on January 15, 2004
This is an excellent book for learning how to eat in such a way that you naturally move towards your optimal weight, and do so without hunger if you're overweight and need to lose.
A few of the previous reviewers apparently skimmed through the book and/or missed many of the qualifying details provided in the book about foods. Potatoes indeed have a high GI value: the bigger and older the potato the higher the value. So those small young red potatoes have a lower GI value than those big white Idahos most of us eat. Also, the authors stress that the goal of this approach is not to condemn all "high GI" foods and avoid them like the plague; the goal is to learn how to balance them out with sufficient low GI foods that you don't provoke the classical insulin spike associated with high GI foods.
And the approach is not a "high carbohydrate diet." The GI values specifically measure carbohydrates and their different effects--as measured in the lab-- on insulin response. Meats, fish and dairy are pretty much "no GI" foods (as are a large number of vegetables by the way), and the authors encourage us to eat them abundantly (but to tilt towards the lean side of the meats and to still make sure we don't overeat). The main idea with meats, cheeses and other high protein foods is that they are "calorically dense" and that you can easily overeat them, the more fat they contain the easier.
This is not a "plug and chug" kind of a dietary approach. The authors expect their readers to be reasonably intelligent and mentally hard working in devloping their individual eating plans. The GI values were not simply "invented" because they sounded good in theory. They were discovered as a result of extensive experimentation with human subjects and extensive post-eating blood draws.
If you want a brain-dead approach that will simply tell you "this food is good, this food is bad" or that will tell you "today is Tuesday, this is what you can have for lunch" than this book is not for you. You are going to have to exercise your brain cells as well as your fork and your cardiovascular system (exercise is strongly encouraged) if you are going to get anything out of this approach.
In the very few weeks I've used this approach I've already lost 13 pounds with no discomfort whatsoever and a fair amount of "cheating" (actually there is no cheating in this approach. If you pig out on a particular food at one time you simply adjust your eating plan accordingly for the next day or so and proceed. Forget the guilt). If you want to take it slow and easy, just remember to throw in some veggies with every meal, and try to have a low GI fruit with every meal as well (and horrors!! another contradiction!! Bananas are both "good" and "bad." Young bananas that are still very slightly green have a tested low GI value; older bananas with a lot of black spots on them have developed their sugars and now have a high GI value. Focus on eating slightly green bananas and forget the paranoia about them).
The whole process is about learning which foods have low GI values and which foods have high GI values, and of thowing in some low GI foods whenever it seems appropriate and convenient, remembering that meats, poultry, fish and dairy are essentially "no GI" foods and including them in their lean incarnations as much as possible.
on July 13, 2003
The body is perfectly adapted to the diet that our human ancestors followed for hundreds of thousands of years, but cannot properly handle "industrial foods", such as refined flour. These mechanically-processed foods flood the blood stream with glucose (the simple carbohydrate that fuels the cells) and provoke an outpouring of insulin. The excess insulin compels the body to burn carbohydrate, leaving the fat to accumulate in our bodies. The deranged insulin levels can also lead to diabetes and heart disease.
This book shows that by choosing our carbohydrates with a just little more care, we can restrain these outbursts of insulin and encourage the body to burn more fat. By simply choosing Basmati rice over other varieties, or substituting a sweet potato for an ordinary potato, or buying sourdough bread or bread made with whole-wheat, stone-ground (coarser) flour rather than white flour, we can smooth out the glucose spikes and enjoy better health.
This concept of "glycemic index" (GI) is indeed revolutionary. Each food is rated on a scale of 0 to 100, with pure glucose (as in corn syrup) set at 100. Anything with a GI value of 70 or more is a High-GI food; Intermediate-GI foods range from 56-69, and Low-GI foods have scores from 0 to 55. These values are derived by testing actual foods on actual volunteers, whose blood glucose levels are measured periodically over a couple of hours after they have eaten the food.
The book includes 67 pages of tables so that you can look up the GI values of hundreds of foods, and then use those values to choose which foods you would wish to emphasize and which you would wish to avoid.
The authors go on to explain the factors that influence its GI value. These are the degree to which the starch granules are expanded or even burst during cooking; the particle size (as in finely- or coarsely-ground flours); the chemical structure of the starch (straight- or branched-chain); the type of sugar in the food (sucrose, fructose, galactose, etc.); the quantity and nature of the fiber in the food (its coarseness, solubility and viscosity); and the acidity. In sum, you end up with a solid scientific understanding of why one food will support your health and another will sabotage you.
Choosing low-GI foods virtually guarantees that we are eating foods with a low energy density and a high capacity to satisfy our appetites. We feel fuller on less calories, and the feeling of satisfaction lasts longer. The authors describe a South African study in which volunteers ate the same number of calories from carbohydrate, protein and fat, with the only difference being that one group got low-GI and the other got High-GI carbohydrates. After 12 weeks the low-GI group had lost an average of 20 pounds, versus 16 pounds for the high-GI group. Again, the ONLY difference was in the nature of the carbohydrates.
