The Glycemic Load Diet, by Rob Thompson MD is essentially a low carbohydrate diet. Thompson has applied more recent research in order to further refine or improve previous low-carb diets. Thompson claims that 22% of the population are insulin resistant (p. 12) and would benefit from reducing starchy carbohydrates (i.e. rice, potatoes, bread). The diet takes a relaxed approach:
Just don’t eat more than a quarter serving of flour products, potatoes, or rice at a time, and abstain from sugar-containing soft drinks and fruit juices (p. 45)
The idea is to reduce glycemic load (the impact that a serving of food has on blood glucose levels). There are no induction phases or meal plans or rigid rules. Thompson is not aiming for ketosis with this diet – claiming that it is not needed.
The Glycemic Load Diet also requires 30-40 minutes of walking every other day. The idea is to “activate slow-twitch muscle” – and therefore improve the insulin resistant condition.
Thompson blames the increase of starchy carbohydrates for the obesity problem, and correlates a number of statistics showing increased consumption of wheat products with rising obesity. This has certainly played a major part in the increase of body fat, but is not necessarily the whole story.
There is no doubt that we eat too much starchy carbohydrate. It is very easy to overeat, and – because we are a mostly sedentary people – it puts us on an energy roller coaster.
Low carbohydrate diets will always be around, and will continue to be helpful to a section of the population. Where things go wrong is when ‘joe average’ catches a 22-second news sound bite – showing someone gulping down steak and eggs – and then throws all the bread out of his pantry. The answer is to get informed – read and learn – and determine whether reducing starchy foods may help someone like you. Do this before attempting to completely restructure the way that you eat.
The Glycemic Load Diet is simple – but like most other diet books it fails to address the deeper issues that may be underlying many people’s eating issues. Long-term and permanent change is always the acid test – and such change is almost always the result of changing many facets of one’s life – not just ‘trying’ another diet.
The book (available at Amazon) contains about 80 pages of recipes. There are no prescriptive meal plans.