The Glycemic Index and Dieting
by: Protica Research
The field of nutrition is awash with charts, tables, diagrams,
models, acronyms, and abbreviations; more than the average
person can memorize. As such, one often comes across someone who
has simply burnt out trying to keep track of how much to eat,
when to eat it, how to find the calories from fat, the RDI, the
DV, and so on. There is an overkill of useful information within
the nutrition field, and it can ironically provoke one to grow
weary and exhausted, tune out, and go grab a fast food burger.
Yet every once in a while, a concept within the nutrition field
emerges that truly demands attention. Over a decade ago, the
USDA's "Food Pyramid" was one such concept because it helped
eaters discover how many gaps existed in their typical daily
diet. Now, as the Food Pyramid begins to take a new shape, and
as the nutrition field works to establishes itself as the most
important branch of health care in the 21st century, an
invention called the Glycemic Index is taking center stage.
Glycemic Index (GI) is not new; it has been around for more than
2 decades. Yet until recently, its exposure beyond the world of
diabetes has been limited [i].
The Glycemic Index indicates how
"high" or "low" blood sugar levels change in response to
carbohydrate intake. A "high" Glycemic Index indicates
carbohydrates with a swift breakdown, whereas a "low" Glycemic
Index indicates carbohydrates with slow, gradual breakdown. Both
terms are of equal importance to diabetics, because there are
times with high Glycemic Index foods are required, and times
where low Glycemic Index foods are required.
Glycemic Index itself is not new, but its application far beyond
the borders of a diabetic dialogue is notable; especially for
People striving to lose weight often face a nemesis
much tougher than establishing an exercise regimen or
introducing healthier foods into their diet. The problem is one
of energy. Many dieters are surprised - and disturbed - to learn
that their diet program is causing them to lose more than inches
and pounds: they are losing energy.
This is often expressed as a
complaint, as in "I'm feeling weak", or even "I can't stay
awake". Many dieters and those advising them have erroneously
chalked this up to a matter of attitude, or will power, or some
The plain truth is that many dieters have
been oblivious to the Glycemic Index, and hence, to the fact
that many of the diet foods they have eaten - or are eating
right now - score very high Glycemic Index levels. As such,
these foods are providing a quick boost to blood sugar levels,
and then setting up the dieter for the inevitable fall. This is
because high GI foods typically increase blood sugar values,
which in turn trigger the hormone insulin to clear sugar from
the blood. Since blood sugar (a.k.a. glucose) largely dictates
the body's energy levels, it stands to reason that this process
manifests as an initial boost in energy, and then as a depletion
of energy. This rise and fall of blood sugar - and energy - is
often described by dieters using a "roller-coaster" analogy: one
minute they feel confident and strong, and the next, they are
about to pass out and require some kind of stimulant in order to
make it through the day.
Regrettably for many dieters, that
stimulant is usually more high Glycemic Index foods, such as
sugary snacks or soft drinks. It is easy to see how this
experience can lead an individual to stop dieting. After all,
before the diet, the individual was merely gaining weight. On
the diet, the individual is gaining weight and is exhausted for
most of the day. It is better to quit the diet.
scenario only takes place, however, when a dieter unwittingly
eats high Glycemic Index foods. Research has shown that low
Glycemic Index foods, which raise blood sugar levels much more
gradually than high Glycemic Index foods, are very helpful for
dieters [ii]. This is because a dieter will experience less of a
"roller-coaster" ride while on the diet, and furthermore, will
be less inclined to snack because energy in the form of blood
glucose is being released slowly and gradually. Low Glycemic
Index foods are much more efficient sources of energy than high
Glycemic Index foods, because the body needs less insulin to
convert food into energy [iii].
Despite the growing awareness
that low Glycemic Index foods are beneficial, the world of diet
foods has not kept pace. This is because many manufacturers are
searching frantically to find low Glycemic Index carbohydrates
sources for their products, and overlooking a basic, simple
fact: the lowest possibly Glycemic Index is no carbohydrates at
These zero-carbohydrate/zero sugar nutritional supplements
- which are quite rare in the market - do not deliver any sugar
to the bloodstream. As a result, dieters do not have to worry
about riding the "roller coaster" of energy spikes and pitfalls.
Yet there is an even greater benefit for dieters who choose a
'zero sugar' nutritional supplement. If that low Glycemic Index
nutritional supplement is rich in complete protein, then it will
act as a sort of antidote to high GI foods by helping to combat
their adverse consequences.
For example, a dieter who eats a
high Glycemic Index candy car can mitigate the roller-coaster
spike in blood sugar levels by eating a nutritional supplement
that has very low Glycemic Index and has a rich source of
complete protein. This is because the protein in the nutritional
supplement mixes with the high Glycemic Index of the candy bar,
and effectively lowers the overall Glycemic Index. This is
welcome news to dieters who would otherwise be seeing those
extra carbohydrates transformed by insulin into triglycerides,
and stored in adipose tissue; also known as body fat.
only a handful of nutritional supplements are designed to offer
zero carbohydrates and thus score as low as possible on the
Glycemic Index. And of these zero-carbohydrate products, even
fewer offer a rich source of complete protein that effectively
helps counter the blood sugar spike impact of high Glycemic
It is inspiring to note that Glycemic Index is
getting some well-deserved attention from outside the diabetic
community, where it has helped millions of people eat wisely.
Now, dieters and obese people can enjoy the wisdom that this
index promotes. ABOUT PROTICA Founded in 2001, Protica, Inc. is
a nutritional research firm with offices in Lafayette Hill and
Conshohocken, Pennsylvania. Protica manufactures capsulized
foods, including Profect, a compact, hypoallergenic,
ready-to-drink protein beverage containing zero carbohydrates
and zero fat.
[i] Source: "The G.I. Diet: A Food Drill". CBS News.
[ii] Source: "The Glycemic Index". The Healthy Weight
[iii] Source "Glycemic Index". WebMD.
Founded in 2001, Protica, Inc. is a nutritional research firm
with offices in Lafayette Hill and Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.
Protica manufactures capsulized foods, including Profect, a
compact, hypoallergenic, ready-to-drink protein beverage
containing zero carbohydrates and zero fat.
Information on Protica is available at
You can also learn about Profect at
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