There is already an international symbol, registered in the US and other countries, indicating that a food has been properly test for its GI value. Watch for it on food labels as the public catches on to the value of this information. P>My only complaint with this book is that the essential information on the link between glucose, insulin and health is scattered throughout the text, rather than being presented in a single succinct statement. But don't let this stop you. If you are concerned about weight, health, and diet, get this book.
on April 11, 2006
This book shed a lot of light on why I was not succeding in my weight loss goals. I had already given up almost all sugar and all artifical sweetners, eating mostly whole grains, and had been doing a 45-60 min cardio workout 3 times a week and getting no where in the 50 lbs I need to lose. In the past I had a lot of success following Atkins, but felt that it was unhealthy and it left me feeling sluggish and miserable. I stopped Atkins and started the daily losing battle with my weight. After three weeks of following the basic principals I have had successful weight changes for the first time in a long time.
This book is not for someone who wants a quick fix or answer, the book gives a ton of data points and strives to tell you how to use the data to make your own balance. Other people have commented that there are many contradictions, and I think the problem is that they are looking for a yes/no list or formula not a guideline and plan for moderation and balance. You also have to really understand the differneces between Glycemic Index and Glyecmic Load, which I feel she explains quite well. I doubt this diet idea will ever be popular becuase there are no quick fix answers. I have been following the plan for almost a month and feel great and can see myself doing this for the rest of my life with no hesitation. The fact that it is a guidline rather than formula gives you the ability to adjust to your stage of life, activity level and weight loss goals.
There is no denying that reading this is a bit like going back to school where you need to read it, process it, and figure out how it relates to your own eating habits and weight goals.
There are two down sides to this book. The first is that the first two weeks of eating that many vegetables and heavy grainy food can make you, to be blunt, gasy. The other is that she keeps suggesting margerine but I find it to be a horible low-fat alternative to butter and am ok with having more fat than chemicals. Again it is a guideline and I have the fleibilty to make as many natural and organic choices as I like and still follow the ideas.
on February 3, 2006
i was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes 4 months ago, and i had to figure out a different way of eating that would help me control my blood glucose. My doctor was intelligent enough not to simply throw a diet at me and order me to follow it, so I started doing research and discovered this book. Basically, it rates carbohydrate foods on how fast they raise the blood glucose, and encourages you to eat foods that have a less sudden and dramatic effect on it. (this is a wild oversimplification, of course.) The theory made sense to me. It's easy to substitute foods lower on the glycemic-index scale (whole grains, most veggies and fruits, foods that aren't overprocessed) for higher-GI foods, and the authors give many tips for making the change.
I'm the original big appetite, but I haven't been hungry following this plan. I have lost 12 pounds and helped get my blood glucose under control. This makes sense, as the concept was developed to treat people with diabetes to begin with. My doctor is happy with my progress.
I agree with the people who say that you have to use your intelligence when you follow the information in this book, but i would hate to be confined to a "diet" that tells me exactly what i have to eat when; here, i don't have to be. Best of all, this is a way of eating that I can follow for the rest of my life. Give this book a try; you'll be glad you did.
on April 1, 2005
First off, one tiny infinitesimal complaint. If you're new into the world of nutrition, then the book gets a bit confusing at times. But besides that, pay close attention...
Most of the reviews are good, and people reading them should take heed. The ones that are bad contain the most rediculous things I've ever heard. Fist off, the book is not contradictory. There are sweet potatoes...then there are regular potatoes...read on from there. Secondly, I think some are mistaking GI with GL. YOU, following these giudelines, should be more concerned with the Glycemic Load. This is the ration of food consumed at a sitting considering the rest of the nutrient profile...and it's glycemic index. An apple by itself has a medium GI. If you eat 17 apples....you do the math. Pay close attention to the reading. They specify, I promise. Other things...
1) Insulin is released by the pancreas when you have too much sugar in your blood (blood glucose). Your pancreas works as an internal control system. You got too much sugar in the blood, your pancreas freaks, releases insulin. This hormone increases the uptake of of glucose AND free fatty acids. It also helps in protein synthesis. The sugar in your blood is jammed into your muscles AND your fat cells (adipose). That's why people should understand that exercising is a vital part of keeping a consistently healthy diet in check (and vice versa). If you're idle all day, odn't eat foods with a high GI...your insulin spikes, the sugar goes into your fat cells. That's converted to triglycerides (stored fat). That's what the one person was trying to state, when discussing the "raising of tryglycerides...".
Blah, I can't remember what else I wanted to correct now. This book is a perfect source for people to use when striving for a healthy body. Read carefully and reread before making absurd assumptions about it's "mistakes".
Oh and that one dude...people's bodies are NOT that different from another, bar something like hypoglycemia or the sort. Eating low GI food is beneficial to ALL!
Hypoglycemics: Follow the book's instructions. Whole grains periodically.
Healthy fats are essential as well.
on May 12, 2005
I've been following this book for two weeks or so and have nothing but great things to say about it - and I don't even know if it's made an impact on my weight situation yet! I love this way of eating just because I feel GREAT. I'm not tired all of the time, no foggy thinking, no particular cravings (and I'm the icecream, chocolate, cheese and bread queen) and I can still have all of these things - what they're teaching you is that everything should be eaten in moderation - and that's much easier to follow when your blood glucose levels are on an even keel.
