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Beef Vs. Bagels: Food Companies Take on Dr. Atkins
Reuters Science via Yahoo ^
| Carey Gillam
Posted on 03/16/2003 1:57:19 PM PST by Pharmboy
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (Reuters) - It has been months since Tina Moore last bit into a bagel or a slice of toast.
"Protein is good. Carbs are bad," says 41-year-old Moore, who altered her diet five years ago in a bid to lose weight.
Moore, the owner of a hair salon, is one of the estimated 15 million-plus Americans seen as devoted followers of dieting guru, Dr. Robert Atkins, who recommends eating protein for those who want to rid themselves of unwanted weight and keep the pounds off.
"Carbs and sugar ... they give you a quick high, then you get really low. You get tired and hungry," said Moore, who sees herself as a reformed "carbohydrate addict."
The hamburger patty is good, the hamburger bun bad, according to the teachings of Atkins, who has turned his philosophies into a dieting revolution, starting with his first book, "Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution," in 1972.
Atkins books -- his latest, "Atkins for Life," was published this year -- routinely top best-seller lists. Atkins companies have racked up millions of dollars in sales of specialty low-carb food products and carb-counting scales.
But the popularity of Atkins' eating advice, now appealing to another generation, is fraying the nerves of some food companies who rely on the consumer appetite for carbohydrate-laden foods such as pastas and pizzas, cakes, cookies and cereals, to add heft to their own bottom lines.
They claim Atkins is falsely disparaging food groups that serve as a foundation for American eating. And that by teaching people to severely limit the use of flour-based products, Atkins is eating into sales of some bread and cereal products in the United States.
"Our industry has to do something, and soon. It is starting to become a mainstream belief that carbohydrates are bad," said Judi Adams, director of the Wheat Foods Council, a consortium of industry players that includes ConAgra, General Mills and Kellogg Co.
"This Atkins diet -- or, I call it Fatkins diet -- is going out unchallenged. People are starting to believe it," Adams said.
Part of the consortium's push will be in Washington, where federal health officials are starting talks on revisions to the nation's 11-year-old Food Guide Pyramid.
Wheat Foods will be actively involved in defending the grains, Adams said.
Currently, the pyramid puts bread, cereals, rice and pasta as the foundation for healthy eating, recommending six to 11 servings a day. But some are pushing for changes that would move grains off the foundation, and cut back servings.
There is limited funding for the anti-Atkins campaign, as most food companies spend their advertising dollars on product specific programs to tout such things as new Berry-Burst Cheerios, recently released by General Mills.
So, with only a slender budget to try to counter the Atkins phenomenon, the Wheat Foods Council is aiming its "educational" campaign" at nutritionists and the medical community.
The strategy is a direct attack on Atkins: Americans who follow the Atkins diet increase their risk of health problems that include cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, kidney damage and some cancers, the Wheat Foods Council says.
Adding insult to injury, it claims that Atkins followers can also suffer headaches, constipation and bad breath.
The council says obesity is not specifically tied to carbohydrates but is the simple result of lazy overeaters.
"Healthful grain-based foods have become the scapegoat for weight gain, when overeating and underexercising are at issue," said Carol Pratt, a Kellogg nutrition and regulatory affairs expert, and incoming chairwoman for Wheat Foods.
FEWER COOKIES AND CAKES
Consumer eating habits are hard to track, but the latest Consumer Expenditure Survey of the U.S. Department of Labor does indicate a possible shift away from grain-based foods.
According to the government survey, consumer spending in 2001 for ready-to-eat and cooked cereals, pasta, flour, flour mixes and bakery products dropped from the previous year even as consumer spending for meat, poultry, fish and eggs and other similar products increased for the third year in a row.
Moreover, the 0.2 percent decrease in spending came as the consumer price index (news - web sites) for those foods grew 2.9 percent. As well, wheat consumption in the United States dropped 4 percent from 1997 to 2001, according to industry research.
"I'm very much concerned," said Mark Dirkes, spokesman for Interstate Bakeries, the nation's largest wholesale baker and the maker of Wonder Bread. "He (Atkins) has run a very effective campaign. That just can't be good for our industry."
CLEANING OUT THE CABINETS
Among Atkins preachings: the elimination of "white flour-laden junk food" from kitchen cabinets, and research that Atkins says shows carbohydrates work to slow the body's burning of fat and make people feel hungrier faster.
And after decades of rejecting Atkins' theories, some new scientific research studies, including work by Harvard University, have started lending credence to Atkins' ideas.
Colette Heimowitz, director of research at the Atkins Health and Medical Information Services says over-consumption of bread, cereal and baked products is partly to blame for overweight Americans. Products made with white flour, sugars and hydrogenated oils are the worst.
Still, she says, Atkins is not looking to go to war with the food companies, and that even Atkins die-hards allow for an occasional doughnut or cookie.
"We teach people how to respect it and, on rare occasions, have it in moderation," she said. "We know people can't stay away from it forever."
TOPICS: Culture/Society; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: carbohydrates; diet; nutrition; obesity
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Atkins is essentially right both from the human evolutionary and metabolic perspectives.
The food companies must stop whining and concentrate on producing palatable, low-carb foods. Period.
They've already lost, they just don't know it yet.
posted on 03/16/2003 1:57:19 PM PST
Well respected doctor and lots of happy dieters on Atkins VS. ConAgra, ADM, Cargill, etc. Who will win?
posted on 03/16/2003 2:01:57 PM PST
That's what surprises me. A smart food company would be working on low-carb alternatives and be prepared to sell to this new market. Trying to force the market to stick to high-carbs would be insane and could lead to a major liability problem down the road. It would weaken their defense against the trial lawyers in the obesity fight.
posted on 03/16/2003 2:02:23 PM PST
You notice, they don't attack the success of the diet itself, they just state that it will hurt sales of grains.
||I agree. Refined carbs be bad. Atkins rules.
posted on 03/16/2003 2:06:46 PM PST
("When do I get to lift my leg on the liberal?...err...make that French")
posted on 03/16/2003 2:07:25 PM PST
("When do I get to lift my leg on the liberal?...err...make that French")
Yep, I got the bad news from my doctor that I was creeping too close to diabetes, in whtever that blood tests is that he ran.
I went on Atkins, and reduced the way too high level down to below "normal" for my age. My doc was delighted, and told me that my cholesteral wasn down, and so were my triglycerides, and to keep it up.
Atkins has been the only diet that helps with my hypothyroid status. Just can't eat those carbs, but I do miss them on occasion.
I eat plenty of salads, above ground green veggies, and berries for healthy carbs. I eat no grains, and limit dairy products. And I have learned to really enjoy my hamburger without a bun. I put Marie's blue cheese dressing on it, and it is great! But, read the labels, some of Marie's blue cheese dressing is too high in carbs. You have to get the one that has no sugar in it.
posted on 03/16/2003 2:09:20 PM PST
Americans who follow the Atkins diet increase their risk of health problems that include cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, kidney damage and some cancers, the Wheat Foods Council says.
Absolute, unrestrained, unmitigated lying.
Produce the single medical study that even remotely validates this statement.
There isn't one. The "Wheat Foods Council" is simply lying through its teeth.
posted on 03/16/2003 2:09:37 PM PST
Atkins has committed the cardinal sin of being right when the "mainstream" is wrong. Happened to Galileo too.
I personally have painlessly lost 25 pounds since the beginning of 2003 doing Atkins. I tried low-fat before but was tired all the time, especially after meals. That's a red flag-- while everyone's different, clearly I was developing insulin intolerance, and the pounds were creeping up.
Today for breakfast I steamed some organic broccoli and made two poached eggs, then slathered it all with hollandaise sauce. Magnificent breakfast. I lost three pounds this week eating like that. And, lest you wonder, my cholesterol is fine.
Atkins is essentially right both from the human evolutionary and metabolic perspectives.
posted on 03/16/2003 2:11:21 PM PST
Cutting carbs from my diet has gotten rid of my hypoglycemic episodes, boosted my endurance, and trimmed me downed to the correct weight for my height and frame. My blood work is great. I don't have headaches or bad breath. I practically stuff myself with *good* carbs from vegetables. I eat adequate protein. I eat fat. I don't touch sugar, flour or any refined carbs. I've been low-carbing for 2 years and I don't plan on quitting. I'm happy and so is my doctor.
So, what's the problem? Why don't they produce alternatives to all of that sugar laden stuff? If they were smart they would.
Netrition - Your Source For Nutrition on the 'Net
The Glycemic Index
By Rick Mendosa
Search WWW Search mendosa.com
What is the Glycemic Index (GI)?
The glycemic index ranks foods on how they affect our blood sugar levels. This index measures how much your blood sugar increases in the two or three hours after eating.
The glycemic index is about foods high in carbohydrates. Foods high in fat or protein don't cause your blood sugar level to rise much.
