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Glycemic Index & Glycemic Load

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A carb is not a carb
A diet based on GI or glycemic load acknowledges that not all carbs act the same way - a new thought in the world of weight loss. However, it says nothing about how much protein or fat people should consume on these diets. These forms of nutrition have been shown numerous times to have a large influence on body weight and, no matter how meticulous you are about sticking to a low Glycemic Index diet, may impede weight loss.

Making matters worse, different people, different eating situations and the foods you eat with your carbohydrates can provoke greatly varying glycemic responses, that is, how the body responds to the ingestion of carbohydrates. "If you have a high glycemic-index food such as a baked potato, for example, but you also have something with protein and fat, and you eat that meal slowly and not under stress - that can actually slow up that glycemic response," Grotto says.

And to complicate things more, the variety of a particular food and the way it's prepared also greatly impact its Glycemic Index. Depending upon the variety, a potato can have a Glycemic Index ranging from 55, for a sweet potato, to 110, for a boiled white potato. And the Glycemic Index of a potato can be decreased, for example, if you prepare the potato the night before and let it sit in the fridge before you eat it, because the starch becomes less digestible.

The Next Dietary Trend
These complications, however, lead to a fairly flexible diet that is less about prohibitions and more about adapting a diet to your needs and cravings. If you like your bowl of cereal in the morning, that's fine, just make it a high fiber–type of cereal, which tends to have a lower Glycemic Index. And if you like to eat fruit, that's great, too, just stick to non-tropical fruits that tend to have lower Glycemic Indices.

Keeping to a low Glycemic Index diet means that you can eat a carb-crammed bowl of pasta, if you keep the portion size reasonable and balance it out with low glycemic foods for the rest of the day. And cooking it al–dente will help to lower the overall Glycemic Index of the pasta, making you digest it more slowly. "Those that want to follow lower glycemic index, the good news is you can do that and still eat some higher glycemic index foods," Grotto said. "It's watching the quantity of them and having them as a smaller portion of what you're eating."

So there's the catch that you can't avoid in any diet. It's all about moderation; it's not eating as much as you want to.


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