I'm sorry to hear that some have quite a bit of difficulty decoding or following the book, but really, it's not exactly a diet - it's a new yet very old way of eating and it's actually quite simple...They're encouraging you to go back to eating whole foods, not processed. So yes, if you do eat foods that include hydrogenated oils or high-fructose corn syrup, you may need to re-examine how often you eat these foods. They're bad all over - just read 'Fast Food Nation' or 'Fat Land'.
Judge for yourself - and to the person who left the comment ..."sugar is bad, don't buy the book." ...They obviously didn't READ the book - sugar is not bad - but anything is bad for you in large amounts.
This book has had one BIG use since its first edition: the introduction of the concept of Glycemic Index (G.I.) which makes it clear that not all carbs are created equal. The G.I. measures how fast the carbs in a food get translated into glucose (which travels in the blood). As most diabetics should know (I am one of them -Type 2, since October 2002), violent blood sugar rises is something that most people (athletes excepted, ocassionally, perhaps) should avoid. This is where this book's meat and bone truly lies: the presentation of this concept plus very useful tables (a ton of pages of them!) of G.I.'s of most foods, which should come in handy when choosing what to pick in the grocery store or the restaurant.
On the flip side, there are some VERY conflicting views presented in the book: "the most important message is that the diet should be low in fat and high in carbohydrates." (quote from page 55). This thought disturbed me, after a year of successfully applying a low-carb lifestyle. With the new edition the above approach was not changed, but rather a new concept was introduced: that of the Glycemic Load. Think of it as a sort of weighted average that combines the quantitative (amount) component of carbs with the measure of the glycemic index (more on the qualitative end), yielding a net measure that should be a better indicator of how healthy a particular food is for you. It's too soon to say whether this Glycemic Load concept has any positive effects at all, but it makes perfect sense. To err on the safe side, I will give the book 4 stars: improved if you compare it with the original edition, but too soon to know whether it will work or not.
The New Glucose Revolution is really two well-written books intertwined into one. The first aspect of the book, and the one that I found extremely useful, was the information on the glycemic index of different foods. The glycemic index is a deeper understanding of carbohydrate quality over the prior notions of "simple" versus "complex" carbs. The comparison of GI values for different foods is completely listed in tables in the back of the book, but comes through a lot better in the discussions of diets and dietary changes.
It the recommended dietary changes -- and development of a GI-based diet -- that form the bulk of the book. The authors emphasize that the GI can be used in a wide range of diets to replace "bad" carbs with "good" ones, an approach that is quite reasonable and flexible. But the diet they emphasize the most is lower in protein than many others, including the Zone diet, which can be viewed as a high protein version of this diet. Individuals will need to figure out on their own protein needs (I lift weights and maintain a fair amount of muscle mass, so my protein intake is much higher than the authors recommend.)
The authors minimize the impact of sugar on diabetes, obesity and heart disease, since sugar is only a moderate-GI food. One aspect of the book that is somewhat unclear, though, is the role high-fructose corn syrup, used extensively in sodas in the United States and most other sweetened foods. The authors cite high-fructose corn syrup as a high-GI food, but don't do so for the things that contain it. Moreover, as the authors mention, fructose, and high-fructose corn syrup in particular, is processed directly in the liver, where it happens that triglycerides form. The direct role of high-fructose corn syrup in raising triglycerides is well-understood, so this seems to be an area of the GI that needs further research.
The authors also discuss how fats, like carbs, differ in quality. They cover which fats to avoid and which to add to ones diet, but it was not in the scope of this book to quantify fat quality as they did crab quality.
The GI approach to eating (and providing energy for exercise) is a well reasoned, flexible, balanced approach to nutrition and health. This book is highly recommended, particularly to those individuals that Atkins-like diets have left depleted of muscle mass and the energy to exercise or do anything cognitively taxing.
on March 3, 2004
I bought this book several months ago. By eliminating/limiting foods high on the glycemic index and replacing them with foods lower on the glycemic index, I lost several inches from my waist and 10 lbs within 5 weeks. Four months later, I have continued to lost weight and inches at a lower and steady pace. The dietary changes I made became easy within a few weeks, and I don't feel like I am missing out on anything. I know that I can easily eat like this for the rest of my life.
I wish I could have discovered this a long time ago!
on October 21, 2005
If this book did nothing else, it brought to light all the misconceptions over the years about diabetes and sugar. Diabetes is in my family and I had it when I was pregnant. This was a very enlightening book. Also, on diets, glycemic index, eating habits, it just makes sense. That is the best way to put it. It is not a fad and it is not the newest thing coming out of Hollywood. It is very detailed about what our body does with what we eat. The ideas for losing weight and staying healthy are easy and don't require alot of lists or weighing foods. Nor do they involve starving. The only negative I could say about this book is they need more foods from America in the list instead of Austrailia and Canada. I realize it is a long process to test each and every food but it would be more helpful to us with foods we can actually buy at the stores here in America. Otherwise, a book that everyone should read, with or without health or weight issues.