Benefits of Low Glycemic Diets and Low Glycemic Food

by Webmaster,

Consuming low glycemic diets and low glycemic food (click here for a low glycemic food list) comes with numerous health benefits.

Generally, most of the foods we eat today which have high glycemic index (GI) are processed, refined and unnatural foods laden with various harmful chemicals, such as flavorings and preservatives. There is thus more reason than just their glycemic index value to cut them out from our diet.

Adverse health effects of high glycemic foods

Eating foods with high glycemic index causes our blood glucose level to suddenly soar. Click here for an explanation on what the glycemic index is, and how it works.

Broadly speaking, our bodies do not like extremes. Thus, because of their tendency to escalate blood glucose levels at a quick rate, high glycemic foods can be detrimental to health, especially in the long-run.

For example, in order to deal with the sudden increased levels of blood glucose, the pancreas will produce a large amount of insulin - insulin converts glucose in the blood to other forms for storage.

The high amount of insulin produced causes glucose levels in the blood to suddenly crash, and this makes one feel very hungry, even though one may have just eaten not long before.

This is why eating high glycemic foods, especially refined and processed food products like soda drinks, sugary foods and beverages, as well as polished grains, often causes serious weight problems, as it feeds the cycle of eat-hunger-eat-hunger.

Frequent ingestion of high-GI foods not only reduces the body's sensitivity to insulin, it also overworks the pancreas, causing degenerative conditions in the long run, such as diabetes. They also raise triglyceride levels in the blood.

In addition, frequent sudden increases in glucose levels in the blood increases oxidative damage to the heart, contributing to the development of heart disease.

Situation worsened by modern lifestyle and dietary habits and choices

The situation is worsened by the fact that many of us in the first world today consume way too much, especially in the form of empty calories; eat a lot of foods with high glycemic index values, such as sugary snacks and beverages as well as refined foods; and live largely sedentary lifestyles, meaning our bodies do not burn up the sugar which we are consuming in such large amounts.

All the above factors are direct causes of many serious diseases, such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer.

Low glycemic diets and low glycemic foods are friendlier on the body

On the other hand, most carbohydrates found in natural whole foods, such as fruits, grains, legumes and vegetables, are complex in nature and take longer to break down into glucose. This accounts for their low glycemic values and promotes a more moderate rise in blood glucose level which is sustained over a longer period of time.

Besides helping with weight control, low glycemic diets and low glycemic foods are also gentler on the pancreas.

A low glycemic diet containing mainly low glycemic foods would control the release of glucose into our bloodstreams at a steady and sustained rate, keeping our body's metabolic processes and energy levels balanced.

We would thus feel fuller for longer periods of time after eating, and our bodies would also be subject to less stress and extreme variations in conditions.

Health benefits of low glycemic diets and low glycemic food

All in all, low glycemic diets and low glycemic foods, backed by scientific evidence, are said to have the following health benefits:

  • Appetite control - low GI foods help to keep you full for more prolonged periods of time.

  • Cancer - decreased risk; a study in Australia showed that consumption of white bread and cereals high in sugar for breakfast over a sustained period of time increases the risk of cancer; it is also well-known that cancer cells feed on sugar.

  • Cholesterol - helps to lower and control 'bad' cholesterol levels.

  • Diabetes, Type 2 - lowers risk; those who followed a diet of low GI foods for several years had significantly lower risk of getting type 2 diabetes; for those already suffering from diabetes, it can help control the condition.

  • Endurance - improves physical endurance, as blood glucose levels are kept at a moderate level (instead of dipping drastically due to sudden insulin production) for a more sustained period of time.

  • Glucose levels in the blood - helps to control.

  • Heart disease - lowers risk; those who followed a diet of low glycemic index foods for several years had significantly lower risk of getting coronary heart disease.

  • Insulin sensitivity - while high-GI foods lower the body's sensitivity to insulin in the long run, low-GI foods help to maintain and even increase it.

  • Triglyceride / lipid levels in the blood - helps to lower and control.

  • Weight - helps with weight loss and maintenance of healthy weight.

Study on male rats carried out in 2004

As discussed above, eating foods with high glycemic index values over a prolonged period of time causes serious long-term health conditions. This was further proven in a study on male rats carried out in 2004.

The rats were split into two groups and fed different diets, low GI and high GI, over a period of 18 weeks. During that time, mean body weight of the rats was maintained.

By the end of the study, the following were observed in the group of rats which were fed a high-GI diet:

  • Blood triglyceride levels were 3 times as high
  • Fatter by more than 70%
  • Glycemia after meals was significantly higher
  • Insulin levels after meals were significantly higher
  • Lean body mass was 8% less
  • Pancreatic islet cells had "severely disorganised architecture and extensive fibrosis" i.e. the pancreas was damaged


    It is quite clear that consuming low glycemic index foods, as well as the adopting of an overall low glycemic diet, come with significant health benefits in the long run.

    As most of us consume many high glycemic, sugary and refined foods and snacks, this is something well worth looking into as far as healthy diet and nutrition is concerned.

    Do take note that foods with no or little carbohydrates in them do not typically have a value on the glycemic index.

    For some tips on how to consume a diet which is lower in its glycemic index value, click here.

    Click here for a low glycemic food list, or click here for some high glycemic foods to avoid or cut down on. For a general glycemic index listing of foods, click here instead.

    Read More: More on the Glycemic Index | Understanding Nutrition and its Importance | Nutrition Health Articles - Foods, Diets, Supplements, Nutrients and more | Information on some Herbs | Favorite Herbs, Herbals Formulas and Foods | Natural Health Supplements - What to Consider | Home Page | Site Search

    Want to learn how to quickly and easily make delicious, gluten-free, low-glycemic meals? Click here to access a gluten-free low-glycemic cookbook, especially useful for diabetics and allergy sufferers. Includes meat, vegetarian and vegan choices.

    Here is another resource - a beginner's answer guide, providing an overview on the glycemic index and how to use it to become healthier and lose weight.

    Glycemic Index-related Pages

    What is the Glycemic Index? - the glycemic index explained | Benefits of Low Glycemic Diets and Low Glycemic Food | Glycemic Index of Foods - limitations of the value | Eating Low Glycemic Foods - some tips | Glycemic Index Listing of Foods | Low Glycemic Food List | High Glycemic Foods to Avoid or Cut Down on

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