Health Benefits of a Low Glycemic Diet
By Chris Brown
Your brain fog, daily mood swings, and that hard-to-lose extra weight may be a result of your glucose intake. Low glycemic diets seek to resolve these problems by ridding the body of high-glycemic ingredients, such as complex carbohydrates and sugar, to reduce blood sugar fluctuations. Many popular diets like the Atkins, ketogenic, paleo, and many all-natural diets hinge their benefits around low glycemic foods. In addition to the holier-than-thou bragging rights of a low-sugar lifestyle, there are several health benefits of consuming low glycemic foods.
Less midday mood swings - Much of those afternoon angries and sleepiness can be nullified by simply eating a low glycemic lunch. High glycemic foods create extreme peaks and valleys of blood sugar levels. This, in turn, wildly spikes the brain's glucose energy supplies, like fast-burning, high-octane fuel. While energy peaks high, it burns fast so that dramatically low blood sugar, and hangry mood effects, soon result. Low glycemic foods provide the body with a consistent stream of healthy energy that prevents it from entering a starvation, fight-or-flight mode.
Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers - Reducing blood sugar fluctuations and preventing an overproduction of insulin is important for preventing many major diseases, especially type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is a disease that hinders people's ability to process sugar (glucose) due to insulin resistance. Type 2 diabetes is believed to be caused by long-term overactive insulin production, often the result of a high glycemic diet. By reducing the glycemic levels in one's food, the body's insulin production is less taxed and remains glucose sensitive. Similarly, lowering levels of circulating glucose has been shown to decrease instances of heart disease and cancer.
Easier dieting - The power of our gut to control our minds is well documented, but the most powerful motivator of eating habits are sugar-craving gut bacteria. Calorie-seeking bacteria alone pose a psychological barrier to diet success, but cravings can become too powerful to resist when combined with highly-addicting sugar. By reducing one's sugar intake, gut bacteria is replaced by non-sugar craving bacteria that reduces one's sweet tooth dramatically. Additionally, the steady blood sugar of low glycemic carbs helps you to feel fuller longer.
Prevents heavy fat storage - Insulin, a hormone produced to break down glucose, promotes fat storage. Low glycemic foods contain lower glucose levels, so the body's insulin response is reduced. Instead, the less dense food energy of low glycemic foods are more readily available for bodily functions or muscle growth and less likely to be stored as fat.
Keeps brain function sharp - While brains need a lot of energy to operate, approximately 20 percent of daily calories, it can be extremely sensitive to low and high blood sugar levels. Low glycemic foods reduce blood sugar fluctuations, keeping the brain from crashing after a meal. Additionally, research shows that elevated blood sugar levels (as reached after consuming high glycemic foods) are ultimately damaging for organs, including the brain. Therefore, blood sugar consistency is key for healthy brain function.
Switching to low glycemic foods can benefit both the body and mind in ways that earn it a reason for personal experimentation.
To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Las Vegas, Nev.