What To Know About The GI Index

Oatmeal Cookies - Juggler PMMany people get into the habit of using the GI index to dictate the foods that they eat in their diet as they know that those that rank lower on the GI index scale tend to be superior choices for controlling hunger levels and managing blood sugar.

This said, before you strictly rely on just the GI index alone, there are some important points that you must consider.

Don’t Overlook Calories                                                      

First, make sure that you aren’t overlooking the calorie value of the foods you eat simply because they rank low on the GI index scale.

For instance, oatmeal is a lower GI food, but this does not mean you can eat an unlimited amount of it.

Calories do still count so while you can use the GI index to help you establish smarter choices over others, you must still track your calories if you want to lose or maintain your weight.

Consider GI Load

Next, also make sure to take into account the GI load as well. Remember that how much of a food you eat is also going to come into play.

If you eat only a small amount of a high GI food, it may boost blood sugars but it can only do so by a very little because you ate so little to start with.

If you eat a high dose of a lower GI food, that would actually have a greater effect simply because of how many carbohydrates you consumed.

Think About Proteins And Fats

Finally, also make sure that you take into account the proteins and fats you’re eating as well.  Remember that adding these to your meal will also slow down the digestion process, so this can change the influence of any food on your blood sugar levels.

If you are making a point to eat balanced meals throughout the day, making sure each meal or snack does contain some lean protein and if your calorie intake allows, a small dose of healthy fat, you shouldn’t have much of a problem at all with blood sugar control.

So there you have some key tips to keep in mind about the GI index scale. While it is a great scale to use for guidance as you pick and choose the foods to include in your plan, don’t that just because it’s a low GI food this means you can eat as much of it as you like.

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Are Detox Diets Safe?

Fruit Basket - IamharinDetox diets are ‘all the rage’ right now as more and more people are diving onto them thinking they are an excellent way to kick start their results.

But, is a detox diet really a wise move?  If you take a look at some of the detox approaches out there, you are going to come to see that many of these programs are quite harsh and definitely don’t have you eating much food.

Let’s have a look at a few of the main points to consider about detox diets.

Why Do A Detox?

So why should you consider a detox diet in the first place? Detox diets are going to aim to help you eliminate all the toxic waste build-up in the body, promoting a more optimal level of functioning and superior fat burning.

There’s no questioning the fact that for many of us, it’s toxic overload on our systems right now due to many of the dietary and lifestyle choices that we’ve made.

A detox diet aims to get you to a better place of functioning.

Recognizing Unsafe Detox Diets

If you are going to consider doing any type of detox diet, you need to be sure that you can recognize the good from the bad.

The bad detox diets look more like starvation diets in disguise and have you virtually starving throughout the day. They may have you drinking some type of magical potion that you create, claiming this is what causes detoxification.

All that will do is stress out your system.

Instead, you want to seek out detox diets that are going to have you eating a diet rich of various fruits, vegetables, and some lean protein.

If the detox is going to be used for longer than a day or two, protein will be a must to prevent against lean muscle mass loss.

Furthermore, a detox diet should make sure that you are taking in some helpful supplements while you do it including a quality multivitamin as well as essential fatty acids. This will help to safeguard against nutritional deficiencies from developing and all the potential side effects that could come along if some do.

Choose Wisely

When it comes to doing a detox diet, make sure that you are choosing wisely. Don’t dive onto the first one you come across because there are more unsound choices out there than there are sound ones.

Be smart in your selection and you will fare far better.

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The Atkins Diet – A Rapid Weight Loss Plan Where You Can Eat Bacon!

The notion of a diet plan that allows you to pig out on bacon (no pun intended), steaks, fried eggs and butter, sounds too good to be true right? But the beauty of the Atkins Diet is that you are actively encouraged to eat as much meat and fat as you can stomach. So whilst it may not be the best weight loss plan for vegetarians, it is perfect for ravenous carnivores. But will you actually lose weight if you follow the Atkins Diet?

How Does The Atkins Diet Work?

