You’ve probably heard about the benefits of following a low GI diet for weight loss, but you might not know that it’s also great for your skin, and can help to keep it young looking as you age!
If you’re new to this diet, a low GI diet means you eat foods that are on the low end of the glycemic index, an index that measures how quickly food is broken down by the body and converted to sugar. Foods that are satiating and that take longer to convert are found at the low end of the GI index. Those that are less satiating and break down faster are at the high end.
Ideally, you should aim to eat at the low end of the GI scale, with some meals found in the mid-range and only an occasional few found on the high end.
It might not seem obvious at first, but eating this way can be beneficial to your skin and not just your body. Here’s how: When you eat high GI foods, your blood sugar level spikes, which causes a spike in your insulin levels. Insulin is the hormone that promotes fat gain.
Keeping your insulin levels spiked results in the conversion of type 3 collagen to type 1, which is the more brittle collagen. Your skin, then, also ends up looking brittle and old. By following the principles of the low GI diet, you feed your body and skin with foods that rank low on the GI scale and keep your skin healthy, supple and young looking.
Following the low GI diet isn’t too difficult. It can require some planning if you’re going to be eating out, but it’s not a complex diet to follow.
Let’s say you are eating breakfast and you normally choose a boxed cereal. Most processed cereals are high GI, so this isn’t a good choice, but you can instead choose to eat oatmeal (no sugar), and add some toasted walnuts for crunch. You can top it with nonfat milk and even a dollop of yogurt. And if you want, have a boiled egg as well.
It’s important to make one distinction – this is not a high-protein diet. You can eat oats and whole grain breads. In fact, it’s encouraged that those following the low GI diet eat grains, but they must be of the whole grain, low GI variety.
For lunch, you can make some easy switches. Stay away from hamburgers, which are often sandwiched with empty white bread (big blood sugar spike) but choose a healthful salad with a vinaigrette instead. Or you might choose a veggie burger on a whole wheat bun. No fries made from regular potatoes, but if new potatoes are on the menu, enjoy.
Dinner is probably the easiest meal of the day for low GI dieters. It’s easy to throw some meat on the grill, add some vegetables and a salad and call it done. If you normally enjoy rice with your meal, switch from white rice to basmati rice, which ranks low on the GI index. Skip the garlic bread. Add a salad.
As a snack – simple! Instead of biscuits and cakes, have yoghurt, either vanilla or fruit ones. Yoghurt has good levels of protein which slows the absorption of carbohydrates, which helps to lower the GI value of any food.
So there you have it.
If you are eating well from the GI scale, you will feel it. Not only will your skin look better, but you will have more energy. That, in turn, will provide you with the energy to exercise and continue your new way of eating. Then you might likely lose weight, which helps your skin in other ways. All in all, it’s a win-win eating plan.