Richard G. Petty, MD

Glycemic Index Revisited

If you are anything like me, you probably find loads of adverts in your mailbox for magical ways to lose weight, either by using some form of the Atkins diet, manipulating cortisol (it doesn’t work), or by paying attention to the glycemic index of the food that you eat.

Last January I summarized some of the recent research that showed that glycemic index and glycemic load were not related to measures of insulin sensitivity or secretion, or to the amount of fat in the body. However, the intake of fiber in the diet was found to have beneficial effects on insulin sensitivity, adiposity and the secretion of insulin by the pancreas. I went on to give some uncontroversial advice on how to eat.

Nobody thought that the glycemic index issue was dead: insulin and the other hormones involved in fat and carbohydrate metabolism are powerful and have multiple roles in the body.

A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in July, helps further refine our understanding about glycemic index. High carbohydrate foods with a low glycemic index are the best way to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. The problem is that you want to avoid sudden surges in glucose after you eat a meal. What normally happens is that those surges are accompanied by sudden rises in triglycerides and insulin. The three together can cause all kinds of mischief to the insides of your blood vessels. High protein and low glycemic index diets will help with weight, but it’s only the combinations of high carbohydrates with low glycemic index that reduces the risk of vascular disease.

My redoubtable Web Mistress, Carol Kirshner, has found a most useful resource at the University of Sydney, that you can use to help guide your food choices.

This is such a useful resource that we are going to attach it to our blogs and websites.

However, it’s essential that we don’t get seduced by the idea that high carbohydrate/low glycemic index eating is the solution to all of our ills.

We still need to follow the basic principles of a balanced diet:

  1. It is important for you to maintain your energy balance, between input and output
  2. Calories do count
  3. What you include in your diet is as important as what you exclude: we are designed to consume not just rice and lettuce, but an array of other nutrients
  4. Make only moderate dietary changes at any time: making big dietary changes can be a violent attack on your body and your mind
  5. Avoid the “trans-fatty acids”
  6. Try to consume some Mercury-free omega-3 fatty acids every single day
  7. Eat fewer simple carbohydrates
  8. Use weight management and exercise strategies that enhance your overall health and well-being
  9. Take more exercise: even small amounts can have a big effect.
  10. Make it a goal to gradually reduction your overall intake of cereals

About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.

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