A New Paradigm for Eating Foods With a Low Glycemic Impact

What is the secret of effective weight management? When a person develops type 2 diabetes, this is a critical question. Losing weight is one of the most successful ways of dealing with this disorder. This is the challenge that I faced when I diagnosed as diabetic about 15 years ago. 

At first I tried low-carbohydrate dieting, but was unable to endure the severe food restrictions. Then I opted for a combination of eating foods with a lower glycemic index and a lower energy density. The glycemic index measures how rapidly carbohydrate foods are digested and metabolized into blood sugar.

A related concept is the glycemic load, which applies the glycemic index to specific serving sizes. Energy density is a measurement of calories per gram of food. By eating foods with a lower energy density, we increase the weight volume of foods for the same calorie level. Applying these principles along with regular exercise allowed me to lose nearly 80 pounds.

After a period of time, I began to wonder if the glycemic index and energy density principles could be combined into a single measuring tool.  Analyzing the challenge, I developed a concept that I called “glycemic density.” It is a measurement that corresponds to the glycemic load in a gram of food. By making selections with a lower glycemic density, we increase the weight volume of foods for the same glycemic load.

Later I concluded that the concept was not quite complete. I began to chart my food using a graph that I called the “glycemic matrix.” On the horizontal axis I listed foods according to their glycemic density, and on the vertical axis I listed foods according to their glycemic index.

The foods with both a low glycemic index and a low Glycemic Density have the least  glycemic impact and satisfy hunger the most. The foods with a high glycemic index and a high glycemic density have the highest glycemic impact and satisfy hunger the least. You can find more information about this concept on my web site http://www.GlycemicDensity.com.

Richard A. Price is the author of three books on weight and diabetes management, including “Glycemic Matrix Guide to Low GI and GL Eating,” published by Infinity Publishing. He and his wife, Arlene, live in Albany, Oregon.

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