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Low Glycaemic index and weight loss questions answered

Following a low glycaemic index diet is not a magic bullet for weight loss however, it can be used to help promote long-term weight management and healthy eating. To lose weight, the fundamental principle apply to any diet you choose – eat less, be more active, eat a healthy diet containing plenty of whole grains, fruit and vegetables.

What is the difference between Glycaemic Index (GI) and Glycaemic Load (GL)?

GI is a measure of the digestion and absorption of a specific amount of foods (50 g carbohydrate) and their effect on blood glucose. GL take into account the portion of the food consumed. GL is therefore more reflective of the actual amount of carbohydrate in a food. However, when providing simple and generic information, GI is used for simplicity.

How does the GI of a meal affect feelings of fullness?

Research has shown that low-GI foods typically result in higher satiety than high-GI foods. They also help reduce calorie intake at subsequent meals. As low-GI food is digested and absorbed more slowly, receptors in the gastrointestinal tract are stimulated for longer resulting in prolonged feedback to the area of the brain that tells us we are full.

Why might low-GI be better than low carbohydrate for fat loss?

Low-GI diets don’t restrict carbohydrate intake but they require a careful selection of the types of carbohydrates chosen. There is no need for calorie counting or portion control, which reduces the problem with feelings of hunger often associated with weight loss diets. In addition, a low-GI diet promotes fat oxidation and the increase of lean body mass.

How does GI affect appetite?

The hormone responsible for regulating appetite and metabolism is called leptin. A low level of leptin is normally associated with increased appetite and reduced energy expenditure. Research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has shown that leptin concentrations decreased to a greater extent with a low-GI diet when compared to a high-GI diet.