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Can eating foods low on the glycemic index help with weight loss?

Judy Caplan
Nutrition & Dietetics Specialist
Yes but you still have to watch your total intake of food and calories. Eating a low glycemic index diet helps control your blood sugar. However you can still eat too much and gain weight. Choose lower GI foods but watch the portion size. If you eat low on the glycemic index and control the number of servings and portion size, you are on your way to dropping pounds.
Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

The glycemic index (GI) is a numerical system that ranks carbohydrates on a scale of 0 to 100, according to their effect on blood glucose (sugar) levels. In Harvard studies, scientists measured the amount of sugar that different foods put into the body right after they were ingested. Foods that gave a sugar “boost” appeared to increase weight gain and obesity, as well as added to the risk of heart disease and diabetes. These studies reported that foods pure in protein and fat (such as meat, chicken, and fish) had a GI of zero. A food low on the GI (meat, chicken, fish, soy products, and some vegetables) caused a small rise in blood sugar. A food high on the GI (baked potato and other starchy foods) triggered a more dramatic rise, which may cause an increase in appetite.

To use the glycemic index for weight loss, select foods low on the GI, including low-fat diary; low-fat protein, tofu, nuts and legumes; non-starchy vegetables; breakfast cereals based on wheat bran, barley, and oats; whole grain breads made with whole seeds; barley, pasta, and rice instead of potatoes; and vinegar and lemon juice dressings.

Avoid foods high on the GI, including potatoes, refined grains, sweets, vegetables high in starch (corn), candy, and pastries. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.