Glycemic Index – Weight Loss Fact or Fiction?


We’ve been saying “diets don’t work“, for over 33 years now (in fact, to my knowledge we were the first), so why do I keep blogging about the newest diet trend? I’m not sure, except, this year, weight loss camps just keep coming! Year after year they appear like clockwork, the magic pill, the book, the hook, the pill, the talking heads.

And for many consumers, it’s hard not to feel manipulated, duped and done. It’s also amazing to me how fast a new diet book or nutritional concept can catapult a mass market media campaign that shows itself so quickly on our TV sets, grocery store shelves and even in our pantries.

So what’s the newest magical solution to weight loss for 2006? GI.  What, you say? Well, that stands for glycemic index.  And there’s already ‘controversy’. Originally, a professor at University of Toronto created the GI to show which foods worked best for folks with diabetes. He was able to create a system or ‘index’ to show how much someone’s glucose rose after they ate certain

Now, unfortunately, some within the diet industry have tapped into this science and are applying it to their marketing and sales campaigns. The trouble with that? There’s no proof that glucose levels in the blood have much if anything to do with weight loss.

Susan Raatz, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School who just finished a study on the GI says, “Calories are what really count. Low GI is not adding any magic bullet to improve weight loss.”

Additionally, diabetes expert Mario Franz, who is an advisor to the American Diabetes Association says, “The original intent of the glycemic index concept is being misinterpreted by the diet books.”

So, it seems to me what always holds true, holds true when we worrying about food. Targeting food as bad or good does not promote healthy eating and most definitely doesn’t help us find our way to a happy, healthy life. It’s simply easier and less painful to take ownership and find a sensible way to enjoy a diverse, yet healthy diet within the context of a full life…and we can!

Source of article referred to above: Janet Helm of the Chicago Tribune.

4 responses to “Glycemic Index – Weight Loss Fact or Fiction?”

  1. Cindy D says:

    Hello, I am enjoying all the articles in this blog. Re: glycemic index, I have never thought that low glycemic index foods contribute to weight loss, it has been my impression that eating low GI foods will effect a slower rise and fall of your blood glucose levels, thereby decreasing food cravings and afternoon binges. Can you comment on the validity or lack of on the topic of low GI foods. Thanks

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hi Cindy. I’m glad you enjoy the blog. I went to our resident expert on this subject, Dr. Alan Wayler* and this is his response:

    “In theory, low GI foods presumably promote better hunger management in individuals, via their subtle regulation of blood sugar via insulin release and metabolism. However, in the real world, people typically eat ‘meals’ making the glycemic index of specific foods meaningless. As a program Green Mountain encourages people to eat balanced meals, not specific foods, to better manage their eating and weight. Relative to binges, in truth, glycemic index has nothing to do with it…binges are purely associated with emotional antecedents or triggers. Hope this helps”.

    *Alan’s credentials: Ph.D. in Nutritional Biochemistry and Metabolism, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a MS in Human Nutrition, Institute of Human Nutrition, Columbia University and a BS in Psychology, University of Vermont

  3. Cindy says:

    Hi, Cindy…I forgot to post my name. I just wanted you to know it was ‘me’ that responded to your post. Cheers!

  4. Sam says:

    I actually followed a health regiment that a friend was using that was recovering from addiction. I just did it because it promoted healthy fats and carbs but I noticed that I started losing weight. Might be basic stuff but it was the first that I had heard of it. A good article titled “The Importance of Nutrition in Addiction and Recovery” –

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