Miracle weight-loss diets have been around for 150 years and will probably be popular for the next 150( sorry to be pessimistic ). So I tend to be quite skeptical when a new approach to eating promises to have you lose more weight, burn more fat , give you more energy then ever before and make you look younger in 30 days or less. But then about two weeks ago the guru of the low GL diet, Patrick Holford stopped by Shanghai for two days of presentations on his optimum nutrition plan, including the Low GL diet. Mr Holford’s visit was sponsored by AWB China and Sprout, companies dedicated to improving your health and wellness right here in Shanghai. As I mentioned I am somewhat skeptical of quick fixes but everyone deserves to be heard and certainly the old “calories in vs. calories out” diet is no miracle either.
GL stands for glycemic load. This is a measurement standard that predicts how a specific, perhaps typical serving size of a carbohydrate food will effect your blood sugar two hours after you eat.
The theory ( backed by a fair amount of reputable research) is that big swings in your blood sugar inhibits your body from efficiently using the energy you get from eating and therefore you gain weight and store fat more easily. You remember what it feels like to be desperately hungry about 10:30 am and feeding that hunger with a a half dozen biscuits , only to feel still hungry and more tired about 45 minutes later. That quick acting energy release you got from the sweet biscuits may work for sprinters but for most of us it just leaves us feeling ready to eat more and you know where that can lead. Mr. Holford suggests, and he does have plenty of data to back his claims, that by eating a low GL diet with moderate amounts of protein you will develop in to a lean mean fightin’ machine…oops just kidding, but you should lose weight and and therefore feel better all the way around.
So what is a low GL food? Some are obvious: brown rice,oatmeal. Some not so obvious: cherries,strawberries,tomatoes. And a high GL food ( the ones you should avoid)? Obvious: white bread, cornflakes,beer. Not obvious: Low-fat yogurt with sugar added,bananas.
In the end, while I did not agree with all that Mr. Holford promoted ( not sure we all need to take 7+supplements per day) his Low GL diet is sound and I think it would be a fine alternative to the typical weight-loss diets that are currently in use.
The low GL approach to eating is also suitable for people wanting to lower their blood cholesterol and improve their lipid profile and can be a good choice for most people who are just interested in improving their health. I would like to believe the diet makes you look younger ( and after only 30 days !) but your friends will have to be the judges of that.
Eat Well Live Well Have Fun !