Glycemic Index Diet

The Glycemic Index Diet

What is the glycemic index diet? It is a diet based on the correlation between foods that have carbohydrates and blood sugar levels and release of insulin.

The glycemic index diet is marketed as beneficial for those who suffer from type 2 diabetes, and would most certainly aid in shedding some extra pounds.

The glycemic index (GI) came into existence in the 1980s and became a gadget for diabetics to control spikes in their blood sugar. (1) GI ratings range from 1 t0 100, with 0-55 considered low glycemic, 56-69 in the middle, and 70-100 being considered high glycemic substances.

What does this mean? It means that consumption of foods with high glycemic ratings are more probable to result in spikes in blood sugar for suffers of type 2 diabetes, which heightens the risk of continuing high blood sugar readings. (2)

Biology and Nutrient Composition

Many carbohydrates contain starches, sugars, and fiber. The body is able to break down starches and sugars and turn them into glucose, which powers our cells. Fiber passes through and the body does not digest it.

Two key hormones to control blood sugar are released by the pancreas. Glucose from the blood is moved to cells to utilize for power thanks to Insulin. Glucagon sends for stored glucose in the liver to be let go into the body when blood sugar levels dip.

Foods rich with fiber are most often digested and used more slowly. It is theorized that the more even and measured the speed for release of energy, the more potential good results there can be for regulating the three key parts of health well-being: blood sugar, appetite, and weight control. (3)

Getting to know the GI values of different foods to help you choose what to eat is an alternative method to controlling your consumption of carbs. The technique is meant to assist in the selection of foods that have carbohydrates that will be processed slower, while steering you away from foods that spike your blood sugar. (4)

What you need to take away is that GI values are very beneficial in determining what are “good carbs” and “bad carbs”.

Glycemic Rating

The glycemic index is only applicable to foods that contain carbohydrates. Proteins and fats are not big pieces of the puzzle, however, consumption of fats and protein alongside carbohydrates can affect the blood sugar levels’ response to the carbs. (5)

There are foods out there that contain fats AND carbohydrates, such as seeds and nuts, but the carbohydrate content in these foods are so low that they are often seen as fatty foods.

Consider this: A baked russet potato’s glycemic rating is 111. This food is most likely going to spike blood sugar due to it being well over the top of the GI charts. Garbanzo beans, on the other hand, have a super low glycemic rating of 6. (6) These aren’t the only legumes with pretty low GI values.

A GI rating and a glycemic load (GL) value are different on the basis of serving sizes. Watermelon’s GI value is 80, which would be considered “high”, howevr, one would have to consume a lot of watermelon to reach the amount of digestible carbs it would take to spike their blood sugar, due to watermelon being 92 percent water. (7)

A formula is applied by analysts that can give you a better grasp of your response to a specific food by dealing with the portion size problem. The amount of food that you have consumed will determine the effect it has on your blood sugar levels. If you consume a little more than 4 ounces of watermelon, the GL is 5, which is quite low.

How do you find out if the food you’re eating will actually affect your blood sugar? You have to multiply the GI value by the number of carbohydrates in one serving. Then divide the product by 100. Quotients between 1 and 10 are considered low, medium ranges from 11 to 19, and anything above 20 is considered high.

For instance, a single cake doughnuts contains 23 carbs and has a GI value of 76. You can multiply 76 by 23 and divide the product by 100 to get a GL rating of 17.48. The GL of the cake doughnut is in the higher end of the medium bracket.GL rating of one cake doughnut has 23 carbs and a GI value of 76.

A whole wheat English muffin has a GI of 45; a white wheat English muffin clocks in at 77, so it’s easy to see a single serving of the refined flour product will have a greater impact on blood sugar levels.

