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Using The Glycemic Index To Lose Weight After Pregnancy

2012-12-29 09:56

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The vast majority of postpartum women will not return to their pre-Pregnancy weight without the help of proper nutrition. This article will explain why extreme diets don't work and why the Glycemic Index may be the best long-term solution for postpartum weight loss.

Don't Go To Extremes

There are thousands of "diets" on the market, yet the question still remains: how can we achieve weight loss in the healthiest, most permanent way? Restricting calories too much can shut down metabolism and cause us to gain weight in the long run. Eating "Fat free" can make us hungry all the time and deprives the postpartum body of key nutrients. "High protein/no carbohydrate" diets are unhealthy and can put our bodies at possible risk of liver and kidney damage.

We know going to nutritional extremes doesn't work. Alas, we come back to the age-old method of balance. How we balance carbohydrates, fats, and proteins can make all the difference.

Research shows that unsaturated fats are better than saturated. And proteins such as chicken, fish, and even beans far outweigh red meat as a healthy choice. What about carbohydrates? Which carbohydrates work best for weight loss and energy? Choosing the correct carbohydrates in balance with healthy proteins and fats will help you achieve the healthiest form of weight loss for the postpartum period and beyond.

The Hormonal Response To Food

When we eat, our bodies digest and convert foods into usable forms of energy. The main unit of energy for the body is a sugar called glucose. When people talk about blood sugar levels they are referring to how much glucose is in the bloodstream at a given time.

A stable blood sugar level is important for health and our bodies stimulate hormones to regulate it. If we have too much sugar in our blood, a hormone called insulin is released. Insulin will bring our blood sugar back to an acceptable level, however it also encourages our bodies to convert the excess sugar to fat.

According to Joyce and Gene Daoust, authors of 40-30-30- Fat Burning nutrition, "It is important that an individual's blood sugar level does not rise too high or too quickly because, if it does, the body reacts by alerting the pancreas. The pancreas then detects the excess glucose and secretes the hormone messenger, insulin, to correct it. Increased levels of insulin force your body to burn glucose for energy and store any excess away as glycogen or fat."

Essentially, insulin promotes the storage of fat in our bodies. To burn fat instead of store it, we should limit the amount of insulin in our blood. The way to do this is by keeping our blood sugar levels from getting too high, too fast. How do we control our blood sugar? Fortunately, there is a tool that will make our job easier.

The Glycemic Index (GI)

The Glycemic Index is a numerical rating scale that measures how fast a particular food can raise blood sugar (glucose) levels in our bodies. At the top of the scale is pure glucose with a rating of 100. All other foods are ranked in a hierarchy along the scale. Foods that break down (convert into glucose) slowly have a low Glycemic rating. Foods that breakdown quickly have a high rating. The Glycemic Index (GI) values of different foods are extremely important, because the speed at which foods are converted into glucose not only affects our insulin levels, but our appetite, cholesterol and blood fats as well.

To Lose Weight, Eat Foods With A Low GI Value

It's that simple. Choose low Glycemic foods and your body is less likely to convert them into fat. For example, you'll notice that eating a cup of All Bran cereal (GI = 51) will sustain you longer than a cup of corn flakes (GI = 84). As you can see, Corn Flakes elevate your blood sugar faster than All Bran.

An apple (GI = 38) will keep you full longer than a piece of watermelon (GI = 72). Because the apple converts to sugar in the blood slowly, your insulin levels will be much lower than if you ate the watermelon. You will also get more sustainable energy over a longer period of time from the apple.

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