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Old 04-02-2013, 07:09 AM   #1
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Low Carb dieting versus Low Glycemic

I'm having a discussion with my husband about LC dieting. He believes in watching carbs by looking at the glycemic load of the foods eaten. I understand the glycemic index relates to how fast the food hits the bloodstream based on 50g of carb and the load refers to a serving. But overall I suppose I don't understand the concept of dieting by watching the total number of grams (net or total) versus going by the glycemic index. Can someone fill me in?

Hubby is lean and at a good weight so I can hardly criticize his approach but he's wondering why I'm doing something so extreme when, in his mind, watching the glycemic index/load should be enough.
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Old 04-02-2013, 07:17 AM   #2
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Good question, I've wondered about that too.
For me LC is relatively easy to understand and follow, so I've not pursued it.
Will be great to hear what some of the very knowledgeable peeps can tell us.
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Old 04-02-2013, 07:21 AM   #3
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For some, it may be enough.

However, SOME of us (like ME!) have metabolisms that have been badly damaged by years of eating incorrectly. Additionally, as a woman over 40 (and pushing the peri-menopause button), I'm fighting hormonal factors, as well, which would tend to make me gain.

If I ate 50g of carbs per day, I wouldn't lose weight.

I'd gain.

Maybe, in his mind, it "should be enough" to lose weight, if I kept my blood sugar/insulin levels steady. Unfortunately, my body had other ideas, and I need to stay in ketosis -- which for my body means a very low carb-level and high fat-level.

Many things will work to keep a healthy body at a healthy weight. Unfortunately, many of us got here because our bodies and metabolisms are no longer healthy.
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Old 04-02-2013, 07:28 AM   #4
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I think he means that watching your glycemic load is often enough to not get carb cravings.

What I'm wondering is what would be the difference between a 1500 calorie per day diet on Atkins (what I'm doing now) and 1500 calories and watching the glycemic load? I'm not going to change my diet, I'm just curious.
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Old 04-02-2013, 08:20 AM   #5
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There are many problems with the glyceminc index or load. The most notable is how 'they' arrived at their numbers. They used 'normal' people and measured their individual blood glucose response to various foods. Because I have excess adipose tissue, I am certain that my metabolism of various foods is not the same as 'normal' people.

There are a number of other problems with the system however, if one appears to be of a'normal' metabolic state, it might be somewhat useful.
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Old 04-02-2013, 08:32 AM   #6
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I don't think it's fair to compare yourself to your male counterpart. Men are different and gain, lose and maintain a lot easier than women.

the reason you are being so "extreme" is that you are two different people with two different bodies and what works for him doesn't necessarily work for you and especially because males and females seem to store and use fat differently. Ask him when was the last time he had a baby or stored fat on his thighs to be used for breastfeeding. It's just not fair, but whatever.

MY Bf and I could eat the same foods for a week and he'd stay the same and I'd gain. He understands low carb and understands why I have to be "extreme" but he will NEVER do it cause he doesn't have a reason to do it. He's not even athletic like his younger bro, but he also is staying leaner a lot longer than his older bro who he's more similar to.

But to be on topic. the glycemic load is still a load of sugar, and the difference between that and low carb is that with LC you are reducing overall the total amount of sugar in your daily diet, not just how quickly it enters your body.

Think of it like drinking socially. Someone could sip on a drink all night and manage not to become "drunk" but for another person any amount of alcohol sends them on a trip and so they have to abstain totally for some social events in order to function as they want to. My buddy can drink half a bottle of some nasty stuff and seem normal if he wants to, my other buddy can take a shot and become stupid for the rest of the night.

Low carb is biochemically supported but not everyone needs to cut carbs so much to maintain their body integrity at the level they desire.
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Old 04-02-2013, 08:33 AM   #7
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glycemic load is a good thing for diabetics to know about, especially people injecting insulin. but I fail to see how it has any applicability to weight loss.

you still need the same amount of insulin to "cover" your carbs, whether they are slow releasing or fast, and that insulin facilitates weight gain while it's in your bloodstream.

ketosis/low carb has many benefits. I suppose a simple question for him is why does he think low carbing has been so successful for so many years while glycemic index/load is still a pretty "fringe" concept? not in a mean way, just to discuss.

our experience, as a HUGE group of people trying to lose weight, is that one works and the other doesn't. in my opinion.

some people find eating fast release carbs, getting a lot of insulin in the blood quickly, that overshooting and causing a low blood sugar that makes you want to eat more... that cycle can be bad. but again, I don't think this is a real issue for many people, and just avoiding this cycle is sure not enough for most of us to actually LOSE weight.
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Old 04-02-2013, 08:53 AM   #8
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Atkins is all about keeping your insulin levels down. Low carb is much easier than glycemic index/load, but in a way, that's dumbed down low glycemic.

But there is small difference in the approach. Both are good tools. I combine them.

If I eat more than 20-30 carbs per day, I gain. On the other hand, I am not going to eat 20 carbs of rice and no carbs for the rest of the day because it has a high glycemic index/load. Sugar is bad for you, Insulin is just as bad for you.

My father had type 2 diabetes. He still made insulin, but his body had become resistant to it. So the doc gave him pills to increase the amount of insulin he was producing, to keep the sugar levels low. But the excess insulin burned out his kidneys and his heart.

I know a woman who has had type 1 diabetes since she was a child - at least until she got kidney/pancreas transplant. She had a sweet tooth and compensated by injecting more insulin. The insulin burned out her eyes (she's almost blind), nerve endings in her extremities, and kidney.