A lot of people still think that it is plain table sugar that people with diabetes need to avoid. The experts used to say that, but the glycemic index shows that even complex carbohydrates, like baked potatoes, can be even worse.
When you make use of the glycemic index to prepare healthy meals, it helps to keep your blood sugar levels under control. This is especially important for people with diabetes, although athletes and people who are overweight also stand to benefit from knowing about this relatively new concept in good nutrition.
Recent studies of large numbers of people with diabetes show that those who keep their blood sugar under tight control best avoid the complications that this disease can lead to. Most experts agree that what works best for people with diabetesand probably the rest of us as wellis regular exercise, little saturated or trans fat (partially hydrogenated oils), and a high-fiber diet.
The recommendations to exercise and eat more fiber and less saturated and trans fats is excellent adviceas far as it goes. The real problem is carbohydrates. The official consensus remains that a high-carbohydrate diet is best for people with diabetes. However, some of the experts, led by endocrinologists like Dr. Richard K. Bernstein, recommend a low-carbohydrate diet, because carbohydrates can raise blood sugar to dangerous levels.
But not all carbohydrates act the same. Some are quickly broken down in the intestine, causing the blood sugar level to rise rapidly. These carbohydrates have a high glycemic index.
Please note, however, that a GI value tells you only how rapidly a particular carbohydrate turns into sugar. It doesn't tell you how much of that carbohydrate is in a serving of a particular food. Four extensions of the glycemic index concept noted in the bibliography below address this limitation.
- One extension is called the glycemic load, which is the glycemic index of a food times its carbohydrate content in grams. Harvard School of Public Health professor and researcher Walter Willett, M.D., and his associates developed this concept as long ago as 1997, when they published journal articles on the subject. But it is only in their Harvard Women's Health Watch article and Dr. Willett's new book (see bibliography below) that they have published many of the GL numbers. For example, these resources have nice but very short lists of a few foods for which they have calculated the glycemic load (note in particular the high GI and low GL of watermelon). Now, however, Jennie Brand-Miller and her associates at the University of Sydney have calculated the GL of all 750 foods for which GI numbers have been calculated. This table was published originally in the July 2002 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, and I publish an extract of that table on a Web page on this site as authorized by Professor Brand-Miller. She also published the table in the new version of her book, The New Glucose Revolution, (Marlowe, January 2003).
- Des Buchhorn similarly developed the adjusted carbohydrate exchange, which refines carbohydrate exchange lists by multiplying the glycemic index of a food by its carbohydrate content to indicate the likely effect of a food on blood glucose.
- J.A. Monro, a scientist at the New Zealand Institute for Crop & Food Research, developed the concept of relative glycemic potency, which compares equal weights of foods.
- Derek Paice, an engineer who has type 2 diabetes, similarly developed the concept of the substance glycemic index based on a fixed weight of foods. His book, which he has authorized me to make available online, is Diabetes and Diet: A Type 2 Patient's Successful Efforts at Control. Since this is a PDF file, you need the free Acrobat Reader on your computer. If you don't have it already, you can download it at http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep.html
Before the development of the glycemic index beginning in 1981, scientists assumed that our bodies absorbed and digested simple sugars quickly, producing rapid increases in our blood sugar level. This was the basis of the advice to avoid sugar, a proscription recently relaxed by the American Diabetes Association and others.
Now we know that simple sugars don't make your blood sugar rise any more rapidly than some complex carbohydrates do. Of course, simple sugars are simply empty calories, and still should be minimized for that reason.
Many of the glycemic index results have been surprises. For example, baked potatoes have a glycemic index considerably higher than that of table sugar.
A more pleasant surprise is the very low glycemic index of a tasty bean called chana dal, which is the subject of a separate Web page that I maintain at http://www.mendosa.com/chanadal.html.
Another pleasant surprise is pearled barley, which has a glycemic index of 36. That's much lower than any other grain. For example, brown rice has a glycemic index of 79, and wheat is even higher.
Hulless barleyparticularly the non-waxy varietyalmost certainly has an even lower glycemic index than pearled barley, because pearling removes some of the fiber. A great source of hulless barley that I have used for years is Bud and Jean Clem's Cowboy Foods in Bozeman, Montana, phone (800) 759-5489 or (406) 587-5489, e-mail email@example.com. Another source of hulless barley is Bob's Red Mill Natural Foods Inc. in Milwaukie, Oregon, phone (503) 654-3215, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scientists have so far measured the glycemic indexes of about 750 high-carbohydrate foods. The key is to eat little of those foods with a high glycemic index and more of those foods with a low index.
Where can you find what these foods are? The easiest way is to refer to another Web page that I maintain. That page at http://www.mendosa.com/gilists.htm summarizes the academic research on this important dietary concept.
The GI is especially useful to people with diabetes who want to plan their diets to minimize the incidence of high blood sugar, or spikes. It measures how fast the carbohydrate of a particular food is converted to glucose and enters the bloodstream. The lower the number the slower the action.
The numbers are percentages with respect to a reference food. They are given here with respect to glucose. In other words, on the scale glucose equals 100 multiply the GI on this scale by 1.4 to convert to the value on the scale where white bread = 100.
|Listings of 750 foods for their glycemic index and glycemic load follow on a separate Web page. That is so this page won't be so long. Please click on the link at http://www.mendosa.com/gilists.htm for these listings.
If you have a handheld computer that uses the Palm operating system, you can download the GI and GL values here for 750 foods at http://www.mendosa.com/palmGIdata.zip, thanks to Stephen Jackson. You need the Palm Mobile DB database program to view the file data. This is available free for download to your PC at http://www.handmark.com/products/mobiledb.
New editions of the ultimate book about the glycemic index appeared in the UK and Australia in 1998. It has now been published in the U.K. and the U.S.
The first North American edition of the book appeared in July 1999, and an updated version came out in January 2003. Now titled The New Glucose Revolution: The Authoritative Guide to the Glycemic Index, this 348-page book lists for $15.95 ($26.50 Cdn) and is published by Marlowe & Company in New York. The North American co-author with Jennie Brand-Miller and her team at the University of Sydney is Thomas M.S. Wolever, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Toronto, the world's other leading active glycemic index researcher.
The book includes more than 50 recipes and the glycemic index and glycemic load for 750 foods and beverages. The authors explain the benefits of a diet that emphasizes foods that are low on the glycemic index. These are foods that as they are digested produce a low, slow blood-sugar response.
The book has some very positive endorsements. Here's one example. "Forget Sugar Busters. Forget The Zone," writes Jean Carper, best-selling author of Miracle Cures, Stop Aging Now!, and Food: Your Miracle Medicine. "If you want the real scoop on how carbohydrates and sugar affect your body, read this book by the world's leading researchers on the subject. It's the authoritative, last word on choosing foods to control your blood sugar."
Professor Brand-Miller continues her research on the glycemic index, including tests of more foods. Her department at the University of Sydney also undertakes GI testing on a commercial basis. She wrote me recently:
Commercial testing of GI according to standardised methodology in 10 volunteers: Fee is US$5000 for the first food with additional foods at US$2500 per food. A 10% discount applies to 6 or more foods. Clinical trial protocols can be negotiated at additional cost. In vitro testing of the rate of carbohydrate digestion (a crude guide to the final GI) is also available at US$500 per food. More information is available at www.glycemicindex.com.
A GI symbol program has been launched in Australia and New Zealand to help consumers easily identify foods that have been properly GI tested. More information is available at http://www.gisymbol.com.au/pages/index.asp.
For further information contact her at the following address:
Jennie Brand-Miller PhD
Professor of Human Nutrition
School of Molecular and Microbial Biosciences
University of Sydney
NSW 2006 Australia
Phone: (61 2) 9351 3759
Fax: (61 2) 9351 6022
Jennie Brand-Miller PhD
Thomas Wolever, D.M., Ph.D., professor in the University of Toronto's faculty of medicine, has a company called Glycaemic Index Testing Inc., which is not associated with the university and does commercial testing of the blood glucose responses of foods. It has been in business for four years and has had clients from the U.S., Canada, Japan, UK, Belgium, and Australia. The results of the tests belong to the client, so they cannot be published without the client's permission. "We have a website http://www.gitesting.com," Dr. Wolever tells me. "While it is not yet well developed, people can contact us through it. They can also contact me directly at email@example.com."
If you are trying to lose weightsomething of great interest to many people with type 2 diabetesyou may also want to study my Satiety Index page at http://www.mendosa.com/satiety.htm. The satiety index, along with the glycemic index, are two of the most exciting tools that we have to control our diabetes.
Perhaps the best current defense of the glycemic index is a commentary by Dr. Thomas M.S. Wolever, "The Glycemic Index: Flogging a Dead Horse?" in the journal Diabetes Care. Since Diabetes Care chose to not to make it available on-line while making a rebuttal available on-line, I have scanned in an extract of Dr. Wolever's commentary with his permission at http://www.mendosa.com/wolever.htm.
