Glycemic Index Eating- The Best Way to Reduce Excess Weight- Part 2

Dr. Brenda Gill
By Dr. Brenda Gill
March 16th, 2009

Last time around, I talked about what caused fat to be stored in the body. In this column I’ll focus on the foods that should be the majority of our diet.

Fats and proteins don’t create blood sugar, whereas carbohydrates do. They vary widely depending on their sugar content and speed of absorption. The higher the sugar content, such as refined desserts and tropical fruits compared to moderate climate fruits such as apples and strawberries, the higher the amount of blood sugar formed. The more refined, starch-based foods and sugars are digested and absorbed much more quickly.

There were no processed foods, white flour, sugar, potatoes or rice during our ancestors. They ate mostly vegetables, local fruits, beans, wild grains that contributed lots of roughage and plenty of protein from fowl, fish and meat.

So, what is important is to distinguish between foods that produce high blood sugars from those that produce low blood sugars. This is called the Glycemic Index of Foods. The higher the index, the higher the blood sugar increase. The values range from 1-100.

Losing weight basically means eating low glycemic index foods as much as possible. Insulin deposits blood sugar into cells and once the blood sugar is down to normal in the bloodstream and there is no more insulin, the body has to look elsewhere for energy. The hormone glucagon kicks in and removes fat from cells to produce energy; thus, the start of losing weight. Therefore, shedding body fat doesn’t start until a few hours after consuming carbohydrates. You need to take extended breaks between meals if you want to lose weight, especially sweet or starchy meals/drinks. Proteins do not interfere with glucagon.

At all times, day or night, our body needs energy for functioning. During the day, our level of energy use varies, depending on our activity level– the higher the level, the faster the insulin level decreases and the sooner the glucagon is released. So, fat burning starts earlier at higher activity levels. Even at night, fat burning continues. While we are asleep, about three hours after our last carbohydrate meal, glucagon starts burning fat.

To get fat burning started early on, avoid those late cookies, chocolates, cereal, alcoholic drinks or sweet nightcaps. Eating protein foods actually accelerates the fat burning process, because protein provides nutrients for cell building, and to break the protein down requires energy. Protein also helps produce noradrenalin, a hormone that tells our brain we’ve had enough to eat. So, if you have to have a snack at night, it should be some almonds, sunflower seeds or a food with protein and good oils.

Dr. Brenda Gill is a naturopath practicing in Rossland, BC.

Categories: General

Other News Stories