Are you afraid of eating an apple because some brainless troglodyte told you it has a high glycemic index? Well, I’m here to tell you the truth. After reading this article, you’ll know why the glycemic index does not affect weight loss
I’m pretty damn sure this “carb-insulin hypothesis” has been pitched to you many times. Some cockwaffles have tried to convince you that high-glycemic carbs raise insulin levels and this inhibits fat loss.
Well, these bigoted douchebags are wrong.
I’ll dive into research evidence and after reading this article, you will have my permission to eat any fruit, ice cream, cupcake you want without compromising your fat loss goal.
Hang on, it’s about to get awesome.
P.S. I’m not going to talk about glycemic index for people with diabetes. They should follow a low glycemic diet for their wellbeing.
3 Issues With Glycemic Index (GI)
I promised awesome but awesome requires a bit of explanation, so bear with me.
First, most of you reading this are aware that GI is a measure of a food’s ability to raise blood sugar.
I want you to realize why the glycemic index is irrelevant outside of the laboratory setting. Here are three issues with GI that makes it irrelevant outside of the lab:
1. GI is calculated by measuring the blood glucose levels for only a 2-hour period
This is important because if GI was measured, say, 4 hours after a meal was ingested, it would greatly diminish or disappear at all.
Sadly, based on this small duration, the entire worth of food (even fruits) often gets pre-judged.
2. GI is calculated after eating an isolated food in an overnight fasted state
Picture the scenario like this:
Researchers get subjects to the lab. Subjects have just woke up and are in a fasted state. Now, one of them is given 6 white potatoes. Another gets a bowl of white rice. The third folk gets 5 pieces of white bread.
Whatever in the loving country fuck it might be it’s definitely not how most people eat.
When was the last time when you ate a bowl of potatoes in the morning? Only potatoes! No meat or vegetables alongside. Probably fucking never…
We eat those foods with some protein source (eg. meat) or fibrous source (veggies) alongside. This is key because protein and dietary fiber markedly lower the glycemic index of foods and reduce the blood glucose response1.
3. The glycemic response to food can vary considerably from person to person
This is yet another humongous issue with GI. It’s been adopted by people without even realizing that it can be different for each person.
For instance, within individuals, the glycemic response can vary 23–54%2! Even glucose, the easiest carb to accurately measure for glycemic effect on a person, has shown a 25% variation.3
With all that being said, here is a hypothetical scenario in which GI would have merit:
You are someone who wakes up, eats nothing but a bowl of potatoes. Then, continues eating high-GI foods every one to two hours. Also, you would have to happen to be someone with the glycemic response to any food on the higher end of the spectrum.
I don’t know about you but I’ve never met such person in real life.
Please leave a comment if you know someone eating weird like this. Seriously. Leave a comment🙏🏻
Do High Glycemic Foods Inhibit Fat Loss?
For those of you expecting high-GI foods and insulin to inhibit fat loss, prepare for a disappointment.
First, as Alan Aragon noted, the body of research4 to-date has failed to match macronutrient (protein, carb, fat) and fiber between higher- and lower-GI conditions. Fat loss tends to favor higher protein and/or higher fiber intakes – that’s a no-brainer. So, these studies are RUBBISH.
In well-controlled studies5 that didn’t give an unfair advantage to the group with less total carbohydrate and/or more protein, GI has failed to consistently influence fat loss.
For instance, in a 22-week study6 by Karl et al, that matched macronutrient and fiber conditions, low-GI diets did not result in better fat loss than high-GI diets.
In one of the most meticulously controlled trials7 in the history of diet research by Tufts University, high- and low-glycemic-load diets were compared. They found absolutely no freakn’ difference between high- and low- glycemic diets on fat loss.
Aston et al. concluded their study8 by saying:
This study provides no evidence to support an effect of a reduced GI diet on satiety, energy intake or body weight in overweight women.
If you haven’t clicked off this article from pure boredom yet, then I’ve got three more long-term studies that state:
Long-term weight changes were not significantly different between the high-GI and low-GI diets. We do not support a benefit of a low-GI diet for weight control.9
In summary, lowering the glycemic index does not provide any added benefit to energy restriction in promoting weight loss in obese subjects.10
To conclude, there is no evidence at present that low-GI foods are superior to high-GI foods in regard to long-term body weight control.11
I’ll wrap up this section with a cut from Wu et al in one of the most diligent review papers12 you can find:
Data from meta-analyses of dietary intervention trials suggest that some weight-loss diets, such as low-carbohydrate diets, low-GI diets, and the Mediterranean diet, might be alternatives to conventional low-fat diets, especially for short- term weight loss, but have great variability of long-term effects.
Moreover, the difference in weight loss among these diets is only 1-2 kg or less, which appears to be of little clinical significance. Thus, overweight people can choose many different weight-loss diets on the basis of their personal preferences.
Out Of The Lab To The Real Life
Am I Crazy? Am I Mad? Am I suggesting you eat cupcakes and ice cream day in day out? Of course not!
What I’m trying to say is that when eating in a CALORIE DEFICIT, consuming high-glycemic index or sugary foods DOES NOT negatively impact fat loss results. But just because GI has no effect on fat loss it doesn’t mean should fill your diet with as much sugar as possible.
As I say in every article of mine, the vast majority (80-90%) of your daily calories should absolutely come from nutrient-dense sources.
Read more about calorie deficit and the order of priorities to lose fat.
The whole point of this article, however, is to show you there is no need to demonize high-GI foods as being inherently bad and hindering fat loss.
For instance, many of you may find that you enjoy your diet more when you can incorporate some sweets into your daily caloric budget. Not only a diet like that is more enjoyable but it also becomes easier to adhere to it without any need for a “cheat day”.
Please leave a quick comment if you struggle with incorporating flexibility into your diet.
For example, Sohee Lee once said:
It’s important to actually like the way you eat. If that means having a donut every now and then, so be it!
It’s cool if you use GI to eat more whole foods but if you think it will help lose more fat, then reread this article.
If your diet is based around whole and minimally processed foods, where protein and fiber are sufficient, the mere concept of glycemic index becomes virtually useless for both health and body composition.
I hope this opened your eyes.
Now you know you can eat watermelon guilt-free, but good luck convincing folks who are hell-bent on believing in magic.
And if you want to enjoy food freedom and still achieve your fat loss goals, apply for the Online Coaching Program.