Dr. Andrew Weil, the noted writer and lecturer on integrative medicine, has come out strongly for the utility of the glycemic index. See "What's Up with The Zone?" at http://cgi.pathfinder.com/drweil/. He writes that "we should pay attention to the glycemic index of carbohydrate foods - that is, the ease with which the body converts them to blood sugar. High-glycemic foods like rice cakes, bread, and potatoes stress the body's insulin system and probably are chief culprits in obesity."
What about Portion Size? And how is GI Determined?
The glycemic index is about the quality of the carbohydrates, not the quantity. Obviously, quantity matters too, but the measurement of the glycemic index of a food is not related to portion size. It remains the same whether you eat 10 grams of it or 1000 grams. That's because to make a fair comparison tests of the glycemic indexes of food usually use 50 grams of available carbohydrate in each food. You can eat twice as many carbohydrates in a food that, for example, has a glycemic index of 50 than one that has a glycemic index of 100 and have the same blood glucose response.
Basically, test foods are fed to various people, some with diabetes, others without, in portions that contain 50 grams of available carbohydrates. The 50 gram carbohydrate portion is specified in Dr. Wolever's methodology paper (see bibliography below) as 50 grams of available carbohydrates. "That means it excludes the fiber," Professor Brand-Miller writes me. "We have always used a 50 gram available carbohydrate portion and often relied on manufacturers to give us the composition data. I am aware of only one instance where we been given incorrect information and therefore inadvertently included the fiber in the 50 gram carbohydrate portion...but there may be some papers from developing countries where the data is not reliable."
For example, to test boiled spaghetti, the scientists give their subjects 200 grams of spaghetti, which according to standard food composition tables provide 50 grams of available carbohydrate. The scientists compare this response with the volunteer's response to a reference food, which may be either glucose or white bread. Both for the test and for the reference foods the volunteer's response over the next two or three hours is calculated. Rather than measuring a single point, they make the more precise measurement of the area under the curve. Then, they repeat the whole process on different days to reduce the effect of day-to-day variations.
Next, the area under the response curve for the test food is expressed as a percent of the mean value for the reference food for the same subject. Finally, these percentages from each subject are averaged together to obtain the GI for that food. For more information, see Wolever, Thomas M.S. et al. "The Glycemic Index: Methodology and Clinical Implications," listed in the bibliography below.
Are there Other Important Diet Considerations?
The glycemic index should not be your only criterion when selecting what to eat. The total amount of carbohydrate, the amount and type of fat, and the fiber and salt content are also important dietary considerations. The glycemic index is most useful when deciding which high-carbohydrate foods to eat. But don't let the glycemic index lull you into eating more carbohydrates than your body can handle, particularly if you have diabetes. The number of grams of carbohydrate we consume is awfully important. Make sure you know the carbohydrate content of the foods you eatstudy the nutritional information on the package.
But first you need to decide the composition of your diet in terms of carbohydrate, fat, and protein. Almost all the experts agree that we should minimize our intake of saturated and trans fat and eat a lot more fiber than we do. Some other fats, particularly those from cold-water fish, seem to be beneficial. Beyond that, the battle rages between those who would have us eat more protein and those who say that carbohydrates should provide most of our calories. I'm no expert and am genuinely puzzled myself, although I have begun to cut back on my carbohydrates and eat more protein. Generally, foods high in fat and protein have lower glycemic indexes than foods high in carbohydrate. In a real sense, the glycemic index is not applicable to high-fat and/or high-protein foods.
The problem is that even among the complex carbohydrates not all are created equal. Some break down quickly during digestion and can raise blood glucose to dangerous levels. These are the foods that have higher glycemic indexes. Other carbohydrates break down more slowly, releasing glucose gradually into our blood streams and are said to have lower glycemic indexes.
Before the development of the glycemic index, scientists assumed that our bodies absorbed and digested simple sugars quickly, producing rapid increases in our blood glucose levels. This was the basis of the advice to avoid sugar, a proscription recently relaxed by the American Diabetes Association and others.
Contrariwise, the experts thought that our bodies absorbed starches such as rice and potatoes slowly, causing only small rises in blood glucose. Clinical trials of the glycemic index have also proven that assumption to be false.
Factors such as variety, cooking, and processing may effect a food's GI. Foods particularly sensitive to these factors include bananas, rice, and potatoes (for a fuller discussion of the GI of rice and potatoes see the section below). A 1992 study by Hermansen et al. reported that the GI for under-ripe bananas was 43 and that for over-ripe bananas was 74. In under-ripe bananas the starch constitutes 80-90 percent of the carbohydrate content, which as the banana ripens changes to free sugars. Particle size is also an important factor, according to a 1988 study by Heaton et al. The researchers found that the GI of wheat, maize, and oats increased from whole grains (lowest GI), cracked grains, coarse flour, to fine flour (highest GI).
In addition, the glucose response to a particular food may be somewhat individual. So it is probably a good idea to carefully watch your own blood glucose level after eating foods you have questions about and determine if they have high or low GI for you.
So, the idea of glycemic index is a very useful one. But if you find a specific food produces an unexpected result, either high or low, take note of it and incorporate that into your meal planning.
Also note that the numbers vary from study to study. This may be due to variations in the individuals in a particular study, other foods consumed at the same time, or different methods of preparation, since your body can absorb some foods better when they are well cooked.
Most, but not all, of the foods tested are high in carbohydrates. Some may wonder at the gapswhy other high-carbohydrate low-calorie foods like celery (or tomatoes or similar foods) have never been tested. The problem is a technical one for the testers, because they would be so hard put to get anyone to volunteer to eat 50 grams of carbohydrate from celeryit's just too much celery to think about! Essentially, from a glycemic index standpoint, celery and foods like it can be considered as free foods. I now have a list of the common vegetables and fruits that are free foods on-line at http://www.mendosa.com/freefoods.htm.
Some people wonder if the glycemic index can predict the effect of a mix meal containing foods with very different indexes. Studies have shown that it does that job very well, too.
More than fifteen studies have looked at the glycemic index of mixed meals. Twelve of them showed an excellent correlation between what was expected and what was actually found.
You can quite readily predict the glycemic index of a mixed meal. Simply multiply the percent of total carbohydrate of each of the foods by its glycemic index and add up the results to get the glycemic index of the meal as a whole. Professor Brand-Miller has an example on page 78 of her book The New Glucose Revolution. The report of a Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation "Carbohydrates in Human Nutrition" (cited in the Web bibliography below), has a comprehensive explanation and example in its section 6.3.
The three studies that did not show the expected correlation came from a group of researchers who were not using standardized methodology for working out the glycemic index from the area under the curve. In addition, their meals were high in fat, which tends to reduce the impact of any one carbohydrate food.
What About Protein and Fat?
| But what if the meal contains protein and fat too, as it usually does? How does that affect our mixed meal calculations?
The conventional wisdom holds that between 50 to 60% of protein becomes glucose and enters the bloodstream about 3 to 4 hours after it's eaten. It's generally accepted that fat has little affect on blood glucose.
In fact, recent studies indicate that neither protein nor fat have more than a minuscule affect on blood glucose. This seems to be true for people both with and without diabetes. The protein studies are particularly interesting.
A 50-gram dose of protein (in the form of very lean beef) resulted in only about 2 grams of glucose being produced and released into circulation. Neither does adding protein to carbohydrate slow the absorption or peak of the glucose response.
Fat delays the peak but not the total glucose response, according to these new studies. Therefore, it looks like you can simply ignore protein and fat in mixed meal calculations.
"Of much greater concern is how protein and fat affect blood glucose levels in the long term," Jennie Brand-Miller of the University of Sydney writes me. "High fat and high protein diets have the distinct potential to induce insulin resistance, which would mean that any carbohydrate eaten would raise blood glucose and insulin levels to greater heights on a day to day basis. However, the type of fat may be important here. A recent study in Diabetologia showed that moderately high MUFA [monounsaturated fatty acids] diets improved insulin sensitivity, if the fat was less than a certain level (higher than 37% was associated with insulin resistance)."
For fuller details you can check out the articles themselves:
- Franz, Marion J. "Protein Controversies in Diabetes." Diabetes Spectrum, Volume 13, Number 3, 2000, pages 132-141. The URL is
- Gannon MC, Nuttall JA, Damberg G, Gupta V, Nuttall FQ. "Effect of Protein Ingestion on the Glucose Appearance Rate in People with Type 2 Diabetes" The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Volume 86, March 2001, pages 1040-1047. The URL is
Many people have noticed that pizza seems to keep their blood glucose level high longer than just about any other food. While the reason remains a mystery, this folk wisdom now has scientific confirmation.
Ahern et al. compared the effect on insulin-dependent patients of a pizza meal with a control meal that included high glycemic index foods. They found that although the initial glucose increase was similar for the two meals, the GI continued to rise and was significantly increased from four to nine hours after the pizza meal compared with the control meal.
