A Review of The Benefits Of A Low Glycemic Diet
July 10, 2012 33 Comments
What Exactly is The Glycemic Index? - Benefits Of A Low Glycemic Diet
Benefits of a low glycemic diet are numerous and worthy to know about. I learned all about the benefits of a low glycemic diet a few years ago when my doctor called me in upon reading my lab results. My triglycerides and bad cholesterol were elevated and he made it very clear that I needed to look into a low glycemic diet immediately if not sooner, unless I wanted to get diabetes or heart disease. That was all the motivation I needed at the time to begin my research on the many benefits of a low glycemic diet.
Carbohydrates have really taken a bashing over the past several years, but the body requires them to operate properly. In an effort to get past the good carb/bad carb classifications and determine what types carbohydrates help promote health and improve energy levels, a scientific method was created for calculating how carbohydrates in food act in the body. By assigning foods a glycemic number from 0 to 100, you know what to expect at a glance. To account for the fact that we eat varying amounts of food and rarely just one food at a time, scientists also came up with the glycemic load. This number takes into account all the carbohydrates in foods you eat at one time along with the actual amounts of food and generates a number. The bottom line is that both the glycemic index and the glycemic load are all about making an informed choice about carbohydrate containing foods and putting them to work for you. Better choices are one of the major benefits of a low glycemic diet
Glycemic Index and Blood Sugar – Benefits of A Low Glycemic Diet
Blood sugar is the energy source for every cell in the human body. Blood sugar is to the body what gas is to a car and our bodies work hard to maintain even blood sugar levels for optimal health. We produce insulin to lower blood sugar levels and glucagon to help raise it. Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar occurrs when the level falls below 70mg/dl. On the other hand, hyperglycemia or high blood sugar occurs when the body isn’t producing enough insulin or when it’s not working the way it should.
What is Insulin’s Role? – Benefits of A Low Glycemic Diet
Insulin is a hormone secreted in the pancreas when you eat foods containing carbohydrates. As the carbs are digested and metabolized into blood sugar, your pancreas notices a rise in the blood sugar levels and sends out insulin. Insulin is what allows blood sugar to enter each of our cells to provide them with energy. Insulin is the key that unlocks the door into the cells allowing blood sugar to enter. If you don’t have enough insulin production, you starve to death even though you eat a lot of food because the blood sugar cannot enter the cells to provide energy. Folks with Type 1 diabetes require insulin injections in order to not starve their cells of energy. People with Type 2 diabetes typically make plenty of insulin but it doesn’t work effectively. Insulin also plays a major role in weight management. Insulin stimulates lipogenesis which is the process of converting blood sugar to fatty acids that can be stored as body fat for later use as fuel. Think of fatty acids as your body’s energy storage locker. When you run low on available blood sugar for energy your body can utilize these stored fatty acids for energy. However, insulin makes the breaking down of these fatty acids extremely difficult which is why high insulin levels make it easier to gain weight and much more difficult to lose it. Keeping blood sugar levels under control thus reducing the need for insulin production is one of the many significant benefits of a low glycemic diet.
Weight Loss – Benefits of A Low Glycemic Diet
Blood sugar, carbohydrates and insulin all have a role in affecting body weight. Carbohydrates are digested and metabolized into blood sugar. Rising levels of blood sugar prompt the pancreas to produce insulin. Higher levels of insulin promote body fat storage. One of the major benefits of a low glycemic diet is to make good choices and decisions about which carbohydrate containing foods you’re going to eat!
The Major Benefits of A Low Glycemic Diet
- Sound decisions about which carbohydrate containing foods to eat which will satisfy you longer.
- Blood sugar levels stay even, your body produces less insulin and you lose weight.
- Benefit of vitamins, fiber and minerals from foods that contain carbohydrates.
- Planning, shopping and preparing healthy meals.
- Disease prevention.
- Increased Energy.
- Improved mood from serotonin found in many carbohydrate containing foods.
- Lower cholesterol and healthier heart.
I believe one of the most important benefits of a low glycemic diet is the overall contribution to a healthier lifestyle. Combined with
exercise and other lifestyle changes it has had a substantial impact on my overall health and sense of well being. Plus, once you get used to eating healthier, you never want to go back…well maybe a little now and then but not for good It feels awesome to eat healthy and a low glycemic diet is a great way to go about doing it.
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