There is plenty of information online about glycemic ratings. In fact, the University of Sydney has a facility for GI testing that allows you to search for common foods and get their GI values. (8)

Clinical Trials and Studies

The OmniCarb Randomized Clinical Trial found no hard evidence supporting the notion that consumption of foods with low GI values improved sensitivity to insulin, systolic blood pressure, or levels of cholesterol. (9)

The National Institutes of Health stated that additional studies would be needed to determine long-term effects of glycemic index diets after they reviewed a variety of clinical trials. (10)

The Glycemic Index diet is part of a list of diets that can assist one in managing diabetes; it joins other diets such as the Mediterranean diet, protein-rich diets, and low-carb diets. (11)

A study of GI and GL ratings and how they relate to diet and illness found that many subjects indicated that additional nutritional factors must be linked so that accurate conclusions can be drawn. (12)

Make sure you also take note of our forskolin review which talks about its ability to directly influence glycemic levels as well. We also briefly touch upon this in our post here and here.

There have been no long-term studies of the effect of GI diets made available yet, however a year and half long trial that tracked weight deviations in Brazilian women who subscribed to the diet did not find promising results for being able to prevent weight gain.

Thinking about starting the glycemic index diet? Just be reminded that how you combine options on the menu can lessen the effect of foods that would cause a blood sugar spike. Think about combining high GI foods with proteins, fats, or low GI foods.

You don’t even need to count calories or worry about controlling your portions when using the GI diet. You should keep a handheld device with you when you’re buying food, so that you can see the GI and GL ratings of what you’re about to consume.




Traditional Asian Diet

Trimming fat using the traditional Asian diet

What is the traditional Asian diet? It’s a plant-rich diet that also contains a nice amount of fish and other seafood.

I strongly recommend trying out the traditional Asian diet if you want to experience the same benefits enjoyed by millions of people in a densely populated area of the world.

With the traditional Asian diet, there is plenty of diversity with what you can eat, due to the many cultural customs of Asian countries. Also, don’t fret about counting calories or controlling portions.

There are two not so surprising unifying foods of all traditional Asian diets: rice & plant foods, the former being eaten at every meal and often being the only food eaten in less wealthier households.

In fact, over 90 percent of the approximated 350 million tons of rice produced yearly is consumed in Asian countries. (1)

Are you a vegetarian? If so, you may want to consider a different diet. Most of the protein consumed in traditional Asian diets is in the form of fish and other seafood.

In 2000, it was estimated that fish was being consumed at an average rate of 154 pounds per person in Japan. (2) Beef is seldom consumed, while eggs and chicken are included more often, in case you aren’t a big seafood fan.

Exercise is, of course, a foundation of the traditional Asian diet (and is such visually depicted as the foundation in a customized pyramid) and it is recommended that you exercise daily to achieve the intended results.

As we continue to view the pyramid, we see rice, noodles and other whole grains sit at the bottom of food groups. Going up, we see fruits, vegetables and legumes composing the next layer, with fish and seafood above those. Foods eaten less often, such as oils, poultry, and sweets compromise the higher levels of the pyramid.

Red meat sits at the very top of the pyramid. (3)


Plant foods have been depended on heavily for nourishment by many Asian cultures.

This results in smaller quantities of saturated fats being consumed, with large quantities of fiber getting into their diet. Fiber is very beneficial as it can protect you against persistent diseases, such as cardiovascular issues and cancer. (4)

Protein requirements are also in large part satisfied by consuming plant foods. Soy foods, beans, and legumes are standards in most Asian cultures, and as such are often included in a variety of dishes, such as stir-fried veggies.

Other plants, such as root vegetables and tubers, are huge in Asian countries, as they’re simple to cultivate and distribute. They also fill you up and provide nutrition, and there wouldn’t be tradition in a traditional Asian diet without them, despite the local favorite in each area.

Carrots, yams, turnips, parsnips, beets, winter squash, and sweet potatoes are frequently Yams, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips, beets, and winter squash are often given prominence to in traditional Asian diets. These food are high in fiber, therefore not causing blood sugar spikes and protecting consumers against disease due to dense nutritional profiles. Plentiful antioxidants and vitamins A and C also are helpful components of the diet. (5)

Let’s not forget about leafy greens (such as bok choy and tatsoi), summer squash, onions, long beans, cucumbers, garlic, and peas. A single Asian dish often contains more different kinds of vegetables than you’ll see in an entire week’s worth of American meals, in case you haven’t noticed.