Rice and Potatoes
Rice and potatoes are some of the foods most tested for their glycemic indexes. They are important both because most of us tend to eat a lot of rice and potatoes and because they can have a high glycemic index. Professor Brand-Miller reports the results of 49 studies of rice and 24 studies of potatoes. The results for rice ranged all the way from 54 to 132 and for potatoes from 67 to 158.
What could possibly cause such tremendous variation? According to Professor Brand-Miller, for rice one of the most important considerations is the ratio of amylose to amylopectin. She says that "the only whole (intact) grain food with a high G.I. factor is low amylose rice, such as Calrose rice...However, some varieties of rice (Basmati, a long grain fragrant rice, and Doongara, a new Australian variety of rice [which is not available in the United States] have intermediate G.I. factors because they have a higher amylose content than normal rice."
Wallace Yokoyama, a research chemist working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Albany, California, gave me a comprehensive explanation. There are, says this noted rice specialist, four types of rice: long-grain, medium-grain, short-grain, and sweet rice. Sweet rice is also known as sticky or waxy rice. It makes the best sauces and gravies, and is usually the rice used in Asian restaurants. Sweet rice has no amylose, Yokoyama says. In other words, it is the rice that has the highest glycemic index. The three other types of rice have lower glycemic indexes. Among these types, long-grain rice has the highest amylose content and short-grain the lowest.
Of course, each of these three types of rice may be brown or white. Brown rice has a lower glycemic index than white rice, everything else being equal. Therefore brown long-grain riceor if you can find itbrown Basmati ricewill probably be your best bet for a rice with a lower glycemic index. White Basmati rice had a glycemic index of 83 in one study. Brown Basmati rice can be expected to have a somewhat lower index, but we don't know precisely what it is, because the studies haven't been done yet.
Richard Jackson maintains in e-mail to me that my statement that there are three basic types of rice is "somewhat incorrect." He says that there is also a sweet rice used in oriental cooking. "It is not only very much stickier than standard Asian milled rice (such as Kokuro Rose Brand)," he writes, "but is perceptibly sweeter when eaten. It is typically fermented prior to cooking, whereas standard Japanese-style milled rice is not. I think if more research is done into this factor, the data may prove that the difference between sweet rice and regular Asian-style rice is different on the scale of caloric values as pertains to ingestion by diabetics."
Among potatoes, new and some white potatoes have the lowest indexes. The reason that new potatoes have a lower GI is probably because most of the amylopectin is less branchedit is more like amylose at this immature stage.
Fructose and High Fructose Corn Syrup
An addition to the published glycemic indexes is high fructose corn syrup, which is endemic in U.S. processed foods. Fructose is not the same as high fructose corn syrup, Professor Jennie Brand-Miller emphasized in a message to RonnieDbrg@aol.com, which he kindly faxed to me. "The former is pure fructose; the latter [high fructose corn syrup] is a mixture of fructose and glucose," she wrote. "In high fructose corn syrups, the fructose content is about 50 percent. Thus the GI of high fructose corn syrups is about the same as sucrose, i.e. 60-65 (if glucose = 100)." When white bread = 100, the GI of high fructose corn syrups is 85-92.
Soy milk has a low glycemic index of 43, according to e-mail from Professor Brand-Miller. The tested soy milk, she writes, has 4.5 grams of carbohydrates, 3.5 grams of fat, and 3.5 grams of protein per 100 ml. A low factor for soy milk isn't surprising, since soybeans have a GI of 25. But consumers in the United Stateswhere many different brands and flavors are availableneed to be aware that not all soy milks are created equal.
My wife, who like me has type 2 diabetes, recently discovered that her blood glucose rose dramatically after a large cup of chai made with soy milk. That's when we paid attention for the first time to how many grams of carbohydrate that particular soy milk had. So then I looked through the nutrition information on the dozens of brands and flavors of soy milk (and rice milk and almond milk and oat milk, etc.) in our local natural foods store.
I was amazed to find that the carbohydrate content of these beverages varied from 4 grams per 8 oz. to 36 grams. At least four brands have no more than 4 grams of carbohydrate per 8 oz. serving and are made from nothing by water and organic whole soybeans.
Pacific Original Non Dairy Beverage Unsweetened has 5 grams of carbohydrates, but 3 grams are fiber, which means it has only 2 grams of available carbohydrate per serving. The URL is http://www.pacificfoods.com/
Soyfresh Unsweetened Soy Beverage also has only 2 grams of available carbohydrate per serving. The URL is http://www.soyfresh.com
Plain Yo Soy Traditional Soymilk from Wildwood Natural Foods is almost as low-carb. It has 3 grams of available carbohydrate. The URL is http://www.wildwoodnaturalfoods.com
Westbrae Natural Foods Westsoy 100% Organic Non Dairy Soy Beverage Unsweetened has 4 grams of available carbohydrate. The URL ishttp://www.novelco.com/westbrae/
You may also want to compare these numbers with cow's milk. It has 11 to 13 grams of carbohydrate per 8 oz, whether it is non-fat or full-fat. Also note that the carbohydrates in soy beverages have a lower GI than that of lactose, which is 65.
Thanks to Professor Jennie Brand-Miller for authorizing me to reproduce her glycemic index and glycemic load table. Thanks too to Tere Griffin who began the collection of information for what turned into this Web page and originally got me interested in this fascinating subject.
| There's nothing on my Web site that draws more visitors (and more e-mail questions) than my articles on the glycemic index. Ever since I reviewed the first Australian edition of The G.I. Factor by Jennie Brand-Miller and her associates at the University of Sydney for Diabetes Interview in August 1996 (online at http://www.mendosa.com/gifactor.htm), Jennie and I have maintained a close albeit long-distance relationship.
I brought to her attention an article in The Washington Post that was critical of the glycemic index concept. That article, by Lawrence Lindner, executive editor of the Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, appeared as "What's Your Number, Sweetie? The Glycemic Index Is Science-Basedand Nearly Impossible to Follow," The Washington Post, May 1, 2001, is online at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A22159-2001Apr30.html.
Jennie wrote a brilliant and shortand caustic rebuttal. Too trenchant for the Post, the newspaper has not yet published it and probably never will. It is, however, too good to go unread, and yesterday Jennie authorized me to reproduce her letter here:
Imagine setting up a system of rating the energy content of foods and assigning a numberlet's call them calories, the higher the number, the more energy they contain and the greater their likelihood of causing weight gain. We could use this system to guide food choices to lower energy intake.
Unfortunately, it's not that simple! The number would not tell us anything about the vitamin, mineral or fiber content. The numbers could be misleadingsome highly nutritious foods like nuts and legumes have terribly high numbers (calories), while some nutritionally worthless foods have very low numbers (e.g. diet soda). What's more the numbers are not set in stonethey vary from time to time and just a slight change in the recipe would alter the number drastically. Let's dump the conceptit's way too difficult to follow.
The worth of any food cannot be measured by a single number, but a single number can tell you a great deal about how the carbohydrate in that food affects blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels are a risk factor for diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Dozens of studies have shown improvements in a variety of clinical outcomes with free-living subjects consuming self-selected low glycemic index diets.
Like the calorie content of food, the glycemic index deserves some consideration. The foods that provide the most carbohydrate in the diet are the ones that need close attention (potatoes, breakfast cereals, breads, soft drinks), not carrots, honey or over-ripe bananas.
Jennie Brand-Miller PhD
Associate Professor of Human Nutrition
University of Sydney, Australia
Author of The Glucose Revolution, Marlowe and Co., 1999
Among the literally hundreds of studies of the glycemic index in the scientific literature, these are some of the most important and most recent:
- Ahern, J.A., et al. "Exaggerated hyperglycemia after a pizza meal in well-controlled diabetics." Diabetes Care, Vol 16, April 1993, pp. 578-80.
- Arnot, Robert. Dr. Bob Arnot's Revolutionary Weight Control Program. (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 1997), 305 pages, $23.95. Little, Brown and Company brought out a paperback version of the book in May 1998 for $13.95. A key focus of this book is that by dropping what Dr. Arnot calls your "glucose load" you can lose weight. By glucose load, Dr. Arnot means the glycemic index. "The greater the number or higher GI foods you eat, the higher you total glucose load," he writes. Chapter 6, "Drop You Glucose Load," is right on target. This new and outstanding book probably makes better use of modern scientific concepts like the glycemic index than any other weight control book.
- Bahan, Deanie Comeaux. Sugarfree New Orleans: A Cookbook Based on the Glycemic Index. (New Orleans: AFM Publishing LLC, 1997), 171 pages. Here is a practical application of the glycemic index by someone who really understands how it works. The book is available in book stores or by mail order for $15.95 + $2.50 s/h. The ordering information is:
Sugarfree New Orleans
PO Box 750855
New Orleans, LA 70175
- Brand Miller, Janette, et al. "Rice: a High or Low Glycemic Index Food?" The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 56, 1992, pp. 1034-1036.
