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What is a low glycemic diet?

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Quick Answer

A low glycemic diet is one that is concerned with a food's effect on blood sugar levels. According to WebMD, some popular low glycemic diets include Sugar Busters, the Zone Diet and Nutrisystem.

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Developed to help diabetics control their blood sugar levels, the diet assigns a number to carbohydrates -- from 0 to 100 -- according to how much each one raises blood sugar levels. The higher the number, the bigger the effect on blood sugar. The Mayo Clinic states that foods and beverages that are rated 55 and under are ones that have a minor effect on blood sugar, while those rated 70 and over have an extreme effect. Those rated from 56 to 69 have a medium effect. To keep blood sugar steady, it is recommended that the dieter eat carbohydrates from the low and medium list as much as possible.

Although low glycemic diets are used for weight loss, the Mayo Clinic cautions that there is no scientific consensus that it helps people lose weight.

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