THINK Yourself Thin … Maybe?

THINK Yourself Thin … Maybe?


Couple of guys thinking themselves thin at Mission Hill Winery, in BC. Looks like it’s working! 🙂

Yesterday’s post on the Glycemic Index, the Glycemic Load Index, and the Insulin & Satiety Indices triggered a few questions. I wasn’t suggesting that any particular index was the right way to build a weight-loss diet. Nor was I saying that the indices were worthless for doing that. I was trying to explain the confusion went through, leading up to my decision to eat potatoes as part of my diet. The potato was a good example of that decision making process when measured against the four indices we talked about.

Despite the amount of science behind many of the diets out there, there still isn’t enough information to create one, clear, simple, diverse & satisfying diet that will work for everyone. No matter the diet we choose to follow, we will all tinker with it. We’ll add a little of this & a touch more of that, to suit our own taste. I think that’s okay. The greater the variety, the better the chances that we’ll stick with it.

To simplify yesterday’s thought process. The Glycemic Index, the Glycemic Load Index and the Insulin Index ALL suggest that I shouldn’t eat potatoes. The Satiety Index suggested otherwise so I tried it periodically, sometimes for 2 or 3 days at a time, over several weeks. It worked on most attempts, I ate potatoes, felt very satisfied, & I lost weight. That’s a good result but it’s not the end of the confusion.

Imagine being on a very low-carb keto diet. With this, I’m trying to stay in ketosis by reducing the carbs. Some keto regimens recommend carb days periodically but still require longer periods of very low-carb eating. While I totally believe in the weight loss potential of the keto regimens, I just don’t want to eat that way all the time. I think it works. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it. And it’s okay to experiment with alternatives. It probably won’t be a ketogenic diet any more but if we lose the weight, do we really care?

Sometimes, I think Grandma maybe had it right … everything in moderation.

EXCEPT those things that we know do us damage. And we should probably eat more of the stuff that doesn’t. Even if it isn’t keto-friendly!

PS … Wine is an essential component of a healthy diet too, isn’t it!?!

An Index of Indices

An Index of Indices

Poison Garden

The Poison Garden at Blarney Castle

From the development of the Glycemic Index, at the University of Toronto, in the early eighties, dieters have been trying to harness the power of indices for weight loss. The researchers at the University of Sydney went on to develop the Glycemic Load Index. The glycemic index tells us the glucose response of foods that contains a fixed amount of carbohydrate. The glycemic load index looks at more realistic serving sizes for each food so that we’re taking the sugar, fiber and water content into account. In other words, the carrot might appear high on the glycemic index, but it’s much lower on the glycemic load index. A pound of carrots is not the same as a pound of sugar.

All good so far, the glycemic load index looks like the winner. But now lets switch to one of my favorite veggies, the potato. The potato numbers vary widely, based on the type of potato and where it’s grown, but, on average, it fares a little worse than the carrot on the glycemic index. It fares much worse on the glycemic load index. That sounds like a problem, doesn’t it? It sounds like it’s not a vegetable, it more like a make-me-fat pill!

The team at the University of Sydney, again, came up with the Insulin Index. Now if we agree with the carbohydrate-insulin theory of weight gain, anything that raises our insulin levels, too high and for too long, makes us fat. There is generally some good correlation between the glucose response (our blood sugar levels) of carbohydrates and their potential for insulin triggering. But on the insulin index, the potato is the worst. It tops the charts for real food (only jelly beans and candy bars were higher), causing a disproportionately high insulin response. Eating potatoes opens the insulin flood gates.

You low-carbers knew you were right all along, didn’t you!

Not so fast though. I am a fan of keto and low carb but, as you may know, I love my potatoes too. There’s one more index to consider, the Satiety Index. Also from the University of Sydney. And guess what? The potato is the king of satiety. The potato makes us feel fuller, for longer, than all the other stuff. It’s even better when compared to the high protein content of meat.

Despite the potato winning at least one of the indices wars, I was generally wary about eating very much. Especially while trying to lose weight. Until one day, I decided to test drive its effect on the scale. I am not diabetic, nor am I on any medications, so please don’t try this if you are not in good health. No question, potatoes blip the blood sugar. I can’t measure it but it’s probably driving up my insulin levels too. What’s going on in there? Are there other little peptides, enzymes and biological goodies that are working in concert with those potatoes that might be doing me some good? In theory, with all that sugar and insulin floating around in my blood, I can’t possibly be burning my own fat, can I? I’m not sure what’s going on in there but I can tell you that it feels great to eat potatoes every now and again. And the scale usually rewards me the following morning.

Now that’s satiety!

PS .. I try to mitigate the effects of eating potatoes in isolation. I cook and cool them first. Then fry them in oil (olive or coconut) or fat (butter or lard). I also mix them with other veggies. Garlic and onion are almost mandatory, just for the flavour. And I’ll usually dress everything with some shredded full fat cheese. I’ll mix them in with shredded cabbage, cauliflower, mushrooms or Brussels sprouts. It’s just more volume for that pig out feast. Which I now enjoy without the recriminations. If you can tolerate it, and your doctor okays it, this might be a great way to add some variety and flexibility to an otherwise restrictive regimen.