- Brand-Miller, Jennie, Thomas M.S. Wolever, Stephen Colagiuri, and Kaye Foster-Powell.The Glucose Revolution: The Authoritative Guide to the Glycemic Index, The Groundbreaking Medical Discovery. New York: Marlowe & Company. 272 paperback pages. $19.95. This is the updated U.S. edition of The G.I. Factor: The Glycaemic Index Solution. Sydney: Hodder Headline, 1996. 250 paperback pages. Price A$19.95. The bible of glycemic index studies. An on-line review is available.
- Buchhorn, Des. "Adjusted carbohydrate exchange: food exchanges for diabetes management corrected with the glycaemic index." Australian Journal of Nutrition and Dietetics, Volume 54, 1997, pp. 65-68. The adjusted carbohydrate exchange (ACE) refines carbohydrate exchange lists by multiplying the glycemic index of a food by its carbohydrate content to indicate the likely effect of a food on blood glucose. Thanks to Joanna Hutchison for bringing this imaginative extension of the glycemic index to my attention.
- Foster-Powell, Kaye, Susanna HA Holt, and Janette C Brand-Miller. "International table of glycemic index and glycemic load values: 2002." The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 76, 2002, pp. 5-56. This extensive table lists 750 foods and is the definitive journal article. It updates the first comprehensive listing of glycemic index results: Kaye Foster-Powell and Janette Brand Miller. "International tables of glycemic index." The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 62 (supplement), 1995, pp. 871S-893S.
- Foster-Powell, Kaye, Jennie Brand Miller and Stephen Colagiuri. Pocket Guide to the G.I. Factor for People with Diabetes. Hodder Headline Australia Pty Limited, 1997. 96 small4.25"x5.5"paperback pages. Price A$6.95 (approximately US$4.95). This is a companion volume to The G.I. Factor that adds new information, including the number of grams of fat and carbohydrates along with the glycemic index of some 300 different foods. Here are sources of the book.
- Gittleman, Ann Louise. Get the Sugar Out: 501 Simple Ways to Cut the Sugar Out of Any Diet. New York: Three Rivers Press, 1996. 186 paperback pages. Price $11. This book is fundamentally based on the glycemic indexand the author's understanding of the glycemic index is fundamentally flawed. The pages on the glycemic index in the preface (xvii through xxi) are worse than useless. Riddled with mistakes, it makes the unpardonable error of equating the glycemic index of glucose and that of white bread (as well as whole-wheat bread) as being 100. This mistake must be the result of sloppy reading of different presentations of the glycemic index that are indeed based on one or the other of these food products. However, glucose has a GI about 40 percent higher than that of white bread.
- Gallop, Rick. The G.I. Diet: The Easy, Healthy Way to Permanent Weight Loss. Canada, Random House Canada, 2002. 178 paperback pages. Price Canadian $24.95. Rick Gallop wrote this book when he was the president of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, Canada. In that capacity he learned about Barry Sears's The Zone diet, which is based on the principles of the glycemic index. Himself overweight, he lost 20 pounds on The Zone. But, he says, 95 percent of the people who tried to follow that diet dropped out within a year. Dismayed by that dropout rate, Gallop set out to address the two key impediments to success: complexity and hunger. His book is the result. It's further described on the Web at http://www.randomhouse.ca/catalog/display_can.pperl?isbn=0679310568 and http://www.gidiet.com/
- Hermansen, K., et al. "Influence of ripeness of banana on the blood glucose and insulin response in type 2 diabetic subjects." Diabetic Medicine, Vol. 9, October 1992, pp. 739-43.
- Heaton, Kenneth W. et al. "Particle size of wheat, maize, and oat test meals: effects on plasma glucose and insulin responses and on the rate of starch digestion in vitro." The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 47, 1988, pp. 675-682.
- Holt, Susanne H.A., Janette C. Brand Miller, and Peter Petocz. "An insulin index of foods: the insulin demand generated by 1000-kJ portions of common foods." The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 66, 1997, pp. 1264-76. This recent paper fills two of the most important gaps in glycemic index research: (1) comparisons between glucose responses measured by the glycemic index and insulin responses as measured by an insulin index and (2) comparisons of foods on the basis of total equal calorie portions instead of equal carbohydrate calorie portions, which is what glycemic index studies otherwise use.
The authors tested 38 foods in six food categories (fruit, bakery products, snacks, carbohydrate-rich foods, protein-rich foods, and breakfast cereals). They found a high correlation between glucose and insulin scores, although bakery products, which are high in fat and refined carbohydrates, and protein-rich foods gave disproportionately higher insulin responses than glycemic responses. Some protein-rich and fat-rich foods induced as much insulin secretion as did some carbohydrate-rich foods.
Each of the tests compared 1000-kJ portions, which is equal to about 240 calories. Each subject first consumed a 1000-kJ portion of white bread (45.9 g carbohydrate) to confirm normal glucose tolerance. The study also used white bread as the reference food against which they compared all other foods, similar to the method used for calculating GI values.
- Jenkins, David J.A., et al. "Glycemic Index of Foods: a Physiological Basis for Carbohydrate Exchange." The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 34, March 1981, pp. 362-366. The initial glycemic index research. A classic.
- Jenkins, D.J.A. and Jenkins, A.L. "Treatment of hypertriglceridemia and diabetes." Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Vol 6, 1987, pp.11-17.
- Jenkins, David J.A. et al. "Starchy Foods and Glycemic Index." Diabetes Care, Vol. 11, No. 2, February 1988, pp. 149-159.
- Lipetz, Philip. The Good Calorie Diet. HarperSpotlight paperback, 1994. 276 pages. $5.99. Its contains up-to-date discussions of the effects of the glycemic (and fat) content of some 3,000 foods separately listed for their good and bad calorie effect. An appendix lists the glycemic index of about 137 foods. Thanks to Deb Branson for bringing this book to my attention.
- Lipetz, Philip, and Monika Pichler. Naturally Slim and Powerful. Andrews and McMeel, 1997. 254 pages. $19.95. This low-fat food regimen is designed for women and uses the glycemic index to increase serotonin levels. It includes a listing of foods with their glycemic index, menu suggestions, and recipes. Thanks to Carol Carvajal for bringing this book to my attention.
- Liu, P, T. Perry and J.A. Monro. " Glycaemic glucose equivalent: validation as a predictor of the relative glycaemic effect of foods." European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, in press 2003. GGE content predicts glycemic impact of foods over a practical range of carbohydrate intakes and may therefore be useful for accurate dietary management of glycemia in diabetes.
- Ludwig, David S., et al. "High Glycemic Index Foods, Overeating, and Obesity." Pediatrics, Vol. 103, No. 3, March 1999, p. e26 ff. This study, much reported in the popular press, demonstrated that the rapid absorption of glucose that follows the consumption of foods with a high glycemic index may trigger hormonal changes that lead to overeating. The study is on-line at http://www.pediatrics.org/cgi/content/full/103/3/e26
- Ludwig, David S. "The Glycemic Index: Physiological Mechanisms Relating to Obesity, Diabetes, and Cardiovascular Disease." JAMA, Vol. 287, No. 18, pp. 2414-2423. Dr. David Ludwig of the Boston Children's Hospital gives the glycemic index a big boost in the May 8 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, perhaps the country's most prestigious medical journal. This support should help resolve some of the controversies over the glycemic index that still linger here. "The habitual consumption of high-glycemic index foods may increase risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease," Dr. Ludwig concludes. ":Despite areas of continuing controversy, clinical use of glycemic index as a qualitative guide to food selection would seem to be prudent in view of the preponderance of evidence suggesting benefit and absence of adverse effects."
- Miller, Campbell J., et al. "The Glycaemic Index of three varieties of dates." Saudi Medical Journal, Vol 23, No. 5, May 2002, pp. 536-538.
- Monro, John A., and Mike Williams. "Concurrent management of postprandial glycaemia and nutrient intake using glycaemic glucose equivalents, food composition data and computer-assisted meal design," Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 9, 2000, pp.67-73. Dr. Monro's recent article took the glycemic index a giant step forward. By multiplying the glycemic index of hundreds of foods by the proportion of carbohydrates that those foods contain he has developed a table of the relative glycemic potency (RGP) of these foods, a classification of whole foods according to their immediate impact on blood glucose levels. The RPG compares equal weights of foods. Further, he has determined the glycemic glucose equivalents (GGE) of these foods so different amounts of different foods can be compared directly according to their glycemic impact. The GGE is a quantity in grams, allowing it it to be treated in the same way as nutrients.
- Monro, John. " Food Exchange Tables for Control of Postprandial Glycaemia," Journal of the New Zealand Dietetic Association, April 1999, pp. 11-21. Here are tables for more than 100 foods common in New Zealand (and elsewhere) on the basis of the glycemic index adjusted exchange values described in the previous listing.
