Low-glycemic index diet

The glycemic index diet is based on the idea that carbohydrates that can lead to a rapid increase in blood sugar levels should be avoided.

The diet focuses on consuming the “right” carbohydrates to keep your blood sugar balanced.

Foods that are emphasized include low-glycemic index breads such as pumpernickel and rye, large flake oatmeal, oat bran, pasta, parboiled rice, quinoa, beans, peas, lentils and nuts. People are also encouraged to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and few potatoes.

Although a diet of low-glycemic index foods is the basis of weight loss plans such as Nutrisystem and the Zone diet, the diet has a more significant impact on patients with Type 2 diabetes, or prediabetes. Not only can the diet help control blood sugar levels and reduce overall diabetes risk, it can also increase high-density lipoprotein (the “good” cholesterol) and reduce overall cardiovascular risks.

In a randomized clinical trial published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2008 in which 210 people followed the diet for six months, the diet was shown to be more effective at controlling blood sugar levels than a high-cereal fiber diet consisting of “brown” carbohydrates such as whole grain breads, whole grain breakfast cereals, brown rice, potatoes with skins and whole wheat bread.