Q:

How does the GI diet work?

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Quick Answer

The G.I., or glycemic-index, diet works by having dieters track the glycemic index of the carbohydrates they eat. Foods with a high glycemic index make blood sugar rise quickly, causing insulin to be released, which in turn removes sugar from the bloodstream and creates cravings. The G.I. diet encourages consumption of low-glycemic carbohydrates that create a steady rise, rather than a spike, in blood sugar and are therefore more satisfying.

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Full Answer

The G.I. diet calls for dieters to avoid eating many foods with a high glycemic index of 70 or more, including pretzels, crackers, white bread, bagels, sugar-sweetened beverages and white rice. Instead, dieters are encouraged to fill up on carbohydrates with a low glycemic index of 55 or less, including peas, hummus, oatmeal, beans, skim milk, peanuts and most fruit. Foods with a medium glycemic index, such as spaghetti, corn, grapes and ice cream, should be eaten moderately on the diet.

During phase one of the G.I. diet, dieters are asked to reduce calorie intake by 500 calories a day. Depending on the amount of weight to be lost, this phase can last around three months. Phase two of the diet focuses on weight maintenance.

Popular diets that are similar in design to the G.I. diet include Nutrisystem, Sugar Busters and the Zone Diet. While the G.I. diet may be effective at helping to prevent heart disease or diabetes, there is no evidence that it promotes weight loss or maintenance better than other diets.

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