Thursday, August 6, 2009

Low Glycemic versus Low Carb diet for weight loss

I have been on a low carb diet and losing weight with steady progress... then I read about low glycemic and thought I would give that a try. I've added toast at breakfast, pasta at lunch, and rice at dinner. I'm not gaining but I'm no longer losing like I was. I don't understand how these carbs are different from others; they look and taste high carb to me! And what's so bad about a potato? I find having a potato at dinner is very filling, but it's not recommended on the diet. Should I go back to low carb? --Thanks for the help, Lou R.

Dear Lou,

Low carb diets work for several reasons:
1) You are depriving your body of its preferred source of energy. As a back-up plan, your body turns to fat stores and forms a compound called "ketone bodies" that can be used in a pinch. They are not desirable to be retained in the body for long, and you'll find that you have an increase in amount of urination which is in order to flush them out. That's why low carb diets warn that you must drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, and people lose weight quickly--but it's largely water weight loss. Once you go back to eating normally, much of the weight returns.

2) Reducing carbohydrate intake greatly reduces calorie intake. It eliminates entire groups of food from your choices and you can no longer have bread, pasta, rice, starchy vegetables, fruits, dairy, or desserts. Naturally you lose weight since you've cut out hundreds of calories a day.

3) Since no carbs are allowed most of the foods people like to snack on are forbidden: without pretzels, ice cream, chips, candy, cookies, or popcorn allowed, there isn't much sitting in front of the TV munching on cheese and nuts going on for long. This takes away another large source of calories from the diet of people who are overweight.

Glycemic index is a measure of how much certain carbohydrate foods make your blood glucose level rise. It was intended for people with diabetes who found their blood sugars difficult to control. We also discovered that foods we thought were "good" for diabetics sometimes caused a large rise in blood sugar (potatoes, pretzels, some fruits), whereas drinking a fruit juice or even a sweetened beverage didn't always result in a higher glucose level. The problem with this number is it is a reflection of eating the food alone.... seldom do we eat a slice of bread or a baked potato and have nothing with it. Eating peanut butter on the bread or meat with a potato completel changes the effect on blood sugar. And, the effect on blood sugar probably doesn't have any effect on weight loss progress.

Now, if you are including carbs in your diet, you have lost the "ketone body" buildup and excretion which means you are losing much less in the way of water weight. If you still keep your carbohydrate intake reduced (with smaller portions and just one or two servings per meal) and you also reduce your portions of meat (6 ounces should be plenty), and skimp on fats (like added dressings, spreads, and oils) you will likely continue to lose weight because you will be taking in fewer calories than you were previously.

See this article for more information on glycemic index

No comments:

Post a Comment