Column: Glycemic Index Eating. The Best Way to Reduce Excess Weight. Part 3
In my previous article, I talked about which foods and drinks caused fat to be stored in the body. This article will focus on specific foods/drinks that should be the majority of our diet.
Refined foods get absorbed quickly during digestion, leading to abnormally high blood sugar levels, therefore, abnormal insulin production. This prolonged exposure to insulin dulls the cells reception of sugar and makes them less responsive to absorbing sugar. This results in increasingly higher levels of insulin and prolonged periods of high blood sugar levels. This leads to more fat created, decreased glucagon production and eventually Type 2 Diabetes.
Drinking fluids between meals and eating fibre speeds up the movement of food by lubricating the digestive system, so decreasing the blood sugar level. Drinking liquids also keeps our cells well hydrated and efficient to burn more fuel, whereas, coffee/black/green/yerba mate/honeybush or rooibos tea and alcohol dehydrate our cells and decrease their receptiveness to insulin. When sweet drinks are consumed with fatty meals, the drinks help deposit the fat from the food into the cells. If we drink water consistently throughout the day instead, our metabolisms change and we have less craving for sweet drinks. Therefore, by drinking water, we reduce our appetite.
If you want to lose weight, your body has to lose fatty reserves. It helps a great deal if you exercise, because exercise requires extra energy, which uses up blood sugar. After eating a moderate meal, by doing some moderate activity, the blood sugar will not be stored as fat. Once the blood sugar has decreased to its normal level, the energy you expend through further exercise comes from fat reserves you burn.
Fat burning works with continued moderate exertion-anything that lets you perspire. A minimum of 45 minutes of moderate exercise a day is what you need for fat burning. With regular exercise, your body develops a higher metabolic rate, which burns more energy all the time, even when you are sleeping! Fat burning works best if you exercise on an empty stomach. When your blood sugar is at normal, all the energy required comes from stored fat.
To eat slim and healthy, you need a balanced diet of all major food groups. The key to success is to make the right selection within each group. On a regular basis, eat balanced protein to carbohydrates with a low GI value and a high fibre content.
Eat plenty of fish, soy, poultry, eggs and lean meats such as buffalo, because these are proteins and have a GI value of 0. Fish is especially beneficial because the fats in fish are HDL’s, which remove fatty deposits from artery walls and reduces the likelihood of strokes. Soy milk and tofu are also excellent, because they are excellent sources of protein. Small amounts of yogurt, raw nuts and seeds are fine as well and make great snacks.
Most vegetables and salads have a low GI and provide fibre for digestion. So, you can eat lots of these foods– 5-6 servings/day. The exceptions are beets, carrots, sweet corn and potatoes, because of their sugar content and speed of absorption.
Dr. Brenda Gill is a naturopath practicing in Rossland.