How Glycaemic Index and Hormones effect weight loss

June 30, 2016
Lyndall McAlpine

A low GI diet is a major focus point when helping my clients lose weight. It is also a very important step to preventing the onset of Diabetes and is vital for overall optimal health for everybody.

What is Glycaemic Index

The Glycaemic Index is a ranking of carbohydrate in foods on a scale from 0 to 100 according to how they affect our blood glucose levels. With pure glucose being the comparison at 100, foods with carbohydrates that break down quickly during digestion and release glucose rapidly into the bloodstream will have a high GI, foods with carbohydrates that break down more slowly are on the lower end of the GI scale.

Low < 55   Medium 56-69   High > 70

Glycemic Index Buttons




Medical studies show that over 85% of the carbohydrates consumed in the Western World today are considered high-glycaemic. With today’s convenience-based lifestyle it is hard to avoid all the dangerous foods that spike your blood sugar and lead to carbohydrate addiction and insulin resistance (the precursor to diabetes).

What is Glycaemic Load

I’m trying not to get too confusing here, but this needs to be explained. Glycemic index does not take into account the amount of carbohydrate in a food, glycemic load is actually a better indicator of how a carbohydrate food will affect your blood sugar. Glycaemic load is a ranking system that measures the amount of carbohydrates in a serving of food, it is determined by multiplying the grams of a carbs in a serving by the glycemic index, then dividing by 100. For example carrots are considered high GI but per serving they are considered low GL (i.e. the amount of carbs in carrots that spike your blood sugar means you would have to eat a huge serving to achieve a blood spike). However food labels do not show GL measurement and GI is on the whole an accurate measurement of blood sugar spikes.

Here is a GI & GL list to get an idea of the variations.

Why is a high GI diet so dangerous?

A High GI Diet produces a Rollercoaster of Hormones:

Your body runs on glucose created from digesting the foods you eat: the brain needs glucose to think, muscles need it to do work, every cell needs it to function. However the body can only survive on a narrow range of sugar in the blood, too high or too low is very dangerous.

Insulin is a fat storage hormone produced by our body, its primary job is to transport sugar out of the blood into the cell where it is used to create energy, or to be stored as fat or glycogen.

When eating high-glycaemic foods our blood sugar rises rapidly so our body pumps out insulin to rectify the level. However this over supply of insulin drives the blood sugar level back down very quickly, generally dropping into a low blood sugar range or hypoglycaemic range. Again this state of low blood sugars is life threatening so the body stimulates the release of our stress hormones, like cortisol and adrenaline to increase blood sugar levels. However these high levels of stress hormones create an uncontrollable hunger, the need to eat again, and usually craving another high-glycaemic meal or snack…… and so the rollover coaster continues.

Over time the body’s cells are so full they won’t allow insulin in to deliver the sugar – they become “insulin resistant”. Because the body must keep the blood sugar in a safe range it responds by actually making more and more insulin to hammer the sugar into the resistant cells.

With such high levels of sugar, insulin and stress hormones the body experiences significantly more and more inflammation… blood pressure goes up, bad cholesterol goes up, and good cholesterol goes down and the risk for developing both heart disease and diabetes rises sharply.

Insulin resistance creates leptin (your hormone that tells you you’re full) resistance resulting in your brain not getting the signal to stop eating and literally thinks you’re starving. Insulin resistance also elevates cortisol. If these conditions continue they can eventually cause adrenal and pancreas exhaustion resulting in your body rapidly creating visceral fat (belly fat) to protect your vital organs. This also effects your adiponectin (the hormone that tells your body to burn fat for fuel) levels resulting in your body no longer being able to access fat for fuel.

Consused yet? This is so so amazing and interesting don’t you think? it’s like a thriller movie where you just aren’t sure who the killer is. The script is a bit like this:  the more fat you have the more leptin (however this is blocked from the brain receiving it), cortisol and insulin you have and the less adiponectin you’ll have. These baddies all work with each other to create a plot full of drama and a tense disaster to overcome. The hero comes in – a simple “no sugar, good fats, alkaline diet” and saves the damsel in distress and she lives happily and healthily ever after.

Beating Carb Addiction and Cravings

As explained above, spiking blood sugar by eating high-glycaemic carbohydrates results in carbohydrate addiction, explaining what most people call cravings or emotional eating.

However it is amazing how your body’s insulin sensitivity can improve, cravings can be reduced (resulting in less calories eaten) and taste buds be more sensitive to sugar in such a short period as 5 days, I can definitely vouch for that from my personal, and many clients’ experiences. Simply eating a low GI diet that does not spike your blood sugar, exercising and taking high quality cellular supplements will normalise your blood sugar range and insulin release and stop the roller coaster of sugar, insulin, cortisol and adrenalin spikes that wreak havoc on your body.  

Check out my Testimonial page, especially Pam’s for her amazing results! 

Feel free to browse the recipe section for some yummy low GI recipes.




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