Finding it hard to lose those extra kilos?

Are you one of those unlucky ones to whom the traditional low- fat, low- calorie diet isn’t doing what it is supposed to do to you?Even after enough exercise? Here are somethings that probably could help you!

  • Check to see if your waist circumference is on the higher side (WC>80cm for women and >90 for men)
  • Do you have a family history of Diabetes Mellitus (Type 2 DM)? Parents or siblings with diabetes?
  • If you are a woman, are your periods regular? Do you have PCOS- polycystic ovarian syndrome? Obesity,  excessive facial hair, infertility are the other common symptoms of this condition.
  • Are you Pre-diabetic (with higher than usual fasting/postprandial blood sugar levels?)

Then you may have a tendency for insulin resistance (IRS)/metabolic syndrome which is also commonly referred to “Syndrome X”. This condition is quite common among those of Indian origin and the “Starvation gene theory” has some root connections. If this is true for you, then the conventional low fat, low calorie diet may not be really helping you.

Then what helps????

A recent study titled ” Obese Women With Insulin Resistance Lose More Weight on Lower-Carbohydrate Diet: Study
(source: News-Medical.Net (06/21/2010))” concludes as following based on a RCT:

Insulin-resistant obese women lose more weight after three months of a lower-carbohydrate diet than on a traditional low-fat diet with the same caloric intake, according to a new study to be presented at The Endocrine Society’s 92nd Annual Meeting in San Diego. Physicians typically recommend low-fat diets for weight loss, but the study results show that patients do not respond equally to diets. Out of 45 female study subjects, those on a lower-carb diet lost 3.4 pounds more than those on a low-fat diet. The study included women ages 18 to 65 years, all of whom had insulin resistance and were randomly assigned to either a low-fat or lower-carb diet. The low-fat diet included 60 percent of calories from carbs, 20 percent from fat, and 20 percent from protein. The lower-carb diet had 20 percent of calories from protein, 45 percent from carbs, and 35 percent from primarily unsaturated fats, such as nuts. The diets also included a minimum of two fruits and three vegetable servings a day. Both groups lost weight at each monthly weigh-in, but by 12 weeks, the lower-carb diet group had lost an average of 19.6 pounds, compared to 16.2 pounds in the low-fat diet group. (American Society of Nutrition News Letter, Aug 2010)

That dosen’t immediately mean giving up all the rice, or carbohydrate in your diet. Neither does it mean that switching to chappatis  will be of help. Very high protein diets are accompanied by lots of undesirable side effects.

Current research  shows that modifying the quality of carbohydrates (Glycemic Index, a.k.a GI) can also result in a similar outcome as to when the quantity of carbohydrate is decreased. So what does this mean to you? Follow a low glycemic diet. In simple words:

  1. Choose whole- grain (No whole meal is not enough). Ordinary breakfast cereals and white bread may be detrimental to your condition. Go for All Bran/Museli and Multi-grain bread.
  2. Use ponni/parboiled/basmati rice (avoid Thai fragrant rice/jasmine Rice etc)
  3. Avoid potatoes (If you have to occasionally, try adding a little lemon juice/vinegar to it)
  4. Include more Oats and Dhal (chick peas/bengal gram dhal(kadalai paruppu have some of the lowest GI)
  5. Include low fat curd/yoghurt with meals
  6. Eat more salads (green vegetables and fruits)
  7. Include one low GI food at each meal (Dhal/low fat yoghurt/low GI rice as mentioned earlier/multi grain bread/veggies except potato etc)

These are but an oversimplification of the concept. To learn more visit www.glycemicindex.com, a free website maintained by the University of Sydney for more information.

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