to a low GI/GL diet:
Helps you lose weight & increases metabolism
Not all low GI plans are specifically aimed at weight loss. Some are simply aimed at healthy eating, which is important for your long term health even if you don't have any weight to lose.
Remember that your health depends upon an adequate intake of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and fibre. Eating the low GI way, plenty of vegetables and salads in addition to protein foods and fats, is an important way of ensuring you get the wide range of nutrients your body needs. Fruits are also valuable providers of vitamins, minerals and fibre, but experts confirm that vegetables contain just as wide a range of nutrients as fruits do, if you cannot tolerate fruits.