The GI Diet was originally developed by a Frenchman by the name of Michel Montignac. While struggling with his own weight, he started doing research, trying to figure out exactly why people gain weight.
His research led to some very interesting figures:
Of the study population, only about 15% ate too much, while almost half of them ate less than the average person!
This ruled out the common belief that obesity was the result of over-eating in general. Eventually, Montignac started exploring the foods those overweight people ate and came to the conclusion that their eating habits all shared one thing: foods with a high glycemic index, or GI.
The glycemic index indicates the ability of any food substance to increase the levels of your blood sugar – which in turn will trigger increased insulin production. High GI foods contain carbohydrate types that are broken down very quickly, and then cause a spike in your blood sugar. On the other hand, low GI foods contain carbohydrates that take some time to break down into components that your body can absorb, and the energy is thus available over a longer period of time.
Pasta, for instance, is a low GI food – and athletes from all over the world have claimed for many years that eating pasta before an important event will give you sustained energy when you need it (even before its low GI properties became common knowledge).
High GI foods – giving a spike in blood sugar levels – eventually cause the excess sugar to be stored away as fat. Additionally, the “availability of constant easy energy” means that your body has no need or desire to work on breaking down and excreting your existing fat reserves even though they are not really necessary.
As such, the GI Diet simply advocates that you switch to a diet containing mostly low GI foods. While it might require a bit of self discipline at first, there are actually a good number of edible and tasty foods that you can consume and enjoy.
Ironically, GI food charts on the Internet mostly agree that plain chocolate has a relatively low GI, while rice cakes (advocated as “diet food” by many) has a very high GI. Additionally, some foods (like carrots) have a low GI in raw form, but become high GI foods when cooked.
It could take a while to figure out which foods actually fall into which categories. While there are many GI food charts on the Internet, many of them disagree about the GI qualities of specific foods, leaving you to wonder which one is right, and just what the heck it is you need to omit from your diet.