A recent study provides evidence that a low-glycemic index diet can lead to weight loss, reduced body fat, and reduction in risk factors of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. In low-GI foods, carbohydrates are low in sugar or release sugar slowly. High-GI foods, which include white bread, refined breakfast cereals and concentrated sugars, are rapidly digested and raise blood glucose and insulin to high levels. Carbs that release sugar more slowly include whole grains, most fruits, vegetables and nuts.
Results of the study show rats eating a high-GI diet had 71-percent more body fat and 8-percent less lean body mass than rats in the low-GI group, despite very similar body weight. The fat in the high-GI group of rats was concentrated in the rear area in an apple shape instead of a pear shape. According to researchers, having an apple shape is a known risk factor for cardiovascular disease in humans. The high-GI group also had blood triglyceride levels nearly three times that of the low-GI group, another risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Even after the two diet groups switched to the alternate diet for another three weeks, the rats that switched from low- to high-GI diets showed greater increases in blood glucose and insulin than rats switched from high- to low-GI diets.