Carrots are a good example of the lack of precision inherent in using only the glycemic index. They are high in fiber and nutrient rich, but their GI is 35. Carrots are relatively low in calories, and when they are eaten raw their glycemic effect is lessened further, as the body does not absorb all of the calories in raw foods. The GL is the accurate measurement here, not the GI. Carrots are not a negative food, even for the diabetic, as the GL is only 3. This is why raw carrots are a favorable weight loss– promoting food. Instead of focusing narrowly on the concept of GI, we have to consider the other values of the food as well as the healthful qualities and GL of the entire meal when put together. By the way, weight loss and micronutrient adequacy are more important than minor and temporary fluctuations in blood sugar, because they lead to long-term wellness and resolution of the diabetic condition.
Studies evaluating the negative effects of a higher glycemic diet revealed that foods composed of low-nutrient, low-fiber, processed grains and sweets have deficiencies, and they harm far beyond their glycemic response. Processed foods are also low in fiber, phytonutrients, and antioxidants and are rich in toxic acrylamides. In addition to having a high GL, they are disease-promoting foods. When a diet is rich in nutrients, the disease-protective qualities of these foods and their weight-loss benefits overwhelm any insignificant drawback from their moderate GL.
UNDERSTANDING THE GLYCEMIC INDEX
|Food||Glycemic Index||Glycemic Load|
|White Potato (1 medium baked)||90||29|
|White Rice (1 cup cooked)||68||29|
|Brown Rice (1 cup cooked)||58||24|
|White Pasta (1 cup cooked)||53||21|
|Chocolate Cake (1⁄10 box cake mix + 2T frosting)||38||20|
|Raisins (1⁄4 cup)||64||19|
|Corn (1 cup cooked)||52||18|
|Sweet Potato (1 medium baked)||69||14|
|Black Rice (1 cup cooked)||65||14|
|Grapes (1 cup)||59||14|
|Rolled Oats (1 cup cooked)||55||13|
|Whole Wheat (1 cup cooked)||30||11|
|Mango (1 cup)||51||11|
|Lentils (1 cup cooked)||40||9|
|Apple (1 medium)||39||9|
|Kiwi (2 medium)||58||8|
|Green Peas (1 cup cooked)||53||8|
|Butternut Squash (1 cup cooked)||51||8|
|Kidney Beans (1 cup cooked)||22||7|
|Blueberries (1 cup)||53||7|
|Black Beans (1 cup cooked)||20||6|
|Watermelon (1 cup)||76||6|
|Orange (1 medium)||37||4|
|Carrots (1 cup cooked)||39||3|
|Carrots (1 cup raw)||35||2|
|Cashews (1 ounce)||25||2|
|Strawberries (1 cup)||10||1|
Recently a systematic review was performed of published human intervention studies comparing high- and low-GI foods or diets and their effects on appetite, food intake, energy expenditure, and body weight. In a total of thirty-one short-term studies, the conclusion was that there is no evidence that low-GI foods are superior to high-GI foods in regard to long-term body weight control. More recent research compared the exact same caloric diets, one with a lower and one with a higher GL, and demonstrated that lowering the GL and GI of weight-reduction diets does not provide any added benefit to calorie restriction in promoting weight loss in obese subjects. So the GI and GL are important, but they cannot be the primary focus of a healthy diet. They are just one of many aspects to be considered when understanding what makes this proposed diet style ideal. This will come into play in the design of the optimal diet and best carbohydrate choices in chapter.
The important point to remember is that a diet with a high micronutrient density already has a favorable GL. It is also low in saturated fat, high in fiber, rich in phytochemicals, and naturally alkaline. In other words, instead of focusing on one positive aspect alone, consider all the positive features of what makes a diet style disease protective. Fad diets too often rely on one aspect of food and digestion regardless of the potential positive and negative factors that exist simultaneously. So the GL plays a role in designing the optimal reversal diet for a diabetic, but let’s not allow the GI or the GL to be the sole determinant of our diet.
Also keep in mind that nutrient-density scoring is not the only factor that determines good health. For example, if we ate only foods with a high nutrient-density score, our diets would be too low in fat. So we have to pick some foods with lower nutrient-density scores (but preferably the ones with the healthier, higher nutrient-containing fats such as seeds and nuts) to include in our high-nutrient diet. Additionally, if thin or highly physically active people ate only the highest-nutrient foods, they would become so full from all of the fiber and nutrients that they would be unable to meet their caloric needs and would eventually become too thin. This, of course, gives you a hint at the secret to establishing a permanent low body-fat percentage if you have a metabolic hindrance to weight loss.But, shhh, don’t tell anybody about this.
Optimal health cannot be expected without attention to the consumption of high-micronutrient foods. For example, a vegan diet, centered on high-starch foods such as white rice, white potatoes, refined cereal grains, and bread products, does not contain sufficient micronutrient richness for maximizing longevity. In some susceptible individuals, the lack of attention to micronutrient density may even be disease causing.
Hundreds of individuals have lost over a hundred pounds, some even more than two hundred pounds, and several more than three hundred pounds by following this nutritarian diet. Countless others have just lost the amount of weight they needed to earn back their health. But it is not just about weight loss. Utilizing large volumes of nutrient-rich vegetation in the diet has been demonstrated to lower cholesterol more effectively than cholesterol-lowering drugs. My patients routinely and predictably see their blood pressure return to normal and their atherosclerotic heart disease or peripheral vascular disease melt away as well.
Another revolutionary finding besides the importance of consuming a sufficient quantity and variety of nutrients is that high-nutrient eating suppresses your appetite. You naturally desire fewer calories. So although this book is about eating less, you don’t realize you are eating fewer calories and you don’t desire more calories. The nutritarian diet style blunts your desire to overeat. In the following pages, we will discuss this added benefit and the ins and outs of hunger and cravings.