When following a GI diet, a distinction is made between good and bad carbohydrates. If you want to lose weight with this diet, you are supposed to eat good carbohydrates in combination with food with a low calorie content. The good carbohydrates ensure that the sugar level remains constant, making you less likely to feel hungry. What exactly does this diet entail and does it work for weight loss?
Glycemic Index (GI)
The glycemic index, abbreviated GI, is a measure of the effect that carbohydrates have on blood sugar levels. It indicates how quickly carbohydrates are converted into glucose. Carbohydrates that are broken down slowly in the body have a low glycemic index. These are the good carbohydrates that are digested slowly. Carbohydrates that are quickly broken down by the body are fast carbohydrates and are also called bad carbohydrates. Products with a high GI value quickly give you energy due to the rapid rise in sugar levels, but then the sugar level also drops quickly, making you feel tired more quickly and start craving the wrong food again. Fast carbohydrates cause fluctuations in blood sugar, which can lead to diabetes if consumed excessively. Health benefits are achieved by eating foods with a low glycemic index. The glycemic index sets glucose (sugar) at 100 and all other foods are measured against it.
The GI Diet
By eating good carbohydrates, i.e. with a low GI value, you feel satiated for longer after eating, which reduces the chance of eating the wrong carbohydrates. The lower the GI value, the slower the digestion takes place. Because the sugar level remains more constant, you will be less inclined to eat extra. The GI diet consists of the following phases:
Glycemic Index PHASE 1: losing weight
During this phase, calorie intake is reduced. It is important that the carbohydrates in your diet have a low GI value and the products you eat have a low calorie content. Nuts have a low GI value, but are high in calories. The GI value must be below the GI of 50 at this stage. These foods provide a feeling of fullness and burn excess fat reserves.
Examples of nutrients with a low GI value are:
- Legumes (not broad beans)
- vegetables (broccoli, lettuce, peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms and pickles)
- fruit (almost all types of fruit, including apples, oranges, lemons, blueberries and strawberries)
- Bread (rye bread and coarse whole wheat bread)
- Pasta (whole wheat and with light sauce and lots of vegetables)
- Dairy products (low-fat yogurt, low-fat milk, buttermilk, and low-fat cheese)
- Lean meat, poultry and fish
- Limited amount of vegetable oils
- Eggs (liquid)
- Diet soft drinks (without caffeine)
Examples of products with a high GI value are:
- Sugar (chocolate, candy, pastries, cookies)
- Baked potatoes, boiled potatoes and mashed potatoes
- White rice
- Boiled carrots
- Refined flours
- Alcohol-containing drinks
- Full-fat dairy products (whole milk, chocolate milk and full-fat yoghurt)
- Processed meat (minced meat with more than 10% fat, sausages and hamburgers)
- Mac and cheese
Glycemic Index PHASE 2: maintaining weight
Once you have reached the target weight you enter the second phase. Calorie intake and calorie consumption are in balance. Products with a higher GI value may be added to your diet. It is also important to
eat three main meals with a healthy snack spread throughout the day. Preferably snacks that do not affect sugar levels. You can eat a lot of vegetables and drink a lot of water. As with any diet, it is important to exercise sufficiently in addition to losing weight (at least 30 minutes per day). The way in which the food product is processed (raw, fried or cooked) influences the GI value. It also depends on whether the product is ripe and how long it has been stored.
The GI diet is easy to maintain because the sugar level in the blood is kept constant, giving you the feeling of being full. The basic rules of this diet are in line with the views on what constitutes a healthy diet. Many vegetables, fruit, legumes and whole grain products have a low GI value and according to the Nutrition Center this is healthy food. You will lose weight, although it may not be as fast. Losing weight quickly is also not good for your health because it causes the so-called yo-yo effect.
Sometimes it is difficult to vary this. There is also a good chance that you consume too much protein, which can lead to acidification of the body, resulting in kidney problems. Some people find the diet complicated to follow. Processing changes the GI value of a product, as does using a sauce or dressing. Boiled potatoes contain few calories and yet they have a high GI value. This is difficult for many people to apply in the Dutch kitchen.
This diet is useful if you don’t feel like cooking for everyone separately within the family. You can simply cook and pay attention to the quantities you eat and the good and bad carbohydrates. You also do not have to count calories with this diet, as is the case with some diets. Obesity is partly caused by people eating too many wrong carbohydrates (sweets and the wrong snacks). By following the GI diet you become aware of a healthy diet. This diet is not recommended for people with kidney problems because the larger amount of protein can damage the kidneys. .
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