Glycemic Index (GI) Diet

The Glycemic Index (GI) diet has been gaining in popularity over the past few years, ranking as one of the few diets to provide a hearty meal plan that still leaves enough wiggle room for the burning of excess fat.

Developed by Dr. David Jenkins, a well-respected professor of nutritional studies at the University of Toronto in Canada, the Glycemic Index aims to measure the speed at which foods are metabolized by the body into glucose by counting the amount of carbohydrates contained in them. The diet based on that index encourages low GI foods like fruits, vegetables, lean meat and others, while discouraging high GI foods like processed products that have had essential minerals and nutrients stripped out.

While difficult to call a breakthrough in terms of science, this scale does an excellent job of guiding diets in the right direction when it comes to choosing the foods that make up the bulk of their dietary intake. Low-GI foods are those with a low number of carbs, meaning that people following the diet will concentrate the bulk of their diet on non- or less-processed foods that are nutrient-rich and high in fibre, instantly providing healthy benefits.

The GI Diet: Studies and Research

While it has stirred up some controversy within scientific circles, official, peer-reviewed studies have shown that the GI index is at least sometimes effective in encouraging weight loss. A 2010 study conducted in Europe and published in the well-regarded New England Journal of Medicine showed correlation between adherence to the GI diet with the addition of increased protein and the maintenance of weight of obese adults with a trend of weight gain, although those results were not enough to please the government-issued Dietary Guidelines for America, a document that states that the beneficial effects of the GI diet remain unproven.

Additional Benefits

Recorded in studies but still controversial pending further research, the GI diet has also tentatively been found to be linked with a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes and even some cancers. With the details of that link still needing to be fleshed out, it remains to be seen just how effective the GI diet is, in these and other areas of human health.

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