Modern Diseases Associated With Unhealthy Diet and Lifestyle
Three health conditions which are being increasingly associated with bad diet (and lack of exercise) are Obesity, Diabetes and Insulin Resistance. All three conditions are inter-linked and may be aggravated by overconsumption of high-GI foods.
The link between diabetes and obesity is well-established. Nearly 80 percent of adults with type 2 diabetes are obese. Abnormally high glucose levels (the key diagnostic indicator for diabetes) and obesity (especially excessive waist circumference) are key indicators of possible insulin resistance. High levels of cholesterol and blood pressure are frequently common to obese patients and insulin resistant patients.
Aggravated by High-Glycemic Index Foods
Although both obesity and insulin resistance syndrome are complex conditions with multiple causes, experts now believe that both are aggravated by the overconsumption of refined high-GI carbohydrates. These foods cause a rapid rise in blood-glucose, thus triggering excessive amounts of insulin to be released by the pancreas to cope with the glucose. Over time, body cells may gradually become insensitive to insulin, and become unable to use insulin efficiently. Result? Either the pancreas becomes exhausted trying to produce extra insulin, (leading to diabetes) or else the body suffers from excessively high levels of insulin (facilitating obesity, and increased risk of heart disease).
[Note: Although a consensus exists that these conditions are aggravated by overconsumption of high-GI foods, there is no evidence that such dietary habits operate independently of genetic or other lifestyle factors. In addition, the basic rule of human biochemistry is that calories are only stored as fat if too many (from any source) are consumed.]
Low GI Diet Improves Health
Eating more low-GI foods and less high-GI food is proving to be a very successful dietary approach to the above conditions. In general, this means reducing our intake of refined carbs and sugary foods, while increasing our intake of healthy carbs from fruits, vegetables and beans. Good quality fats, lean protein and lower-fat dairy foods are also valuable elements in the diet. (Regular exercise is also mandatory.) Research data from the Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Study shows that cutting back on refined grains and eating more whole grains in their place improves insulin sensitivity.
Low Glycemic Index Diet: Summary
The low GI diet approach is not only good for health and weight control, it is also consistent with the fact that food quality is a key factor in human biochemistry.