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Do Popular Diets Really Work?

May 22, 2015

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We keep seeing new research on which foods are good for you. On the flip side, we see new diets springing up, promising better health, quicker weight loss or for getting in shape. The question to ask though is, “Do popular diets really work?” There are plenty of diets that promise weight-loss or help in controlling blood sugar levels. There are also diets that promise to prevent diseases or even help muscle growth. Low-carbohydrate diets, or low-protein no-meat diets have all been popular at one point or the other. These diets are commonly called “yo-yo” diets because of the back-and-forth nature of the diets.

The trouble with these diets is that they mostly focus on the short-term and quickly visible results rather than focusing on health and fitness in the long-term. There’s also the fact that diet alone doesn’t promote a loss of fat or build muscle. Exercise is also a necessity to build muscle and keep the body healthy while keeping weight down.

Another downside to these diets is that, they can deprive you of essential nutrients you might not be aware of. A lack of protein, or vitamins could adversely affect health and cause problems like weak bones and atrophied muscles. They can also lead to the development of lifestyle diseases like diabetes due to erratic food consumption. Crash diets especially, could adversely affect health. Here are some of the negative effects of fad diets:

Effects of Popular Diets

 

Some diets even go to extreme levels, completely eliminating food groups or by limiting dieters to just a single food every day like the cabbage soup diet or some that even cut down meals to one a day. Diets that require supplements like protein powders can also affect health in a bad way. These diets are also characterized by extreme dietary restrictions and limited or no sources of research. The important thing to remember when adopting a diet is to ensure that it is a measured, coherent plan for the long term. A clear sign that a diet is a fad is the promise of quick and easy results. Proper diet plans advise portion control rather than elimination of food, and also emphasize on physical activity that improve health when paired with a diet. So, in order to stay healthy, adopting popular diets that seem like they get quick results could affect you in many negative ways. Increased risk of lifestyle and metabolic diseases and autoimmune conditions also rise.

 

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Low GI diet for diabetics

December 31, 2014

gi-dietDiabetes can be managed with the right diet and exercise. Foods that help in controlling blood sugar levels are ideal. People with diabetes have to take extra care to make sure that their food is balanced with insulin and oral medications. A low GI diet can be very helpful for diabetics. The Glycemic Index (GI) is a ranking of carbohydrate-containing foods. It is based on the overall effect on blood glucose levels. Slowly absorbed foods have a lower rating, whereas foods that are quickly absorbed have a higher rating. This is important because choosing slowly absorbed carbohydrates, instead of quickly absorbed carbohydrates, can help even out blood sugar levels when you have diabetes. In this system, glucose is used as a standard reference (GI 100) and other foods are measured against this.
In planning for meals with the GI, it usually involves choosing foods that have a low or medium GI. If the food is high in GI, you can also combine it with low GI foods to help balance the meal.
Low GI carbohydrate foods include dried beans and legumes, non-starchy vegetables, some starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes, most fruit, and whole grain breads and cereals. Meats and fats don’t have a GI because they do not have carbohydrates.
A recent study showed that HbA1c can be reduced by 0.5 per cent in people with diabetes who adopted a low GI diet. Research has also shown that lower GI diets have been associated with improving the levels of ‘good’ cholesterol and a reducing risk of heart disease.
There are lists of GI values for many different foods. However, these lists can be unreliable. The GI value relates to the food eaten on its own. But in practice we eat foods in combination as meals.
How to lower GI of foods?
• Choose basmati or brown rice.
• Replace potato for sweet potato or boiled new potatoes.
• Choose granary, pumpernickel or rye bread or whole-grain bread instead of white bread
• Opt for oats, porridge, natural muesli or wholegrain breakfast cereals.
• You can also maximize the benefit of GI by eating a low GI option food with each meal or snack.

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