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The Low Glycemic Index Diet

The Low Glycemic Index Diet

A general overview of this popular eating style.

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The Low Glycemic Index Diet focuses on the glycemic index levels of each food that you eat, particularly carbohydrates.

Also referred to as the GI Diet, this eating plan categorizes foods according to how they affect your blood sugar levels. Foods that are considered low on the glycemic index scale are those that have a value of 55 or less. Low glycemic foods include animal proteins, non-starchy vegetables and fat.

Those with values of 70 or more are to only be eaten in moderation or avoided. These high glycemic carbs include sugar, potatoes, white bread, white pasta and white rice.

The idea behind eating foods that are low glycemic is that they will not spike your blood sugar levels like high glycemic foods do. Instead, low-GI foods like protein, full fat and certain vegetables are absorbed more slowly, allowing you to feel full longer and making you less likely to overeat.

In contrast, foods that are high on the GI scale produce a rapid rise in blood sugar levels and tend to make you feel hungrier and less satiated because they are so rapidly absorbed and metabolized by the body.

A low glycemic diet is similar to high protein diets, but whereas those plans strictly avoid most carbs, The Low Glycemic Index Diet allows for a small number of starchy carbs in moderation and at certain times.

Diets like the South Beach Diet, The Zone and Sugar Busters are all popular forms of the Low Glycemic Index Diet.

It is has been found that those who follow a low GI Diet have a lower risk for type II diabetes and heart disease. In fact, the diet is often recommend for those who have diabetes or have pre-diabetes.

In addition, weight loss, reduced mood swings, a feeling of less hunger and cravings, and long lasting weight loss are additional results, if the plan is followed correctly.

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  • Provides a solution for immediate and long term weight loss
  • Monitors how certain foods affect blood sugar levels
  • Helps fight against heart disease and type II diabetes
  • Lots of information available on glycemic index values for numerous foods
  • Not a fad diet; endorsed by dietitians and physicians
  • Focuses on the quality of food rather than its calories
  • Foods in plan are nutrient-rich
  • May invoke fear of never being able to eat carbohydrates again
  • Still need to watch calories and portion sizes
  • Potential for some foods like carrots, sweet potatoes and peas to be misrepresented

The Low Glycemic Index Diet counts carbohydrate grams rather than calories or fat. The intention is to feel fuller by eating quality food and smart carbohydrates, like whole grains, vegetables and fruit in addition to lean protein and good kinds of fats.

Although there are various books available about the GI Diet, you can also find many lists of the types of food that you should eat while on the program. There are also various lists available on what foods should be avoided, or only eaten in moderation.

In general, foods that produce a rapid release in blood sugar levels are avoided. Heavily processed and refined foods like simple sugars, sweets, pastries, white bread, soda and juices fall in this category.

Your good carbs are vegetables, mostly low starch veggies like greens, cruciferous vegetables and water-based vegetables, whole grains, like oatmeal, quinoa and other grains, legumes, like beans and fruit, mostly non-tropical fruits, can all be consumed safely.

The diet is also balanced by a lean protein source coming from poultry, red meat, fish, seafood, eggs or egg whites and certain kinds of dairy as well as healthy fats like those found in nuts, seeds and avocados.

A typical day on the The Low Glycemic Index Diet might look like this:

  • Breakfast: Steel cut oatmeal topped with fresh berries and a small serving of walnuts
  • Lunch: Mixed green salad topped with chicken, tons of water-based vegetables and a small serving of an avocado
  • Dinner: Grilled shrimp or beef tenderloin served with asparagus spears drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice
  • Snacks: One or two hard-boiled eggs, low-fat cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, apple with natural almond or peanut butter, turkey slices wrapped in lettuce leaves

The number of carbohydrates allowed will vary according to the individual and the specific dietary guidelines of the plan being followed.


Generally there is no specific exercise plan laid out for dieters to follow. But if you are looking to lose weight, successful weight loss is always accompanied by a regular fitness program that includes both cardiovascular training as well as strength-training.


For those that are looking for a diet that will help you lose weight and keep it off, The Low Glycemic Index Diet can help you drop pounds and may also help you to stave off disease like diabetes.

Its popularity has transformed this diet, which ranks foods according to their ability to spike blood sugar levels, into many shapes and forms, from the South Beach Diet to The Zone.

If followed correctly, The Low Glycemic Index Diet is very healthy given its emphasis on lean and clean foods. But it's important to not take this eating plan to the extreme and create meals that are properly balanced.

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(Page 1 of 1, 1 total comments)

joyce mccoll

I am very interested in healthy eating for life. I think the low index glycemic diet would work great for me.

posted Sep 1st, 2011 9:02 am


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