Glycemic Index and the Low Glycemic Diet
Note: I am no longer with Cenegenics
The glycemic index is a ranking of carbohydrates based on their immediate effect on blood glucose (blood sugar) levels. It compares foods gram for gram of carbohydrate.
High Glycemic Index: Carbohydrates that breakdown quickly during digestion have the highest glycemic indexes. The blood glucose response is fast and high. This category includes foods such as low fiber bread, pasta, white rice, potatoes, crackers, french fries, etc.
Low Glycemic Index: Carbohydrates that breakdown slowly, releasing glucose gradually into the blood stream, have low glycemic indexes. This category includes foods such as broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, hemp or sprouted grain bread, and high fiber fruits including apples and pears.
A low glycemic index diet is simply one which favors the use of foods with a relatively low glycemic index.
This type of diet is essential for a successful antiaging program for many reasons:
Antiaging Benefits of a Low Glycemic Diet
- A low glycemic index diet lowers fasting insulin levels which promotes the ability to burn stored fat and improve body composition. Without lowering fasting insulin, weight loss is almost impossible no matter how much exercise you do or how much you restrict your caloric intake.
- Elevated fasting insulin levels are also associated with many chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease. A low glycemic diet lowers fasting insulin levels.
- Elevated fasting insulin is also correlated with elevated CRP which is a measure of your total body inflammation. This correlates with diseases such as cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, arthritis, and cancer.
- Low fasting insulin also results in greater effectiveness of human growth hormone replacement therapy and higher natural IGF1 levels by allowing higher levels of IGF-1 to be produced by the liver, since high insulin levels may reduce IGF1 production through a negative feedback loop.
- Lowering insulin and glucose levels reduces the damage to cellular proteins caused by glycosylation or the binding of excess sugar to cellular proteins as measured by HgA1c. Glycation of proteins, or the sticking of sugar to protein molecules, is thought to be one of the mechanisms of aging.
You will receive instruction on an enjoyable low glycemic index diet as part of your antiaging program.
Leptin Diet - this is the ideal structure of a low glycemic index diet (read "Mastering Leptin")
Leptin is a newly discovered protein hormone that regulates body weight and metabolism. Leptin is produced by fat tissue and is secreted into the bloodstream where it travels to the brain and other tissues. Leptin causes fat loss and decreased appetite. It also plays a very important role in calorie intake and calorie burning.
The following dietary suggestions are based on the theory of eliminating leptin resistance and restoring a normal leptin balance.
This diet is fairly strict and may be difficult to follow for some. It may be that the Zone diet can serve as an intermediate diet if you have been eating a high glycemic index and / or high fat diet and find this diet too difficult to follow at first
The 5 Rules of the Leptin Diet
Rule 1: Never eat after dinner.
Finish eating 3 hours before bedtime. Never go to bed on a full stomach. Allow 11-12 hours between dinner and breakfast. For approximately the first 6-8 hours after eating our evening meal, the body is burning up the calories from that day. The most effective fat burning time (i.e. stored fat in our thighs, bums and tums) is between approximately 8 and 12 hours after eating. If we have a little snack before bedtime, or have our evening meal too late, the leptin tells the brain that no energy is required, and no fat burning will occur in the latter part of the night.
Rule 2: Eat 3 meals per day. Allow 5-6 hours between meals. Do Not Snack.
During the first three hours after a meal, insulin is in charge of storing the calories from the food we have eaten. During this time we are not in 'fat-burning mode'. Even low-calorie snacks stimulate insulin release.
If you find it too difficult to wait 5 hours before eating, then you can start this plan by eating four meals per day, instead of three. In time, with regular exercise added, you will more and more often be able to leave 5 hours between meals. The most important time is the night-time 11-12 hour fat-burning interval.
Children and teenagers of normal weight, athletes and bodybuilders will probably need to eat more often than three times per day. However, try to avoid unhealthy snacks or sodas.
Rule 3: Do not eat large meals.
The idea behind this is to not give the body more fuel than it can use. Regular large meals leads to leptin and insulin resistance. One of the best techniques for reducing the size of meals is to eat slowly and chew really well. It takes the brain ten minutes to realize you are full. If you really can't slow down, then put down your knife and fork for 5 minutes when you've eaten about half your food. Don't feel you have to 'clean your plate' if you have had enough.
Rule 4: Eat a high-protein breakfast.
This keeps the body in a calorie-burning mode. Eating a protein breakfast supports blood sugar levels so that late afternoon energy crashes are minimized. These energy crashes are often the result of eating a breakfast with too many carbohydrates and very little protein. If you eat a high carbohydrate breakfast, and are leptin resistant, you are more likely to overeat generally, but particularly at night.
Rule 5: Reduce the amount and glycemic index of carbohydrates eaten.
This does NOT mean cutting out all, or virtually all, carbohydrates. We do need carbohydrates to maintain health. However, eating too many carbohydrates at lunchtime may cause you to be ravenously hungry before dinner, tempting you to break rule 3 (no snacking). The recommended a ratio of 50/50. That is, a palm sized portion of protein, and the same amount of starch. In other words, meat, fish, egg or vegetable protein the size of your palm, could be matched with an equal amount of rice, bread, potato, fruit or dessert. Along with this, eat as many vegetables as you like, but go easy with the peas, corn and cooked carrots. You can easily check whether you're eating too many carbohydrates. Weigh yourself first thing in the morning, and again at bedtime. If, at bedtime, you weigh more than 2 pounds over your morning weight, and you followed Rules 1-4 during the day, then you've eaten too many carbohydrates that day.
More Glycemic Index links:
Gourmet Low Glycemic Diet - Food Delivery Service - contact me for details - Atlanta area only