Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Glycaemic Index and Low GI Diets

What is the Glycaemic Index
The Glycaemic Index is a measure of how how a food effects blood sugar levels.  Foods with high GI’s release glucose into the bloodstream very rapidly causing a rush of insulin and blood sugar.  On the other hand foods with low Glycaemic Index release glucose into the bloodstream slowly allowing our body time to process the sugar.
The Glycaemic Index uses a scale from 0 to 100 with 0 being the lowest and 100 being the highest GI level.  For example pure Glucose has a GI of 100. Glycaemic Index’s of 55 or below are considered low, and 70 or above are considered high. Glycaemic Loads of 10 or below are considered low, and 20 or above are considered high.

Atkins Low-Carb Diet Is a Low-Glycemic Approach
Everything old is new again. The latest buzzword in weight management and nutrition may be “low glycemic,” but Dr. Atkins (Wikipedia) was on to it many decades ago.
Atkins has always been a low-glycemic approach. Almost 40 years ago, Dr. Atkins stressed the effect of food on blood sugar and insulin levels and explained in great detail why foods with a significant impact on blood sugar—meaning processed carbohydrates—were exactly what you don’t want on your plate, whether you’re concerned with your weight or your health.

Our bodies tend to stockpile
Our bodies are old beings. They have served us again and again through many incarnations. So a body has not sat at a heavily laden table in every life, but rather became familiar with scarcity, indeed all the way to near starvation. It has stored all of this in its cells. Even a mother who goes on a diet during her pregnancy can instil fear into the developing baby body and programme it, wherever possible, to store food - for the guaranteed next upcoming period of famine.
Whether one believes in reincarnation (which is a fact) or not, or prefers to maintain the belief that he has only this one life - it is an absolute fact that even the bodies in our society of abundance anticipate periods of starvation.
Montignac studies this subject in his book: "Let's take for example someone who consumes about 2500 calories a day and weighs a few pounds too much. If he then, according to the calorie-reducing method, decreases that intake to 2000 calories, a deficit of 500 calories occurs, so he should lose weight. An organism that, however, had become accustomed to the intake of 2500 calories, balances out the missing 500 calories from its fat reserves, leading to proportionate weight loss. So far, so good.
"After a short time, the length of which can of course vary from one person to another, the person notes that he is no longer losing weight, although he has not interrupted his diet but rather strictly adhered to it.
"So what happened? Very simple: The organism became accustomed to the supply of 2000 calories and reacted with a savings programme for its metabolism."
So at 2000 calories daily it is no longer possible to lose weight. Usually those people, after having eaten such a low calorie diet for a few weeks and having lost weight, are anxious to stop their diet and eat normally again - in the belief that they can maintain their new lower weight. Way off base! They barely start eating normally again and oops! the weight comes right back. Even if they return to their diet as before, even at 2000 calories a day they continue to gain weight. Montignac knows why: "The human organism is driven by a survival instinct that is awakened if a deficit in food c.q. energy occurs.
Since a reduction of calories had taken place before to which the organism adjusted itself by using a smaller amount of energy, on the basis of the human survival instinct it is made to reduce its energy consumption even further. And so the daily requirement of calories is, for example, brought down to 1700 calories, in order for new reserves to be built up again."
Even Montignac remarks: "In all of this we must not forget that the human body has not converted its behaviour in terms of living habits as quickly as the human brain has done. The body continues to live in the past, in which it was probably familiar with hunger and deprivation. These memories exist in the subconscious and are brought back to life during such a situation."
So the human body does not react any differently than a dog who only buries a bone at the moment at which he is hungry for it.
So if we starve our bodies by giving them less energy (= calories), they will immediately use every opportunity to establish new (fat) reserves.
Today, we call this the 'yoyo' effect. Anyone who has already been on several diets can tell you how frustrating it is when the smallest error on the weekend immediately leads to the gain of two to three kilos of weight that he had spent the previous weeks starving himself to lose. Now we know why this happens.
So it is extraordinarily important to eat three regular meals a day and not skip any meals! Otherwise the next time the body receives food it will immediately build up reserves. This is also the reason for overweight among dogs that are only fed once a day. Such a food intake schedule is unnatural, so their bodies store everything they can.
Montignac: "Incidentally, laboratory tests on animals have shown that if animals receive an equal daily amount of food daily, if they receive only one meal a day they become overweight, while animals who receive their daily ration divided over five or six meals do not gain weight."

Watch out for the blood sugar level!
The knowledge that white flour and white sugar are not beneficial to health is certainly nothing new. But apart from the fact that they contain hardly anything of use to the body, they also put stress on our pancreas - with quite disastrous consequences.
When carbohydrates are ingested they make the blood sugar level rise. Depending on the type of carbohydrate the blood sugar level rises slowly but surely until the maximum, so-called glycaemia - or the blood sugar peak - is reached. The pancreas then secretes the hormone insulin so that the excess glucose from the blood goes into the cells (liver, muscles), where it can be used as needed. So insulin makes the blood sugar level drop until it stabilises again.
In the USA in 1976 Professor Crapo developed a key with which one could calculate the so-called glycaemia potential of every carbohydrate (Montignac describes precisely how this works in his book). The greater the hyperglycaemia (= excessive sugar in the blood) caused by the carbohydrate being studied, the higher the glycaemic index. Says Montignac: "Today most scientists agree that carbohydrates should be classified according to their capacity to raise blood sugar - which is determined by the glycaemic index. The glycaemic index gives us an explanation of the phenomenon of overweight and of innumerable problems such as fatigue and a lack of vitality with which many people have to do battle."
Thus carbohydrates can be divided into two categories: 'good ones' with a low glycaemic index (the glucose is released into the blood over an extended period of time, and the peak is not particularly high) and 'bad ones' with a high glycaemic index (where an extraordinary amount of glucose is released, which immediately calls the pancreas into action).

