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Losing Weight Part 2 - Glycemic Index & Protein

LOSING WEIGHT Part Two: Glycemic Index & Protein

In Part one we discussed the roles of dietary fiber and fat in weight loss. This time we will move onto the effects of sugar, the Glycemic Index and the importance of good dietary protein.​

Glycemic Index 

In recent years it has come to the fore that sugar could be playing a role in damaging the health of our metabolism. Type 2 diabetes has seen a massive escalation worldwide and the consumption of sugary drinks has skyrocketed.   

The "Low Fat" food craze has been closely followed by increased obesity rates and a complete failure of the low-fat diet trend. Low-fat foods are not the solution and in-fact may be contributing to the problem. How can this be, you may ask?

In fact, low-fat foods often have higher sugar levels than full-fat foods. Dairy products are a classic example. 

In a new study published in the journal Circulation, Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian and his colleagues analyzed the blood of 3,333 adults enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study of Health Professionals Follow-up Study taken over 15 years. They found that people who had higher levels of three different byproducts of full-fat dairy had, on average, a 46% lower risk of getting diabetes during the study period than those with lower levels. (2) This is because low-fat milk (like other low-fat foods) has a higher Glycemic Index (GI) indicating full-fat dairy is actually better for you.

What is the Glycemic Index?

The Glycemic Index (GI) rates foods according to the amount and speed with which they raise blood sugars. Refined sugar has a high Glycemic Index because it speedily enters the blood. This is where the problem lies - the body does not tolerate excess sugar circulating in the blood as it damages the blood vessels and can eventually lead to Type 2 Diabetes.

This has a flow-on damaging effect to other body tissues, one reason why diabetics are at such great risk. The body protects its cells from too much blood sugar (glucose) by taking it out of the blood vessels and storing it more safely in fat cells for later use in time of need ie: when less high energy food is eaten.


Sugary Food  


Unfortunately, in the modern Western diet there is often an over-abundance of high Glycemic foods eaten. High Glycemic foods such as refined carbohydrates, bread, pasta, biscuits, cakes, muffins, pies, sweets, fizzy drinks, many breakfast cereals and other refined grain foods.

These foods also contribute to conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Colitis, Constipation, Colon Cancer and Ulcerative Colitis, largely because of their high sugar and gluten content.
Evidence from recent studies suggests that a low Glycemic Index eating pattern is associated with better health outcomes, such as decreased risk of Type 2 Diabetes, Coronary Heart Disease, Gallbladder Disease and Breast Cancer. (1) 

Low GI foods are recommended for a weight loss program to help balance blood sugar and reduce fat deposition. You can see in the chart below a list of foods that are low GI and high GI. Although some processed foods are on this list I would recommend avoiding processed foods altogether during our program. Stick to the fruits, vegetable, legumes, nuts, and seeds and you will get a much better result. 

Glycemic index chart



Much of the body is made of protein, and these proteins take on a myriad of forms. They represent cell signaling receptors, signaling molecules, structural members, enzymes, intracellular trafficking components, extracellular matrix scaffolds, ion pumps, ion channels, oxygen and CO2 transporters (hemoglobin). That is not even the complete list! (3)

There is protein in bones (collagen), muscles, and tendons; the hemoglobin that transports oxygen; and enzymes that catalyze all biochemical reactions. Protein is also used for growth and repair. Amid all these necessary functions, proteins also hold the potential to serve as a metabolic fuel source. Proteins are not stored for later use, so excess proteins must be converted into glucose or triglycerides and used to supply energy or build energy reserves. (3)

Weight loss

Protein is another great tool for weight loss or weight maintenance, as it takes longer to digest than refined carbohydrates. When eaten with other foods it causes the stomach to release a meal more slowly into the intestines, lowering the Glycemic Index and the amount of blood sugar taken into circulation. This means less sugar is stored by the body and therefore less fat is generated.


Protein food



Protein, like fat, creates a sense of satiety or fullness which helps reduce the total quantity of food eaten. Good protein along with good fat gives the body many of the nutrients it needs for proper metabolic function. If the body has all the nutrients it needs then false hunger signals are not generated and this helps reduce destructive eating habits.     

The "Complete Protein" myth

There is a myth that vegetarians don't get enough protein or that vegetables need to be combined to get the complete protein. This has proven to be untrue. You can find out more about this topic in my article "Super vegetarian Diet

I recommend protein sources such as organic eggs, raw nuts, beans and legumes, pulses, raw farm milk, soft cheeses, fish & chicken, mushrooms, eggplant and leafy greens.  A good vegetarian diet is preferable, and will also provide adequate protein. We also recommend herbs such as Spirulina, Barley grass, and the Ginsengs.

In protein drinks, we recommend pea protein and rice protein as they are more beneficial than the traditional whey proteins.  

Have a look at the BodiTune Protein drink here



In short, if the body is oversupplied with high-Glycemic, refined carbohydrate foods, it will perform the tissue-protecting mechanism of fat storage. Over time the pancreas gets burnt out and insulin resistance can eventually lead to Type 2 Diabetes.

Adequate protein will also moderate the Glycemic Index of a meal and reduce food cravings, further balancing blood sugars, reducing storage of body fat and reducing weight.
Brett Elliott ®

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(1) Dietary glycaemic index and glycaemic load among Australian adults – results from the 2011–2012 Australian Health Survey. PUBMED

(2) The Case Against Low-fat Milk Is Stronger Than Ever. Time Magazine.

(3) Protein Metabolism.

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