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Glycemic index

by Randall Neustaedter OMD

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Question

Would you please comment to your readers on the difference between carbohydrates based on grain & starch, vs. carbohydrates based on vegetables.

Dr. Neustaedter’s Response

Great question. Most everything that grows in the ground is a carbohydrate. Vegetables, fruits, grains, and sweets are all carbohydrates. Beans are carbohydrates with protein. Nuts are mostly protein and fats. Here’s the main concept. Certain carbohydrates stimulate a strong insulin response. These foods have a high “glycemic index,” which simply means they get the body to produce more insulin. And this excess insulin is not good because it tells the body to store fat, suppress muscle growth, and stop fat-burning mechanis

The degree to which you need to avoid these foods depends on your body mass, your age, and your state of health. People with a slow metabolism or low thyroid hormone production who gain weight easily need to diligently avoid high glycemic index foods in order to maintain their weight. These types of carbohydrates will aggravate diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis. Anyone who wants to lose weight must stay away from high glycemic foods, especially grains, which surround us like a sea of temptation in the form of bread, crackers, donuts, cookies, and pastries.

The only successful method of serious weight loss for most people is a high protein, low glycemic index diet. That means avoiding grains, starches, and sweet foods. Eat lots of green vegetables. Eat frequent protein meals (organic meats, dairy, beans, and nuts). Eat fruits for their valuable vitamins and antioxidants. You must also maintain an exercise program to lose weight.

Children need more carbohydrates than adults because they need the calories for growth and to support their (usually) higher level of activity. They must avoid sweetened foods that contribute to obesity. They need protein for growth and building muscle. They need fresh fruits (not fruit juice) for their nutrients. And they need calcium for bone growth. If kids get some vegetables, that’s nice, but unlikely.

For further reading about diet and nutrition see Andrew Weil, Eating Well for Optimum Health, Robert Atkins, New Diet Revolution, and Joseph Mercola The No-Grain Diet. These books will contradict each other in places, but you can decide for yourself which program makes the most sense for you.

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