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Weight-Loss: Slim down for Summer

Lynne Brown
BSc Hons, HDE, Dip Clin Nutr

Oh dear, as we shed the winter woollies we discover there’s more than just clothing to shed!  Fortunately there’s a new breakthrough in the war against fat. It’s called the Glycemic Load (GL) diet and it means we finally have a diet that we can and should follow for the rest of our lives with utmost safety as it enhances health in addition to encouraging weight loss.

How it works

The principle behind this diet is simply keeping your blood sugar levels constant and avoiding spikes and drops. The best way to achieve blood sugar balance is to control the Glycemic Load of your diet. Glycemic Load is not to be confused with Glycemic Index (GI), a number between 0 and 100 assigned to a carbohydrate, that tells you whether the carbohydrate in the food is fast or slow releasing. The Glycemic Load, on the other hand, is a number assigned to a carbohydrate that takes into account the amount of carbohydrate in the sample and better reflects the carbohydrate’s effect on your sugar levels. Following this concept you will not only lose weight but you will experience improved energy levels, balance your mood, banish PMS, prevent blood sugar swings and cravings and just be a lot healthier.

Protein and carbs

Forget the food combining diets of the past that separated protein foods from carbohydrate foods. We now know that combining protein with carbohydrates slows down the release of sugars from a meal into the bloodstream and keeps you satisfied for longer. So fish with brown rice or pasta with chicken is definitely in, not out. Protein with every meal or snack is a good way of regulating blood sugar.

Not all fats make fat

Specific dietary fats and oils are necessary to achieve successful weight loss and the GL diet encourages you to have a portion of good fats with every meal  or snack. These are essential fats and are used by the brain, the nerves, the arteries and the immune system. They are found in olive oil, seeds, nuts, fatty fish, coconut milk and avocados. The best about these good fats is that they help you to burn the less desirable saturated fats. If you feel you are not getting enough essential fats in your diet then you ought to supplement with 1-3 g of Omega-3 fish oil a day.  Definitely avoid unhealthy hydrogenated fats such as margarine and cooking oils as well as ready-baked foods that will certainly be loaded with these bad fats.

Eat those carbs!

Carbohydrates are not the enemy but you have to watch the kind of carbohydrates you eat. Overweight people tend to eat more refined carbohydrates such as white bread, refined cereals and white rice which cause a rapid spike in blood sugar. Substitute with whole, organic grains, for example, meusli for breakfast rather than processed, refined cereals. The rule is:  the longer it takes to eat, the better it is at keeping blood sugar levels constant. Also eat plenty of fresh, raw vegetables and fruit.

Do not starve yourself

Going without food is definitely not the way to lose weight. Your body goes into starvation mode and it slows down your metabolism. Low-calorie diets lead to rebound weight gain and future resistance to weight loss. Do not allow yourself to get hungry because by then your blood sugar levels have dropped to such an extent that you are going to grab the first thing you see and its likely to be the wrong food. Eat two snacks a day, between your main meals. A snack may be a pear with about 5 almonds or a punnet of strawberries with a dessertspoon of pumpkin seeds. This will cover the carbohydrate, protein and fats rule that you need to have in every meal or snack to maintain balanced blood sugar levels.

Lose slowly but forever

If we take a year to gain 5 kg why is it that we think we can lose it in a week? Crash diets simply do not work.  Aim to achieve a weight loss of about 3 kg in the first 30 days. Set yourself up for success not disappointment.

Still not losing?

If you do not lose weight there is always a reason:

  • Are you getting enough exercise? You won’t achieve weight loss without it.
  • High stress levels may also lead to weight gain so reduce and control stress levels.
  • Sensitivity or intolerance to certain foods, especially wheat, can be related to weight gain. In this case have yourself tested for food intolerances or allergens but first try cutting out all wheat products. (Thank you Kwikspar, Somerset East for bringing in 100% rye bread!).
  • Try taking a chromium supplement – a powerful aid in balancing sugar levels and reducing sugar cravings.
  • Cut out coffee and use only xylitol or stevia as sweeteners.

A diet for life

The GL concept gives you a means to ensure long term weight loss and maintain your correct body weight with a balanced diet that also protects you against the major degenerative diseases of the western world such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and colorectal cancer.

Disclaimer: All information here is for educational purposes only and is not meant to cure, heal, diagnose nor treat. This information must not be used as a replacement for medical advice, nor can the writer take any responsibility for anyone using the information instead of consulting a healthcare professional.  All serious disease needs a physician.

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