Glycemic index
The glycaemic index, glycaemic index, or GI is a measure of the effects of carbohydrates in food on blood sugar levels. It estimates how much each gram of available carbohydrate (total carbohydrate minus fiber) in a food raises a person's blood glucose level following consumption of the food, relative to consumption of glucose. Glucose has a glycaemic index of 100, by definition, and other foods have a lower glycaemic index.
Glycaemic index is defined for each type of food, independent of the amount of food consumed. Glycaemic load accounts for the amount of food consumed and is calculated in terms of glyacemic index.

The Importance of The Glycaemic Index
After eating food with a high GI you may at first experience a quick energy boost but eventually you will experience the “crash”  that will result in a loss of energy and feeling of hunger.  This stimulates fat storage and has been shown to cause obesity and other health problems.   Your body performs at its optimal level when your blood sugar is constant.
The theory behind the Glycaemic Index is simple.  Avoid foods with a high Glycaemic index that have a drastic effect on your blood sugar levels.  A diet focusing on low GI index foods has been shown to cause weight loss over time and decrease chances of heart disease and obesity.  Diets like The South Beach diet have become very popular in recent years with their emphasis on diets rich in low GI foods to aid in weight loss.

The Glycaemic Load Effect
The bodies Glycaemic response to a  food is determined not only by the Glycaemic levels in the food but also the amount digested. This is known as Glycaemic Load.  Glycaemic Load is calculated this way:

GL = GI/100 x Net Carbs
(Net Carbs are equal to the Total Carbohydrates minus Dietary Fiber) You control your glycaemic response by consuming low-GI foods and/or by restricting your intake of carbohydrates.

Michel Montignac
The Pioneer of the Low Glycaemic Index Diet Approach
Michel Montignac (1944 – August 22, 2010) was a French diet developer who originally created the Montignac diet to help himself lose weight, which he based on research that focuses on the glycaemic index of foods, which affects the amount of glucose delivered to the blood after eating. The diet, which distinguishes between good and bad carbohydrates, became the basis for best-selling books and a chain of restaurants and stores promoting his diet regimen and was one of the theoretical predecessors of the South Beach Diet.

Montignac diet
The French are a phenomenon. This was demonstrated on the 17th of November 1991 during the American television programme Sixty Minutes: they are far and away healthier than Americans, although they spend a lot of their time eating, eat 30% more fat, do not exercise, and drink ten times more wine! And that is not all: the average body weight of French people is the lowest in the entire Western world, and their mortality rate from cardiac and circulatory disease is the lowest after Japan. The CBS broadcast was based on statistics obtained by the World Health Organisation.
So let's take a look at Americans: "For 45 years (!) 89 million (!) Americans have constantly adhered to a low-calorie nutritional system. Calories have always been in the picture. Through advertising and commercials it has become securely anchored in the consciousness of Americans", writes Michel Montignac in his book Essen, abnehmen und schlank bleiben (Eat, lose weight, stay thin). "In addition to counting all those calories, they also pay painstaking attention to getting plenty of exercise so as to be absolutely certain they do not store one calorie more than necessary. And have they been successful?
"Statistics show rather devastating results.
"Although more than one third of the population consistently applies the calorie-reduced diet method and takes intensive physical exercise every day, a weight gain can be observed. Or in figures: every third member of the current population is overweight, and every fifth American is obese."
Calorie-counting, says Montignac, is the wrong approach. A dead end. It ignores too many details. The fatty part of a piece of meat can, for example, vary considerably - and therefore also the number of calories it contains. In addition people forget to consider the time at which they eat. It has been established that the absorption of carbohydrates, fats and protein varies considerably depending on the time of day, indeed even the time of year (chronobiology). And these are only the more simple arguments. Scientists have also established that the theoretical calculation of calories never considers the conditions under which fats and carbohydrates are absorbed into the intestines. These conditions change depending on how much roughage is in food. So if that food contains much - and above all soluble - roughage, the absorption of so-called calories can be significantly reduced.
So we see that counting calories is a highly dubious matter. And calorie-reduced foods - let's say, a classical diet - is usually the beginning of lifelong overweight. Particularly if the first diet is followed by a second, third, fourth, etc.
The Montignac diet is a weight-loss diet that was popular in the 1990s, mainly in Europe. It was invented by Frenchman Michel Montignac (1944–2010), an international executive for the pharmaceutical industry, who, like his father, was overweight in his youth. His method is aimed at people wishing to lose weight efficiently and lastingly, reduce risks of heart failure, and prevent diabetes.
Carbohydrate-rich foods are classified according to glycaemic index (GI), a ranking system for carbohydrates based on their effect on blood glucose levels after meals. High-GI carbohydrates are considered "bad" (with the exception of those foodstuffs like carrots that, even though they have high GIs, have a quite low carbohydrate content and should not significantly affect blood sugar levels).

Official Website of the Montignac Method
Michel Montignac: the GI pioneer

University of Sydney (Australia)
Home of the Glycaemic Index

International table of glycaemic index and glycemic load values: 2002
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 76, No. 1, 5-56, 2002
Detailed description of Glycaemic Index Values
Complete List of Foods and Glycaemic Index Values
Living with Diabetes
Revised International Table of Glycaemic Index (GI) and Glycemic Load (GL) Values—2008

Harvard Medical School
Harvard Health Publications
Glycemic index and glycemic load for 100+ foods

Glycemic Index Food List
Lists and Information about the Glycemic Index

Fructose: Sweet, Low GI - But Dangerous!
Is High Fructose Corn Syrup Worse Than Sugar?