The Atkins Diet is in simple terms a carb-free diet that is designed to be followed in four phases.

  • Phase 1 – The ‘Induction’ phase involves severely restricting your carbohydrate intake and filling up on protein such as meat and dairy (not milk), the idea being that your body will be forced to use up fat reserves instead of carbohydrates.
  • Phase 2 – The ‘Ongoing Weight Loss’ lets you eat a bit more carbohydrate as long as you continue to lose weight. But don’t get too excited because anything nice is still off the menu.
  • Phase 3 – The ‘Pre-maintenance’ stage introduces more carbohydrates back into the diet, albeit slowly, with the aim of helping your body return to a normal eating plan.
  • Phase 4 – ‘Lifetime Maintenance’ is exactly what you might expect it to be—a low-carbohydrate diet for the rest of your life.

Is The Atkins Diet Healthy?

Many experts believe that cutting out an entire food group (carbohydrates) is seriously bad for your health. Nasty side effects during the early stages of the Atkins Diet are common. A lot of people suffer from a lack of energy, bad breath, constipation and nausea, mostly as a result of a lack of fibre and carbohydrates. Eating lots of saturated fat (the Atkins Diet encourages you to eat fatty foods because they make your feel ‘full’) is not good for your long term health, either.

Does It Work?

It is possible to lose a large amount of weight very quickly if you follow the Atkins Diet, so if you are looking for a quick-fix weight loss plan, the Atkins Diet is a good one to try. However, the diet is extremely restrictive and a lot of people fall off the wagon quickly, so any weight they lost is regained once again.

Is The Weight Loss Sustainable?

It should be possible to maintain your target weight, but be prepared to eat a low-carb diet for the rest of your life, which means limiting the amounts of bread, pasta, cakes, cereals, potatoes and rice in your daily diet.

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Weight Watchers – It’s The Biggest Diet Plan In The UK, But Does It Work?

As the title says, Weight Watchers is famous. Millions of women (and men!) sign up for Weight Watchers every year. They go along to the meetings, commiserate and celebrate their weekly loss or gain, count points and, hopefully, reach their target weights. But as popular as Weight Watchers is, does it really work for the majority of people, or does the hype not match up to the average person’s experience?

How Does Weight Watchers Work?

The Weight Watchers diet plan is pretty simple. You can eat anything you like as long as you don’t exceed your daily ‘points’ allowance. Or in other words, anything is ok as long as you enjoy it in moderation. All foods are worth points; the more calorific a food is the more points it will cost you. In the beginning you will probably find the process of working out points for everything very irksome, but there is an app to help you and if you are short on time, you can buy Weight Watchers ready-meals.

The Benefits Of Group Motivation

There are two ways of doing the Weight Watchers system: you can join online for free (for a limited period of time), or you can pay to attend the weekly meetings in your local area. Doing the diet online is great if you work irregular hours or you simply don’t have time to go along to the meetings, but most people find it very motivational to go along to the weekly weigh-ins with their fellow dieters. After all, you are all going through the same weight loss journey, so it’s good to share the highs and lows.

Does It Work?

No diet plan can claim to be 100% successful because there will always be people who can’t stick to the rules, but the vast majority of people who try Weight Watchers find that it does help them to lose weight.

The key to the success of Weight Watchers is that it is very adaptable. If you need to save points for a special event or party, you can, although binging on a regular basis is not recommended. Weight Watchers does try and educate you about eating healthily and doing regular exercise is encouraged—in fact the more exercise you do, the more food points you earn, so you can enjoy extra treats.  On the downside, the cost of membership may be a prohibitive factor.

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The Slim Fast Diet – Can Creamy Shakes Really Help You Shed The Pounds?

Losing weight is tough for a lot of people. They may stick to their diet for the first few weeks, but before long motivation falters and the weight starts creeping back on. Often the biggest complaint is that counting calories and preparing faddy meals takes time and effort, which is why the Slim Fast Diet is so appealing. But is the Slim Fast Diet a fad diet or will you reach your target weight and, more importantly, stay there?

