Archive for the tag - glycemic index

Are Potatoes Unhealthy?

potato-heart-1“I don’t eat potatoes. I’m trying to lose weight.”

If you haven’t said those words, you’ve almost certainly heard them. For a couple of reasons, potatoes have gotten a bad rap; they’ve become the white bread of the vegetable world. But are they deserving of their negative reputation?

It’s impossible to talk about potatoes’ negative reputation without mentioning the gylcemic index.

The glycemic index (GI) classifies carbohydrate-containing foods according to their potential to raise blood sugar level. Foods are scored on a scale of 0 to 100. Lower scoring foods don’t result in blood sugar spikes and, according to the Mayo Clinic, can help you feel full longer, boost energy and even improve focus. Potatoes can score as high as 80 or above, thus making potatoes a food that dieters tend to avoid.

Though low glycemic foods generally result in better satiety than high gylcemic foods, the potato seems to be a noteworthy exception. In fact, potatoes sppear to be one of the most satiating foods available to us. And unlike other high GI foods like candy or cake, potatoes are nutritional powerhouses. For example, a single potato has more potassium than a banana, lots of fiber and 70% of your daily value of Vitamin C. All with about 160 calories. That’s pretty impressive.

The biggest issue with potatoes isn’t the potato itself. It’s how we prepare them. Potatoes are often fried, creamed, loaded in cheese or covered with unhealthy toppings. Despite the nutritional properties of the actual potato, we turn the vegetable into fries, chips and other indulgences.

In other words, potatoes aren’t the problem; they’re part of the answer. By finding healthy ways to include potatoes in your diet, you can enjoy their powerful and delicious benefits.

P.S. For help losing fat through nutrition, exercise and an improved relationship with your body, download Davey Wavey’s Weight Loss Program.

Low Glycemic Index Foods: 3 Reasons to Love ‘Em?

Because foods that are low on the glycemic index cause you to feel full longer and help control energy levels, they've become a popular choice for people looking to lose weight or improve general health.

You’ve probably heard a thing or two about the “glycemic index” in the last year or two. Diets rich in foods that score low on the glycemic index (GI) have become increasingly popular – and there is some mounting (but mixed) evidence to support their effectiveness.

According the the Mayo Clinic:

The glycemic index classifies carbohydrate-containing foods according to their potential to raise your blood sugar level. Foods are scored on a scale of 0 to 100.

According to supporters, eating low GI foods has three benefits:

  1. Increased energy. Since low GI foods don’t cause a sharp rise in your blood sugar levels, they result in steady energy levels over a longer period of time. You won’t crash in the same way that you might after eating candy or drinking soda.
  2. Feel full longer. For people looking to lose weight, low GI foods have the advantage of causing you to feel full longer. Moreover, many low GI foods are rich in fiber. Since fiber is digested slowly, it also helps curb hunger.
  3. Improves focus. Since the sugars in low GI foods are released slowly, the brain is given a constant source of energy. Many believe this results in better attention and focus.

There’s still lots to learn about the glycemic index, but a low GI diet may be worthwhile if you’re open to changing the foods you eat but unwilling to count calories or carbs. Since low GI foods are fairly diverse, it’s a diet plan that is sustainable longer term.

For general guidance, below is a list of the GI scores for many common foods. Low is a score of 55 or below; medium is a score of 56 to 69; high is a score of 70 or above.

Have you ever tried a low GI diet? Did you experience results?

7 Powerful Fat-Loss Tips Based on Science!

Looking at this picture long enough may also increase your heart rate and burn a few extra calories. 🙂

I spent my morning digging through a shit-ton (it’s my blog – I can swear if I want to) of research on fat loss. There have been a whole bunch of recent studies, and they’ve provided new insights into the science of shedding fat.

Here are 7 of the key takeaways:

  1. Meal frequency is not related to weight loss. You’ve probably heard the theory that it’s best to eat many small meals throughout the day. In fact, it was something that I was taught during my personal training certification. It seemed to make sense. The theory was that increased meal frequency prevents the body from going into starvation mode (i.e., slowing down metabolism), increases the caloric cost of digestion, suppresses hunger, etc. But when researchers at the University of Ottawa put the meal frequency theory to the test, they found that it actually doesn’t make a difference. People that ate 3 times a day vs. 5 times a day lost the same amount of weight.
  2. Green tea is a weight loss miracle. Research from Maastricht University in Holland is making me a green tea believer. Green tea promotes weight loss, weight maintenance, improved blood sugar regulation and even decreases abdominal fat! Of course, green tea doesn’t do it alone – you need to combine it with a comprehensive exercise and nutrition program.
  3. Olive oil reduces risk of obesity. There’s been a lot of recent research on the power of the Mediterranean diet, which contains lots of vegetables and unsaturated fatty acids. Olive oil, as it turns out, is a key part of that. Spanish researchers found that participants who consumed the least amount of olive oil were 2.3 times more likely to be obese. Olive oil has also been linked to reduced risk of heart disease, type II diabetes and stroke.
  4. Go nutty for nuts. Nuts are high in calories and fat – so it might seem strange that they’re a great weight loss food. But they are. Researchers from Purdue University found that nuts are high in nutrients and antioxidants, that they help prevent degenerative diseases and that they are linked to reduced body fat. Nuts prevent hunger (consume a handful before going out to eat!), and they take a long time – and lots of energy – to digest. This research is providing new support for the caveman diet – which holds that we should eat nuts, berries, vegetables, lean meats, etc. – just like our ancestors.
  5. Drink whey protein 20 minutes before a meal. Looking to reduce your calorie intake? Try drinking some whey protein 20 minutes before eating a meal. The Minnesota Applied Research Center in Minneapolis found that the protein consumption caused a much greater loss in body fat than the placebo. The whey protein maintains blood sugar levels, which decreases appetite. And, the protein provides the building blocks your body needs to recover from your exercise program.
  6. Eat foods that are low on the gylcemic index. The glycemic index measures how fast certain foods increase blood sugars. Foods like white bread are very high on the index, and foods like whole grains are ranked much lower. Those foods that are high on the index seem to trigger fat storage – though researchers aren’t quite sure why. Here’s a list of how some of the most common foods rank.
  7. Poor sleep = increased abdominal fat. Researchers from Wake Forest embarked on a multi-year study and found that too little – or too much – sleep led to increased risk of obesity and abdominal fat. 6 – 7 hours a night was found to be ideal.

So there you have it: 7 scientifically proven fat loss tips to put into practice! What do you think? Are you surprised by any of the findings? Will you be making any changes based on the research?