- Monro, John A. "Glycaemic glucose equivalent: combining carbohydrate content, quantity and glycaemic index of foods for precision in glycaemia management," Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol 11, 2002, pp. 217-225. Now that the glycemic load is calculated on the basis of a single serving and uses a glucose-based GI, the values for GL/serving and GGE content/serving are the same. In other words, as Dr. Monro writes me, GGE can be regarded as the units for GL.
- Montignac, Michel. Eat Yourself Slim. Baltimore: Erika House Book Publishers, May 1999. 296 paperback pages. Price $19.95. This is new American edition of Michel Montignac's French classicthe first book to promote the glycemic index for weight loss. An extensive Web site about the book can be found at http://www.montignacusa.com/.
- Montignac, Michel. Eat Yourself Slim. Canadian edition published by Michel-Ange Publishing, June 1999. 228 pages. Price $19.95. Amazon.com links it at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0968402909/o/qid%3D942164902/sr%3D8-1/102/002-9506817-4264213, and it is scheduled to be available at http://www.montignac-intl.com/ soon.
- National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse, a Service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health. Diabetes and the Glycemic Index Information Packet. March 1996, 9 pages. While the U.S. Government does not endorse the glycemic index, this information packet certainly shows that it recognizes the concept. The packet consists of two articles:
- Dinsmoor, Robert S. "The Glycemic Index," Diabetes Self-Management, Winter 1984-85, pages 22-24. A very early popularization of the work of Dr. David Jenkins, who developed the glycemic index concept in 1981.
- Brand Miller, Janette C. "Importance of glycemic index in diabetes" American Journal of Clinical Nutrition , Vol. 59 (supplement), 1994, pp. 747S-752S. A comprehensive and professional review of the literature.
- Paice, Derek A. Diabetes and Diet: A Type 2 Patient's Successful Efforts at Control. Paice & Associates Inc., 114 Rosewood Court, Palm Harbor, FL 34685, 1997. He has authorized me to make this book available free online at Diabetes and Diet: A Type 2 Patient's Successful Efforts at Control. By treating the body as a machine and characterizing the relationships between input (food) and output (blood glucose), Mr. Paice, a research engineer who has had type 2 diabetes for over 7 years, was able to get excellent control of his diabetes by diet alone. Mr. Paice developed an alternative method to glycemic index for characterizing the glucose-raising effect of food. This "substance glycemic index" is based on a fixed weight of foods, independently of its composition in terms of carbohydrate, protein, and fat. By means of charts and graphs more than 50 of his experiments are summarized and discussed. The effects of different foodstuffs are vividly presented in a way that is easy to follow. His methods and results will give you greater understanding of your own diabetes. Dr. Richard K. Bernstein, author of Diabetes Solution wrote of the book: "I find it very fascinating."
- Perricone, Nicolas, M.D. The Perricone Prescription: A Physician's 28-Day Program for Total Body and Face Rejuvenation. HarperCollins, 2002. 274 pages. I probably should be more appreciative of his plug to this Web page on page 37 of his book. But I need to point out a couple of errors in the book. He says that he is using the index "with 100 indicating the increase in blood sugar levels resulting from eating table sugar." No, it's a different sugarglucose. He also says that "good old-fashioned rolled barley packs a wallop at 100." It's hard to figure out what he's talking about, but old-fashioned pearled barley has a GI of 25 and rolled barley tested in Australia has a GI of 66.
- Podell, Richard N., and William Proctor. The G-Index Diet. WarnerBooks Inc., 1993. 292 pages. A popularization of the glycemic index for weight loss.
- "Point/Counterpoint Glycemic Index: Pro and Con," Nutrition Today, Vol. 34, March/April 1999, pp. 64-88. The best series of articles on the advantages and disadvantages of the glycemic index available anywhere, by experts in the field, including Janette Brand-Miller and Kaye Foster-Powell; Thomas M.S. Wolever (pro); Marion J. Franz; Christine Beebe (con); and Helen Katanas (pro).
- Salmerón, Jorge, et al. "Dietary Fiber, Glycemic Load, and Risk of Non-insulin-dependent Diabetes Mellitus in Women." The Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 277, February 12, 1997, pp. 472-477. One of the most important findings to come out the Nurses' Health Study of 121,700 U.S. female registered nurses over many years, this landmark study recognizes the glycemic index in the prestigious journal JAMA for perhaps the first time.
- Smith, Ulf. "Carbohydrates, Fat, and Insulin Action." The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 59 (supplement), 1994, pp. 686S-689S.
- Steward, H. Leighton et al. Sugar Busters! Cut Sugar to Trim Fat. New York: Ballantine Books, 1998, $22. Inspired by Michel Montignac's Eat Yourself Slim (see listing above), this book by a businessman and three medical doctors is based on the glycemic index. This 270-page hardcover book is a substantial expansion of the 143-page paperback, which they self-published in 1995. My review of this book was published in the September 1998 issue of Diabetes Interview magazine and is online at http://www.mendosa.com/sugar.htm. Associated with the book is a Web site at SUGAR BUSTERS!.
- Thomas, D.E., Brotherhood, J.R., and Brand, J.C. "Carbohydrate feeding before exercise: effect of the glycemic index." International Journal of Sports Medicine, Vol 12, 1991, pp.180-186.
- Trout, D.L., Behall, K.M., and Osilesi, O. "Prediction of glycemic index for starchy foods." The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 58, 1993, pp. 873-8.
- Wahlqvist, M.L. (Department of Medicine, Monash University, Monash Medical Centre, Clayton, VIC., Australia). "Nutrition and diabetes." Australian Family Physician, Vol 26, April 1997, pages 384-389. For short term (acute meal response) and longer term glycaemic control, as well as an aid to satiety, low fat glycaemic index foods are encouraged.
- Whitaker, Julian. "My Latest Thinking on Diet: All Carbohydrates Are Not Created Equal." Dr. Julian Whitaker's Health & Healing, January 1998 (Special Supplement). In two pages Dr. Whitaker aptly summarizes the case for the glycemic index. In a nutshell, this is what he says: "For years I have advocated a diet very high in complex carbohydrates and painted excessive fat as the villain. While I maintain my stance on the deleterious effects of excessive fats, new research has convinced me that excessive carbohydrates pose similar risks....Recent research...has added a twist to the simple/complex carbohydrates game--the glycemic index. It is a way of evaluating foods according to how quickly they are metabolized into glucose. Foods with a high glycemic index enter the bloodstream rapidly, while low glycemic foods promote a slower release of glucose and insulin. This means you should go easy on high glycemic foods. The bulk of your diet should be low glycemic complex carbohydrates."
Willett, Walter C. Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating. New York: Simon & Schuster Source, 2001. 299 pages. $25. Dr. Willett originated the concept of the glycemic load as an extension of the glycemic index and calculates the glycemic load of 34 foods here (pages 90-91).
- Wolever, Thomas M.S. et al. "The Glycemic Index: Methodology and Clinical Implications." The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 54, 1991, pp. 846- 854.
- Wolever, Thomas M.S. et al. "Glycemic Index of Fruits and Fruit Products in Patients with Diabetes." The International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, Vol. 43, 1993, pp.205-212.
- Woodruff, Sandra. The Good Carb Cookbook: Secrets of Eating Low on the Glycemic Index. New York: Avery, 2001. 312 paperback pages. $15.95.
The Glycemic Index Elsewhere on the Internet:
- "Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load Lists" is a Web page by Malcolm Graham. The site includes a Palm-based SmartList database of Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load values. The URL is
- Greg Watson in Adelaide, South Australia, has an extensive Web page on "Carbs, Glycemic Index & Glycemic Load" at http://optimalhealth.cia.com.au/gi17.html. If you have Excel on your computer, especially interesting is his Interactive Glycemic Load Excel Spreadsheet. His data appears to be from the same source as my page at http://www.mendosa.com/gilists.htm, except unlike everyone else he doesn't divide the glycemic load by 100.
