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The Glycemic Impact (or GI) Diet is a low carbohydrate diet based on the glycemic index of foods. eDiets.com, an online weight management resource, has introduced this diet as one of their online diet programs. The GI diet is similar to the South Beach Diet, The Zone, and Sugar Busters.

Carbohydrates (carbs) are starchy foods that are converted by the body into natural sugars that boost energy and fuel activity. The glycemic index ranks carbs according to the effect they have on blood sugar levels. Simple carbs such as white sugar and flour are at the high end of the index and complex carbs such as whole grains and beans are on the low end. Foods with a high GI value cause a rapid, short-lived rise in insulin levels and blood sugar. This effect causes hunger and fatigue within a short time. Foods with a low GI value slowly release sugar into the blood, which curbs cravings and provides a steady supply of energy. The GI diet encourages the consumption of carbs with a low GI value and replaces high GI foods with low GI foods. The GI Diet is also based on the glycemic load of foods, which is a combination of the glycemic index and the amount of carbohydrate per volume of foods.

The GI Diet's meals and recipes feature low glycemic foods. The diet provides approximately 40% of calories from unrefined complex carbohydrates, including whole grains and whole grain breads and cereals, vegetables, and whole fruit instead of juice. About 30% of calories are from lean protein, including fish, chicken, occasionally lean beef or pork, low fat dairy, soy protein, tofu and textured vegetable protein. About 30% of calories are from healthy fats, including olive oil, canola oil, avocado and nuts.

In a study published in Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers found little published proof on whether eDiets.com and other online diets work. "These programs were associated with high costs, high attrition rates, and a high probability of regaining 50% or more of lost weight in 1 to 2 years," the study authors write. "Commercial interventions available over the Internet and organized self-help programs produced minimal weight loss."

  1. The Most Plans anywhere, eDiets.com, online:

  2. http://www.ediets.com/

  3. The Glycemic Impact Diet, eDiets.com, online:

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  5. Glycemic Impact Diet, freedieting.com, online

  6. http://www.freedieting.com/glycemic_impact_diet.htm
  7. Tsai AG, Wadden TA. Systematic review: an evaluation of major commercial weight loss programs in the United States. Ann Intern Med 2005 Jan 4;142(1):56-66.

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