To prevent destroying delicate nutrients and save fiber, the veggies are often just lightly cooked. Sensible heat application allows your body to take away more good stuff from certain vegetables, such as cabbage, peppers, spinach, carrots, asparagus, and mushrooms. (6)

Have you ever seen an odd looking fruit? Odds are that it came from some Asian country. These odd fruits are very common in traditional Asian diets. A fruit called durian is known as the “King of Fruits” in Asia. It is quite a strange looking fruit with, sugary rambutan flesh being hidden under hairy skin. Word on the street is that it is very well worth the labor to extract it.

Feeling homesick? Don’t worry, household names like bananas and apples are also in traditional Asian diets, as well as pineapples, oranges, plums, lemons, and a collection of others.

Aside from rice, other frequently utilized grains include corn, barley, millet, and amaranth. A study conducted recently investigated the potential of ancient grains being able to decrease the frequency of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease among those who practiced Asian diets that had started to include refined grains such as wheat and white rice. Re-introducing whole grains to be used in traditional breads such as Indian chapatti is a suggested by experts, as they believe that this may be beneficial in fixing the aforementioned health problems. (7)

Health Benefits of Traditional Asian Diets

The Joslin Diabetes Center conducted a clinical trial which found that American and Asian participants who had a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes increased their insulin resistance by religiously following a traditional Asian diet. (8)

With its prominence of fruits, veggies, and whole grains, a traditional Asian diet provides plenty of dietary fiber, which is known to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (9). The National Institutes of Health confirmed this through a recent study of a group of more than 50,000 Japanese men and women, whom they followed over a 14 year period. The study found that a close association between high fiber consumption and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. (10)

If that wasn’t enough to convince you, a plant based diet is actually recommended by The World Cancer Research Center to decrease your chances of getting cancer, considering that a high consumption of fiber is vital in the prevention of bowel cancer. (11)

An Asian-Indian herb by the name of Turmeric is part of the blend of spices used to make mouth-watering curries. Eastern medicine has long recognized this herb’s medicinal properties due to diarylheptanoid it contains known as curcumin. Curcumin, when used as an alternative method of treating neurological disorders, has shown hopeful findings as it pertains to rehabilitating the overall memory capacity of suffers of Alzheimer’s. (12)

The cell reinforcement properties of green tea are all around archived, and scientists trust the catechin in tea may be the way to its helpful impacts in ensuring against coronary illness, several forms of cancer, and liver illness. Continuous studies may pinpoint the part green tea can play in avoiding metabolic disorder, diabetes and obesity. (13)


The traditional Asian diet supplies a plant heavy way to deal with developing key well-being. It could prove to be a brilliant move to shape your eat eating regimen after the traditions and propensities from a diverse area of the world where scientists keep on noting the formulas of sharp and dynamic centenarians. This is different than the Zone diet we discussed earlier.

If you eat fish and other seafood on a regular basis and can deal with not consuming dairy and seldom eating red meat, the traditional Asian diet could be just the thing for you!




Zone Diet

There are plenty of low carb, high protein, and low fat diets, but few diets focus on balancing a healthy portion of carbs, protein, and fat.

However, the zone diet is one of the few diets that does just this to positively influence your body’s response to foods.

Created by Dr. Barry Sears in 1995, the zone diet introduces a ratio of 40% carbs, 30% protein, and 30% fat at every meal. Two snacks should be eaten every day, and you should never go longer than five hours without eating something.

Dieting Simplified

This may sound like complicated may, but in reality the zone diet is really easy to follow. To balance the ratio correctly, you simply have to eat foods like:

• Low fat proteins like skinless chicken, egg whites, or other meats in portions similar to the palm of your hand.

• Choose carb sources mostly from vegetables and fruits.

• Limit fat intake to sources like olive oil, nuts or seeds, avocados, etc. The key is to eliminate trans fats and mostly saturated fats.

