Low glycemic index diets may not necessarily be as beneficial as made out to be in the past. There has been a high number of diet plans created with a low glycemic index in the past. However, it seems only those with diabetes actually benefit from them.
The glycemic index is a way to determine the amount carbohydrates impact the blood sugar. Foods that are low on the index are considered to have little to no effect, while those high on the list are those that have a large effect. It was assumed to have a major impact on nutrition and health, but a new study contradicts that, especially when following a healthy diet otherwise.
Healthy foods can be on the high side of the glycemic index due to the way it affects the blood sugar. For example, bananas can be banned from many low glycemic index diets.
JAMA has published the study created by Frank Sacks and his colleagues. The study took five weeks to complete, and used four different types of diets on 163 people who were classed as either overweight or obese. They were either high or low glycemic index diets or high or low carb diets. The basis for all diets was established with the DASH diet. This is a low total and saturated fat diet, which is high in vegetables, fruits and low-fat dairy products.
Low glycemic index, low carb diets were compared to high glycemic index, high carb diets. Neither had a major impact on the systolic blood pressure, HDL or LDL cholesterol or the insulin sensitivity. The main change was that the triglycerides were reduced from 111mg/dL to 86mg/dL. In fact, the insulin level decreased and LDL cholesterol increased then a high carb diet was followed along with a low glycemic one.
The findings show that low glycemic index diets may not be as beneficial as previously expected. However, it is important to point out that the effect on typical U.S. diets was not trialled during the study. There was also no consideration for those who were attempting to lose weight or for those with diabetes. The evidence that the diet could support people following the diet for these reasons could still stand positively. The focus for the study was mainly on the overall and cardiovascular health.
Authors from the published study also pointed out that there are other factors to consider. These include the result from other nutrients in foods, including potassium and fiber. These can all help to affect the health positively.
None of the findings show that there is absolutely no benefit to low glycemic index diets. They simply show that they may not have been as greatly beneficial as once expected. The focus for individuals should be on following a healthy and balanced diet, over any other type. This is especially the case for those who are healthy individuals. It may be very different for those following a diet for their diabetes. When it comes to the heart health, it seems that the low glycemic diets may not be as beneficial as once believed.
By Alexandria Ingham