- Catherine Parson in Liphook, Hampshire, U.K., has built a weight loss Web site based on the glycemic index, Kilo K.O. The URL is
- "Diabetes & Diet" offers excellent advice from Malcolm Graham. The URL is http://diabetestype2.ca/diet.htm
- "Glycemic Load, Diet, and Health" from The Harvard Women's Health Watch is a useful article about the glycemic index and the glycemic load, although it is wrong about carrots being high glycemic and fails to subtract fiber from its glycemic load calculations. The URL is
- The Glycemic Index Foundation of South Africa has a comprehensive GI site customized to focus on foods available there. Particularly strong is the site's bibliography. The URL is
- The Glycemic Index On-line, the University of Sydney's GI Website, is a comprehensive and authoritative guide to the glycemic index. Dr. Jennie Brand-Miller, who authorized me to summarize her work in 1995 or 1996, finally has a Web presence in November 2000. And what a presence it is! Her site is now the key Internet resource on this subject. The URL is
- "Glycemic Index: Palm databases" offers a choice of the glycemic index based on white bread or glucose in databases for Palm devices. The URL is
- J. Raloff has an outstanding and comprehensive article on "The New GI Tracts" in the April 8, 2000, issue of Science News, which is on-line at http://www.sciencenews.org/20000408/bob2.asp
- The Glycemic Effect of Carbohydrate Food is an excellent explanation of the benefits of using strategies to lower the overall glycemic index of the foods that you eat. The URL is
- A recent review of the literature on the glycemic index is a paper by Maria Kalergis, MSc RD, Danièle Pacaud, MD, Jean-François Yale, MD, "Attempts to Control the Glycemic Response to Carbohydrate in Diabetes Mellitus: Overview and Practical Implications" in the Canadian Journal of Diabetes Care 22(1):20-29, 1998. This long paper is on-line at the Medscape site at http://www.medscape.com/CDA/CJDC/1998/v22.n01/dc2201.02.kale/dc2201.02.kale-01.html
- The most scientific background on the glycemic index on the Web is "Carbohydrates in Human Nutrition; Interim Report of a Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation, Rome, Italy, 14 to 18 April 1997." This report by an international committee of carbohydrate experts assembled by the United Nations reports on the current scientific knowledge of carbohydrates, which turns out to be much more complex than a layman like myself has ever dreamed possible. It also contains a valuable section on the glycemic index itself, "The Role of the Glycemic Index in Food Choice." The URL is
- A new NutriGenie Glycemic Index Diet for Windows (released February 10, 1997) "has the GI ratings (low, medium and high) for over 500 most common foods," but does not show actual ratings. The source of their data is not stated. E-mail from the company says, "We use many sources for our data, some for just a few entries. In addition the classification can be revised by users if they choose, so naming the sources for GI is not necessary." Really? This shareware program, available for $39, is available as crippleware on the Internet at http://members.aol.com/nutrigenie/nggid48.html and other sites.
- Now the glycemic index is even available is Spanish at El índice glucémico. Para información o comentarios sobre la producción y edici&ón de estas pá ginas dirigirse a Fernando Martín. The information presented is based on glucose = 100. The URL is
- Another article on the glycemic index in Spanish, "Importancia del índice glucmico," can be found online at http://www.diabetesonline.com.ar/diabetes/art_88.htm.
- An editorial about the glycemic index rebutting the commentary by Dr. Thomas M.S. Wolever, "The Glycemic Index: Flogging a Dead Horse?" in the journal Diabetes Care is on-line at http://www.diabetes.org/DiabetesCare/1997-03/pg241.htm. For some unexplained reason, Diabetes Care has made the rebuttal available on-line without making Dr. Wolever's commentary available there. Therefore, I have scanned in an extract of Dr. Wolever's commentary under fair use provisions of the Copyright Act at http://www.mendosa.com/wolever.htm.
- The Montignac Universal Web site has a short "Glycaemic Index Table" based on glucose = 100 at
- The official Michel Montignac website in both English and French in Quebec, Canada, is his weight-loss clinic based in part on the glycemic index. The URL is
- Marcel Bovy in Amsterdam, Holland, has a fine review of the diet method developed by Michel Montignac, which makes considerable use of the glycemic index. The URL is
- "The Glycemic Index; How quickly do foods raise your blood sugar?" is an attractively presented page on the Diabetes Mall. The URL is
- "The Glycemic Index & Weight Loss" is About.com's collection of recipes that are acceptable for a low GI diet. The URL is
- "The Glycemic Index & Weight Loss" is a decent summary of the glycemic index on Lynn Nelson 's "Mining Co. Guide to Busy Cooks." The URL is
- The best on-line analysis of the glycemic index for athletes is Janet Walberg Rankin's "Glycemic Index and Exercise Metabolism." While this article originally appeared on the Gatorade Sports Science Institute site, it requires registration, and an easier place to find it is at http://www.fred.net/ultrunr/glycemic.html.
- Here's another excellent glycemic index resource for athletes. Cycling Performance Tips: Glycemic Index shows how athletes can make use of the glycemic index. The URL is
Last modified: March 13, 2003
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To: big bad easter bunny
Whew! I think I lost a pound or two just scrolling down your post...
But seriously, good stuff.
posted on 03/16/2003 2:22:09 PM PST
(Dems lie 'cause they have to)
I've lost 30 lbs since the beginning of the year on Atkins. I feel better than I have in years. No after work naps anymore! I've not counted calories, just cut the sugar and carbs. Consider me one of the Atkins 'converts'
When I started looking at when I really gained weight it was when I believed the "food pyramid" saying I could have 11 servings of grain a day. Maybe some people can, but not me.
"We know people can't stay away from it forever."
A diet is simple, unchanging, and not in any way dependent on any single weight loss scheme. Weight is a function of the difference in the amount of calories consumed and the amount of calories expended. In order to gain weight simply consume more calories than you expend, to lose weight just reverse it, consume less calories than you expend.
For the utmost in health eat fruits, vegetables, beans, and grains for the nutrition your body requires. All other foods are to be consumed for fun because outside of an occasional fish no other foods are required for nutrition.
Counting carbohydrates is not the reason Atkins methods result in weight loss. The reason for the weight loss is the reduction of calories consumed and more importantly not allowing protein foods and starches in the same meal.
Simply do not combine proteins and starches when you cant stay away from it. If you must have that baked potato load it with butter if you wish but do consume it with meat or any protein food. Have all the vegetables you wish with that baked potato.
The American Diabetes Association and the other official associations continue to kill and maim American with their dreadful recommendations about high carbo diets ("complex carbs"). I would not be surprised if the trial lawyers begin to level their sites on them.
posted on 03/16/2003 2:35:40 PM PST
(Dems lie 'cause they have to)
Would love to find low carb breads. I use corn tortillas one tortilla has 11 carbs and you can put just about anything in it.
posted on 03/16/2003 2:35:59 PM PST
(WE'LL PUT A BOOT IN YOUR ASS ITS THE AMERICAN WAY)
I agree.... Why don't the grain farmers create low-carb flours and low gluten goods that cater to the Atkins program followers, offer these at a lower price than much that's on the Atkins site, and turn the remaining into fuel. Then we can be a little more less reliant on fossil fuels. It could be a win-win situation
I am a true believer in Atkins. I have lost 32# on it, and feel just great. Very seldomly do I encounter heart-burn anymore since I have cut the carbs drastically.
posted on 03/16/2003 2:36:22 PM PST
Wrong--there are many metabolic switches in our system, and carb intake controls some very important ones. With all due respect, your thinking is dated. We have moved beyond "a calorie is just a calorie." Research PPARs; look at how visceral fat controls metabolism and insulin sensitivity.
It's pretty complex stuff and we do not have all the answers, but they're coming fast; don't get caught on the wrong side of emerging metabolic (approach to) truth.
posted on 03/16/2003 2:39:52 PM PST
(Dems lie 'cause they have to)
What an interesting suggesting re farming. A breakthrough there would mean a kajillion bucks for the discoverer...
posted on 03/16/2003 2:41:33 PM PST
(Dems lie 'cause they have to)
I am a chef and unfortunately on Insulin. I eat very few carbohydrates but the truth is everybody just about eats to much period let alone refined sugars. Your body just doesn't care what you eat carbs wise it turns all of into glucose!
You Look MAAV...o...lous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Congrates!!
Try eBay or Atkins website www.atkinscenter.com. Their sourdough and rye is pretty good. Also look for Ketogenics brand bread. About 3-5 net carbs per slice.
When I followed the government pyramid plan, I weighed 480 lbs. and I lived, toothless, in a rain gully by the side of the road.
Since I went on Atkins, I've lost 350 lbs., my salary has tripled, my daughter became a physicist, my son a major league shortstop, and my wife turned into Sarah Michelle Gellar.
I can't sing Atkins praises enough, with my new world-class, operatic, tenor voice.
posted on 03/16/2003 2:44:01 PM PST
To: big bad easter bunny
A big BINGO! to you, chef.
Do you take any insulin sensitizers (Glucophage, Avandia, Actos) with your insulin (I assume you are a type 2)?
posted on 03/16/2003 2:44:14 PM PST
(Dems lie 'cause they have to)
go on the web look for synery low carb foods in California
their donuts are good
...and, you've come back from the (no--I won't say it).
posted on 03/16/2003 2:45:55 PM PST
(Dems lie 'cause they have to)
Carbolite has quality stuff too (expensive, though). They're also on the web.
posted on 03/16/2003 2:46:57 PM PST
(Dems lie 'cause they have to)
I don't necessarily follow the Atkins diet, but I do try to keep his ideas in mind. I'm exactly the right weight for my size, but I don't have the time to exercise all that much, so I don't want to put myself in a position where I will someday need to lose weight.