Sears claims that following these guidelines will normalize weight, stabilize blood sugar levels, and provide the perfect amount of fuel to keep mental acuity at peak levels throughout the day.

There are potential anti-inflammatory properties that may be appealing to this diet. This approach of dieting controls anti-inflammatory hormones and genes, which may reduce overall body inflammation and have a host of other benefits. Cutting and limiting foods that cause inflammation also may decrease the risk for developing chronic issues like heart disease, obesity, hypertension, and many more.

As said before, you may be able to stabilize your blood sugar as well. This is primarily because the zone diet forces you to consume carbs that are low on the glycemic index, which will reduce your insulin response to the food you eat. You’ll also feel fuller for a longer period of time.

Getting in “The Zone”

At first, calculating the percentage of fat, carbs, and protein for each meal can be a bit difficult. However, Sears claims it’s not as difficult as it may seem.

The ratios are more of a guideline than an exact science, and they don’t have to be dead on to produce the same desired effects. You should eyeball your plate and estimate portions though and that should help you follow the diet.

You should also pay attention to when you eat since you should never go too long without eating. Five hours is the maximum time in between meals, with the exception of when you sleep.

If you decide to use the zone diet for weight loss, then Sears recommends consuming 1,500 calories a day if you’re a man and 1,200 a day if you are a woman.

Similar to many other popular diets, the zone diet follows a pyramid illustration to show you what to eat.

• Vegetables make up the base of the diet, and you should consume mostly water-rich, non-starchy veggies.
• Fruits are the next level with a focus on variety. Make sure to switch it up every day.
• Lean proteins are next, with a focus on lean meats, fish, egg whites, legumes, and soy products.
• Mono-unsaturated fats from vegetables are next. This includes foods like nuts, seeds, avocado, and olive oil.
• Grains and starches are at the top, and only small amounts should be included.

Dr. Sears believes that the more “white foods” you eat, the more inflammation you will create in your body. This includes white breads, rice, pasta, and potatoes.

More About the Diet

The biggest problem with the zone diet is that it doesn’t contain dairy products, and dairy products are arguably the best way to take in calcium.

Consuming more leafy greens, nuts, and seeds, and soy products should be able to provide you with enough calcium per day. In the event they do not, you can take a calcium product to keep your body supplied with enough calcium.

Unlike the paleo diet, the zone diet does not eliminate grains completely, although it does limit them to a great extent. Vegetarians and vegans may find the zone diet more difficult, if not impossible to follow because of this.

However, limited grains serves one purpose – to limit the consumption of inflammatory foods. A review published in the NIH found that even whole grains can cause inflammation since they are still processed and often contain artificial ingredients.

What Does Science Say About the Zone Diet

The zone diet does focus on fruits and vegetables, which offers significant health benefits. For example, getting at least 30 grams of fiber daily is shown to aid in weight loss, drop blood pressure, and improve the body’s insulin response.

Fiber may also protect against various gastrointestinal disorders, and the zone diet is rich in fiber.

It is also rich in polyphenols, which are antioxidants that are abundantly available in fruits and vegetables. These antioxidants are said to reduce the risk for developing many chronic issues like heart disease and even some cancers.

Finally, diets with lower carbohydrate consumption have been shown to reduce abdominal fat faster than high-carb diets. This type of diet also improves insulin resistance, and may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

A recent report issued by the NIH summarizing findings regarding diets like the zone diet indicate that long-term studies are still needed to determine whether the zone diet ensures proper nutrition, although we don’t see how it would not provide the body with essential nutrients.

Final Thoughts

If you can manage to live without dairy products, and aren’t a big fan of grains, then following the zone diet should be easy. Since it focuses on fruits and vegetables, the zone diet may provide you with a number of benefits, like weight loss and improved digestion.

The zone diet may seem complicated, but in reality it’s a fairly balanced diet. Plus, since you don’t need to exactly measure portions, it isn’t difficult to follow this diet at all if you decide you’d like to try it.