I've heard doctors call insulin "The killer hormone" - so while low carb and glycemic load/index are related, I feel it's best to watch both.

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Old 04-02-2013, 10:05 AM   #9
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I think low glycemic is great for people who have normal or somewhat normal metabolisms. I was Low GI for years, and it was better, but eventually it stopped working. I had to go to LC because body doesn't seem to be able to deal with carbs to well, regardless of whether they are slow or fast releasing. And exercise does help to reduce blood sugar, but it is also a bandaid solution that eventually fails.
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Old 04-02-2013, 02:39 PM   #10
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Thanks everyone for all the good info! You've given me the knowledge to explain it to him.

I just want to make it clear that he's not critical of my WOE, he's actually really supportive, but I think there's been so much out here now about low-glycemic plans that he's just wondering 'why do all that, and give up so much, when a low-glycemic diet should take away those insulin spikes and stabilize hunger?' I really didn't have an answer for him.
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Old 04-02-2013, 02:42 PM   #11
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I was actually following a low glycemic load diet before I switched over to what I'm doing now, and that actually netted me success until I hit a plateau It does make sense to me from a scientific standpoint and I may add in some low glycemic load veggies and fruits that I cut out when I'm closer to maintenance. Like others have said, if you're extremely insulin resistant or your metabolism is severely damaged low glycemic load may not be enough for you... however I do believe it's very important to look at glycemic load specifically, and not glycemic index! One makes sense imo while the other doesn't
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Old 04-02-2013, 04:55 PM   #12
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I'm very low carb, but not Atkins. I can have pretty much whatever I want within my daily carb limit. And I've chosen not to eat grains and legumes, but I do eat small amounts of starchy veggies and occasionally fruit.

That's where glycemic load comes in handy. I do keep glycemic load in mind when choosing my carbs to eat. For example, if I'm going to have any fruit, it's going to be (small amounts!) of berries and melon, because those have a low glycemic load. It's not going to be banana, pineapple, or citrus--those are higher glycemic fruits. Likewise for starchy veggies, I try to look not just at the carb count, but also the glycemic impact on my body.
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Old 04-02-2013, 04:57 PM   #13
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thanks, very useful analogy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by metqa View Post
Think of it like drinking socially. Someone could sip on a drink all night and manage not to become "drunk" but for another person any amount of alcohol sends them on a trip and so they have to abstain totally for some social events in order to function as they want to. My buddy can drink half a bottle of some nasty stuff and seem normal if he wants to, my other buddy can take a shot and become stupid for the rest of the night.

Low carb is biochemically supported but not everyone needs to cut carbs so much to maintain their body integrity at the level they desire.
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Old 04-02-2013, 05:00 PM   #14
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I do believe it's very important to look at glycemic load specifically, and not glycemic index!

raindroproses, or someone else, could you say a bit more about the difference?
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Old 04-02-2013, 06:38 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bella View Post
I do believe it's very important to look at glycemic load specifically, and not glycemic index!

raindroproses, or someone else, could you say a bit more about the difference?
Basically... the glycemic index will have you thinking that carrots are just as bad as eating a cookie, because they both have the capability to spike blood sugar The glycemic index only measures the carbs in a food I believe, as compared to other foods. It doesn't take into account fiber, water content, or serving sizes... all of which affect how full we feel after eating one full serving of it. Glycemic load measures the effect a food will have on your blood sugar ALONG with other factors which may lessen the effect, as well as taking into account how satiating the food is.

Taking the cookie and carrot analogy into account:

One serving of cookies is one cookie. One serving of carrots is a small plate of carrots. Chances are someone will not eat one small cookie and feel sated, but if you eat an entire plate of carrots... you probably won't want ANOTHER plate of carrots. In addition to that, a lot of veggies and fruits are very water dense and also contain quite a bit of fiber. This also lessens the effect the food has on your blood sugar levels, because there's less of the actual SUGAR part of the equation and more of the "filler" if that makes sense. Whereas a cookie is just straight up junk food, the carrot has far more going on that not only promotes satiety but also dulls the spike in blood glucose.

That's why the glycemic load and index of a cookie is (and should always be!) high, whereas only the glycemic index of carrots is high... their glycemic load is significantly lower.

Does that make sense? I know it's kind of confusing, but I specifically look only at glycemic load when figuring something like that out because there's far too much that the glycemic index doesn't take into account! I know most LCF's don't eat carrots anyway, but I'm sorry... any scale that claims carrots are as bad as or worse than cookies is just wrong in my book
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Old 04-02-2013, 06:42 PM   #16
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This satiety effect that glycemic load addresses is also why (according to the glycemic load) apples and oranges are okay choices and only a tiny bit higher than other lower glycemic load foods, while apple juice and orange juice and even apple sauce are NOT okay and are much higher glycemic load. If you (for instance) take one whole orange and give that to someone to eat, and then take another whole orange the size of the other one and simply squeeze it to make juice for a second person... who do you think will be fuller? The person who ate the orange will be fuller, all other variables aside, because they consumed the fiber from the orange whereas the other person only had the sugary juice and perhaps a tiny bit of the pulp. And in addition to that, the fiber will help slow and lessen the absorption of the sugars into the bloodstream and create a lesser blood glucose reaction in most people... especially if the sugars were consumed with a separate fat source as well!
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