How The Slim Fast Diet Works

In the early days, going on the Slim Fast Diet meant replacing meals with protein shakes. This is still the case, but these days you are also allowed to eat Slim Fast meal bars and snack bars, as well as being able to choose from a range of low calorie snacks. The Slim Fast Diet also offer a range of low-calorie ready-meals to make it easier to stick to the diet plan, although you are encouraged to prepare a healthy evening meal.

3-2-1 Plan

Slim Fast protein shakes, snack bars and meal bars are consumed in place of breakfast and lunch. You can eat three snacks (Slim Fast bars or a selection of healthy alternatives), two meal replacement shakes or meal bars, and one low calorie meal containing no more than 500 calories.

Does It Work?

Based on a daily intake of around 1200 calories, you can expect to lose around two pounds per week. Unfortunately, following such a restrictive diet is unlikely to lead to a sustained weight loss in the long term. Yes, you may be able to lose weight quickly if your only goal is to drop ten pounds and squeeze into a bikini on your next holiday, but once you start eating normally again the weight is likely to pile back on.

The other problem with following such a restrictive diet is that it is incredibly dull and boring. It is also an expensive way to lose weight—the cost of buying all the protein shakes, meal bars and snack bars soon adds up.

When To Use Slim Fast Shakes

If you are looking for a quick-fix weight loss method, Slim Fast may work for you. In the short term, replacing meals with low-calorie shakes is almost certainly going to help you shed the pounds, but if your goal is to lose a large amount of weight and keep it off, you would be better off giving your diet a complete overhaul and doing more exercise.

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The Dukan Diet – Just Another Fad Or A Guaranteed Way Of Shedding The Fat?

Sometimes eating healthily isn’t enough and you need to find a different strategy to help you lose weight. Specialist diets usually claim to do just that. Some involve restricting your calorie intake whereas others only let you eat certain foods. The Dukan Diet is one such diet.

In 2010, the Dukan Diet was high up on the non-fiction bestseller list in the UK and the US; it was also the bestselling book in France. Celebrities endorsed it and millions of people rushed out to buy the book and kick-start their weight loss program. More than seven million copies of the diet book were sold in 2010 alone, but does the Dukan Diet actually work and will it help you shed fat?

How Does The Dukan Diet Work?

The Dukan Diet was designed by Pierre Dukan, a French dietician and nutritionist. It is a high-protein, low-fat eating plan that is reported to lead to rapid weight loss. Basically you can eat whatever you like as long as it’s protein. Sounds restrictive, but with 100 foods on the diet list, you are spoilt for choice.

The Four Phases Of The Dukan Diet

  • Phase 1 – During the ‘Attack’ phase you eat nothing but lean protein and oat bran. You are only allowed to drink water. This phase lasts for up to ten days.
  • Phase 2 – The ‘Cruise’ phase lets you eat non-starchy vegetables as well as lean protein, plus a bit more oat bran. You can stay in this phase for months.
  • Phase 3 – The ‘Consolidation’ phase is a bit more fun and continues for five days per pound of weight loss. Add fruit, whole-grain bread, hard cheese and a few eat-what-you-want meals.
  • Phase 4 – This is the maintenance or ‘Stabilisation’ phase, where you are allowed to eat what you want most of the time as long as you have a protein-only day once a week.

Does It Work?

The theory behind the diet is that restricting your carbohydrate intake will force your body to burn fat. However, eating such a restrictive diet for a longer period of time is not necessarily good for you and whilst you are quite likely to lose weight, you might end up lacking in essential nutrients.

On the plus side, you may notice rapid weight loss and you won’t feel hungry because it doesn’t restrict your calorie intake, but on the negative side, don’t be surprised if you end up suffering from unpleasant side effects such as constipation.

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The Jenny Craig Diet

One diet plan that you’ve likely heard about many times in the past is the Jenny Craig diet. This diet has received much praise by many people as being the top way to promote optimal weight loss and when done right, it can work.