I don't need that many carbs, so dinner will be a nice piece of meat or fish with a fresh salad - no side dish of pasta or potatoes. I only eat the "forbidden foods" when I know I'll be burning them off later.
posted on 03/16/2003 2:49:52 PM PST
by July 4th
My whole family getting great results with Atkins's way of eating. We were all following the pyramid and commiting sugarcide slowly. This is a revolution and food producers would be wise to adjust because there is just too many good side effects to Atkins plus the weight loss. I use to need a Noon nap after lunch but no longer and have more energy than ever. Each one in the family have lost 20 or more pounds. Remeber what Atkin's says," The diet is a three legged stool, low carbs, exercise, and fat protien". Yum! Yum!
posted on 03/16/2003 2:52:07 PM PST
To: July 4th
That is an eminently rational way to do it; many people, however, are not as well "metabolically endowed" as you. For them, a more radical approach is needed (there are about 17 million type 2 diabetics in this country, the majority of them are diet-induced).
posted on 03/16/2003 2:53:23 PM PST
(Dems lie 'cause they have to)
I am down to only one type of insulin Lantus, it lasts 24 hours and because of my low carb diet and excersize I have eliminated 2-3 extra shots of humalog each day. I don't take any thing else. Even suppliments screw with my blood sugar. The other drugs you spoke of effect your liver to much where as just insulin is a pretty clean way to go before I get cured.
It's not really a farming thing - it's a processors thing - grains, in their purest form, in proper portions, are a good thing - the more processed they are, the more they loose the good things nature put in. They need to pay attention to that.
What gripes me is the things that are advertised as 'healty' that really aren't: one HealthyChoice entre I looked at in the supeermarket has 82 grams of crabs in one serving - making 'healthy choice' rather oxymoronic.
posted on 03/16/2003 2:54:47 PM PST
by Keith in Iowa
(Hans Blix didn't find anything here either...)
posted on 03/16/2003 2:54:48 PM PST
(Dems lie 'cause they have to)
To: big bad easter bunny
Sounds good; the Avandia and Actos can cause liver problems, but Glucophage is better on that score and works differently. Lantus is a high-tech insulin and is a terrific product. It sounds like you have things well under control. Excellent.
posted on 03/16/2003 2:58:18 PM PST
(Dems lie 'cause they have to)
To: Keith in Iowa
Thanks Keith. I will always listen to someone from Iowa about farming or grain processing rather than someone from my hometown (NYC).
posted on 03/16/2003 3:00:15 PM PST
(Dems lie 'cause they have to)
got to http://www.latortillafactory.com for 3 gram delicious tortillas.
posted on 03/16/2003 3:00:59 PM PST
Would love to find low carb breads.
I've tried a few- prepared and mixes. They all tend to be heavy on the soy flour and gluten giving them an unusual flavor and a rubbery consistency. We gave up and will simply wait until we are well established in maintainence to occassionally splurge on real whole-grain stuff.
posted on 03/16/2003 3:01:06 PM PST
(enriched white flour need not apply)
Weight is a function of the difference in the amount of calories consumed and the amount of calories expended.
Not to be mean, but this statement is utter nonsense. You can consume many more calories than the body utilizes as your body can only absorb so many calories at one time.
Also, different types of foods are more or less easily converted into fat. Refined sugars and carbs are very easily converted into fat. Proteins and even bacon grease have a "longer way to go" for lack of a better term, before being converted to fat.
Try a low carb/low sugar diet and you'll see the light REAL quick. You body fat will reduce and your energy will go throught the roof.
posted on 03/16/2003 3:02:23 PM PST
To: big bad easter bunny; mtngrl@vrwc
I have been hypothyroid all my life, and this was exacerbated after thyroid surgery in 1975. Those Buster Brown shoes - fluorscoping my feet as a kid, I'm thinking. Anyway, it's always been a b!tch for me to lose weight, and back when I was getting married, went on the liquid protein thing, fainted every Friday evening, but got married when I was thin. I'm guessing I'm one of the lucky ones who didn't die from heart attacks from low potassium on that stupid fad diet.
Jan. 2002, I made a New Year's resolution - lose weight. Read Atkins, happily ate my weigh (pun intended) through 101 pounds of weight-loss for 2002, and am now happily heading toward the final 30! My cholesterol and triglycerides are lower than when I started - and to boot, my Doctor has helped me with my thyroid level, putting me on Cytomel after we discovered I just don't convert Synthroid (T4) into T3. So, now I take a combination of both, and am no longer tired, cranky and COLD all of the time.
I've tried to convince two fat friends, one of whom has been diabetic for years, and the other finally tripped over the edge into Type II last year, that they have got to consider doing Atkins. They both argue that "ketones are dangerous to diabetics" - no matter how many times I copy the section from "The New Atkins Diet Revolution" and how this is simply not true. But, I'm sure, preferring to stay fat and eat whatever they want, they refuse to be educated. I don't spend much time around the one who lives near me - since she's only gaining weight and I can't stand it.
For those who think that eating high protein and fat raises their cholesterol and triglycerides, I throw down this challenge. Have the tests done now, go on Atkins for 3 months, have them done again - and learn the truth.
And then admit how much weight you've lost in the process!
And here the absolute bonus. You'll NEVER, EVER be hungry!
Man, they ought to emphasize this part. I have suffered the most awesome hunger, trying to get my weight down. Times when you could lock me in a room, and I'd swear that I'd eat the darn wallpaper! Times when I've been on expensive (and yes, dangerous) appetite suppresants. But with Atkins, I'm satisfied all the time, and if I'm "hungry" - I know it's emotional and stop and think about what is "eating me" that I haven't dealt with in an appropriate manner. I will not allow myself to eat to 'solve' some hurt or difficulty.
I'm on Atkins for life - and happy about it, thank you very much. My goal for this Summer is to wear a two-piece bathing suit and I'm working on making that happen.
One more thing - I'm convinced that this diet also helps the skin shrink right along with you. Maybe it's the fat content, but my skin never gets dry, and I haven't had to stop for some period of time, to allow my body to readjust. With all the weight I've lost, the skin has gone right down with me.
See ya' on the beach!!! I'll be the one in the bright green two-piece bathing suit - with the long red hair and green eyes! Ta!
posted on 03/16/2003 3:02:37 PM PST
(God bless America, God bless President George W. Bush and God bless our Military!)
To: Keith in Iowa
82 grams of crabs in one serving
Holy Moly! That's comparable to a fifty cent whorehouse in Manilla.
I agree that Atkins is basically right.
He's made a lot of enemies because he didn't do any research. The fact that he didn't do any research has left the questions about long-term metabolic consequences of "Atkins-like" diets open, when it could have been answered by 1975.
However, like a lot of other advances, the basic "CHO-insulin push-fat deposition" idea as the result of Atkins' flash insight in 1965 is almost certainly correct.
"This Atkins diet -- or, I call it Fatkins diet -- is going out unchallenged.
People are starting to believe it," Adams said.
What planet has this Adams person been on for the last couple of decades?
Atkins has simply outlasted a bunch of jealous name-callers and is now being vindicated.
"Fatkins diet"? I think this is the sort of high-brow comment/analysis we'll get from the
future "Liberal Rush Limbaugh", when the Democrats find him/her/it.
posted on 03/16/2003 3:05:40 PM PST
To: Jim Noble
And Jim, from an evolutionary point of view, hunter-gatherers just could NOT ingest that much concentrated carbs; we could only do it when we became agriculturalists a mere 15,000 years ago. We are not built for such high carbo diets as eaten today.
posted on 03/16/2003 3:07:24 PM PST
(Dems lie 'cause they have to)
I believed the same thing as you.. that it is a matter of calories.. but since have found out that when carbs are ingested the insulin levels spike turning what we do eat into fat.. if I eat ever eat carbs I first eat protein slowing down the digestion of carbs.. This has been the ONLY way I have controlled my weight. AND I don't count calories. I fell for the low fat ..high carb diet and what happened? I gained weight even though my caloric intake was lower.. muscles burn fat for fuel.. carbs it seems causes body fat ..
posted on 03/16/2003 3:13:44 PM PST
My 14 dat average 111, my first blood sugar ever taken was 465 although I did have a pretty serious infection that day. None of my "healthy firends" can keep up with me. I will be starting my own low carb cooking show in a couple of months. Here is a sample video:
Low Carb Scallop Dish
Fat can only be gained by excess calories, you can get fat by eating to many of all types of calories(fat,protein and carbs). Your muscles use Glucose for energy no matter what the original source. The nice thing is mucles need calories all the time, fat just hangs around waiting to be used and doesn't really burn any calories to exist.
We are not built for such high carbo diets as eaten today.
The increase in the number of Celiacs or Gluten-Intolerants in this country FINALLY being identified, supports this statement. In Europe, gluten sensitivity is a test commonly administered. In the United States, it is hypothesized that 1 in 200 suffer some degree of gluten intolerance due, in part, to the 'milling' techniques started back during the early 1900's.
posted on 03/16/2003 3:22:17 PM PST
(FREE MIGUEL !)
To: big bad easter bunny
Perhaps a link with a summary explanation would do as well. Just a suggestion.
posted on 03/16/2003 3:25:41 PM PST
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