But, there are a few important things that you should know about this diet before moving forward so that you can be sure it’s going to be a good decision for you.

Let’s go over the main things that you should know.

What This Diet Is All About

The diet plan is all about convenience and portion control. No foods are off limits as long as you are eating the right amount, which makes this a very good diet for those who typically suffer from a high amount of food cravings.

The Jenny Craig diet also provides you with more guidance than most diets do as you’ll meet with a diet counsellor who will help you along with the approach every so often as you go about using it.

For those who struggle with motivation, this is a key selling point of the diet.

What You’ll Eat

On the Jenny Craig plan, you’ll be encouraged to eat as many pre-packaged meals the company puts out as possible. These meals come in a wide number of different varieties, so boredom will not be something you face.

They are all quite small overall however since many are relatively high calorie foods, just served in very small sizes.  Keeping this in mind is important however as this diet can cause some issues with hunger if you don’t choose wisely.

There are no restrictions on what you can and can’t eat, so it’s great for those who want flexibility.

Pros:

  • Allows you to eat anything
  • Won’t cause any feelings of deprivation
  • Encourages foods from all food groups
  • Is easy to sustain for a longer time period

Cons:

  • The pre-packaged meals are very expensive
  • This diet can give you some issues when eating out
  • Some people may find hunger is a problem
  • Doesn’t teach life-long nutrition skills

The Verdict

All in all, Jenny Craig is a good option for those who hate cooking and want lots of guidance as they go along. It’s also a good choice for those who are pickier since there are plenty of meal options to choose from.

If that describes you, this is an approach to consider.

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The Alternate Day Diet

If you’re looking at all the diets that are out there right now, you’ve likely come across a few fasting approaches.  Fasting diets are hot right now with more and more people jumping on the bandwagon and one particular fasting approach that is quite common is the alternate day diet.

But, before you rush off to try it and see what it’s all about, there are some important things that you should know.

Let’s look at what points to remember about the alternate day diet.

What This Diet Is All About

This diet is all about freedom when it comes to eating.  If you are sick and tired of feeling restricted on your diet plan, always calculating calories, and never really eating what you truly enjoy, this plan will fix that in a hurry.

With this diet, you’re allowed to eat whatever you want on the days that you are designated to eat.

You’ll alternate between days where you can eat anything and your down days, where you are to eat no more than 20 percent of your typical calorie intake.  For most people this would mean 500 calories or less, so this easily counts as a very low calorie diet on those days.  The diet recommends that you use meal replacement shakes on the down days to make things easier on you since they are very calorie and nutrient controlled.

What You’ll Eat

On the on days that you’re allowed to be eating, you can eat just about anything to your heart’s content. While the diet does encourage you to make healthy choices, nothing is off limits.

On the off days, meal replacement shakes are recommended, however you can choose other foods if you want, but you must maintain strict calorie control.

Pros:

  • Will provide great freedom in food choices
  • Good for those who hate feeling restricted
  • Can produce good rates of weight loss when used properly
  • May help to reduce the risk that you suffer a metabolic slow-down and progress comes to a halt

Cons:

  • Can cause some people to develop binge eating disorders
  • If you make poor food choices, your nutritional status will go down
  • Doesn’t teach proper realistic nutrition habits for life
  • You may find you are incredibly hungry and fatigued on down days

The Verdict

All in all, this is definitely a different type of diet but for those who never seem to stick with a normal diet, it may just be your key to success. Just do try and choose as healthy as possible as that will be key to promote optimal health.

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The TLC Diet – Video Blog

This video gives you a brief overview of the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes Diet (TLC) which is big in the US right now. Presenters Matthew Smith and Kyle Rosen talk you through the pros and cons of the diet, explain to you how the diet works and give you some examples of the types of food you will eat on the TLC diet.

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The DASH Diet – Video Blog

This short video by Brown Med Nutrition explains exactly what the DASH diet is, what the diet is designed to do and helps you understand what foods you should and shouldn’t eat as part of this particular diet plan.

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