Low Carb Diet Vs. Low Glycemic Diet - which is best?

low glycemic diet low-carb
low glycemic vs low carb diet

Low-carbohydrate diets (also called ketogenic diets) are becoming increasingly popular because they're thought to improve overall health by reducing blood sugar levels and insulin resistance. But there are also risks associated with these diets, including weight gain, muscle loss, and gastrointestinal problems.

The low-carb diet

There are several benefits to low-carb diets, including improved energy levels, better sleep quality, and reduced appetite. A study published in the journal Diabetes Care found that people who followed a low-carbohydrate diet lost more weight than those following a traditional high-carb diet. Another study published in Obesity Reviews found that people who followed an Atkins diet had lower fasting glucose levels than those who ate a typical American diet.

In addition to losing weight, low-carb diets help reduce blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity. These diets also tend to be easier to stick to because they require less planning and preparation. However, some people find them difficult to follow because they lack variety.

What is a low-carb diet?

A low-carb diet is a type of eating plan where the majority of calories consumed come from foods that have little to no carbohydrate content. These foods include meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and oils. A low-carb diet may be high in protein and fat, but not necessarily.

Why do people follow a low-carb diet

People who choose to eat a low-carb diet often do so for weight loss reasons. However, some people choose to follow a low-carb lifestyle due to its many health benefits.

How does a low-carb diet work?

The body uses carbs (simple sugar) for fuel. When we consume carbs, they get broken down into glucose and then transported around the body through your blood. Glucose is what gives us energy and helps our bodies function properly. Carbs are stored in the liver and muscles and are released when needed.

When someone follows a low-carb diet, their body doesn't use carbs for fuel. Instead, it stores them as glycogen in the liver and muscles. Glycogen is a storage form of glucose that's used for energy. Once the person eats again, the body breaks down the glycogen and releases the glucose into the bloodstream. This causes the blood sugar level to drop, which triggers the release of insulin. Insulin is a hormone that regulates how much glucose enters the cells. If the amount of insulin is high, the cells take in less glucose.

Recommended reading: Low GI vs. Keto - which is best for weight loss?

Benefits of a low-carb diet 

There are many benefits to following a low-carb diet. Here are just a few:

  • Weight Loss - People who follow a low-carbohydrate diet tend to lose weight faster than those who don't. 
  • Improved Blood Sugar Levels - Many people who follow a low-carb diet report having lower blood sugar levels. This means that they feel fuller longer and have fewer cravings for sweets
  • Lower Cholesterol - Studies show that people who follow low-carb diets tend to have lower cholesterol levels
  • Better Health - Eating a low-carb diet can help improve heart health. Research shows that people who follow a ketogenic diet tend to have lower rates of cardiovascular disease
  • More Energy - Low-carb diets give people more energy throughout the day


List of low-carb foods 

  1. Avocados

Avocados are high in fiber and low in carbs. They are great for snacking and make a wonderful addition to salads.

  1. Broccoli

Broccoli contains lots of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, folate, manganese, and iron. It's also a good source of protein.

  1. Eggs

Eggs are a great source of protein and have only 6 grams of carbs per whole egg.

  1. Salmon

Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, and vitamin D. It's also a great source of protein.

  1. Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are loaded with beta carotene, which gives them their orange color. They're also a good source of fiber and vitamin A.

  1. Tofu

Tofu is made from soybeans and is considered a meat substitute. It's packed with protein and is a good source of calcium, iron, and zinc.

  1. Almonds

Almonds are a delicious snack food and a great source of monounsaturated fats. They're also a great source of copper, magnesium, and selenium.

Some downsides of a low-carb diet

There are also some drawbacks to low-carb diets. One major drawback is that these diets can sometimes cause rapid fluctuations in blood sugar levels, which can lead to headaches, fatigue, irritability, and mood swings. Additionally, low-carb diets often require strict adherence to avoid negative side effects.

The low glycemic diet

The low glycemic diet is more sustainable than the low-carb diet because they allow people to eat foods with higher carbohydrate contents without suffering from the same negative side effects. This means that people who follow low glycemic diets can enjoy a wider variety of food choices while still maintaining healthy blood glucose levels, weight loss, and other benefits.

What is a low-glycemic diet?

A low glycemic diet is a type of eating plan that restricts foods high in sugar and certain starches while increasing consumption of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, and lean meats. This type of diet has been shown to reduce blood glucose levels and improve insulin sensitivity.

Why should I try a low glycemic lifestyle?

The American Diabetes Association recommends people who have diabetes eat a balanced diet that includes plenty of whole grains, vegetables, and fruit, along with protein and fat. A low glycemic diet helps control blood sugar levels and reduces the risk of developing complications associated with diabetes and other chronic and metabolic conditions.

How do I start my low glycemic journey?

Start by making small changes to your current diet. Try replacing refined carbs (white bread, white pasta) with whole-grain options (brown rice, quinoa). Swap sugary snacks for healthier alternatives (fruit instead of candy, and yogurt instead of ice cream). And add some beans and lentils to your meals. You may even want to consider adding some fish to your weekly menu. 

Recommended reading: The Low Glycemic Eating Plan

Are there any downsides to a low glycemic approach?

While a low glycemic eating plan can help manage blood sugar levels, it does not eliminate the need for medications. People with diabetes still require medication to keep their blood sugar under control. However, research shows that following a low glycemic dietary pattern can lower the amount of medication needed to treat diabetes.

Is there anything else I should know about a low glycemic way of eating?

Eating low glycemic food can help prevent weight gain, especially around the waistline. Research suggests that people who follow a low glycemic pattern tend to consume fewer calories than those who don't. In addition, studies show that people who follow a good carbohydrate diet tend to weigh less than those who follow a low-carbohydrate diet.

List of low glycemic foods

  1. Whole Grains

Whole grains are a great option for people who want to eat healthier. These foods have been shown to lower blood sugar levels and help regulate insulin levels. They also provide fiber and protein, making them a great choice for anyone looking to lose weight.

  1. Legumes

Legumes are a great way to get protein without having to eat meat. Beans, lentils, peas, and soybeans are some examples of legumes that are high in protein. They also offer fiber and iron, helping to keep your body strong and healthy.

  1. Berries

Berries are full of antioxidants and vitamins that promote good health. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and cranberries are just a few examples of berries that are packed with nutrition.

  1. Nuts

Nuts are a great snack food that provides protein, fiber, and healthy fats. Almonds, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, and hazelnuts are all great options.

  1. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a great breakfast food that helps control blood sugar levels. It’s also a great source of fiber, protein, and iron. Try adding cinnamon and honey to make it even tastier!

  1. Fish

Fish is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for brain function and heart health. Salmon, tuna, sardines, and trout are all great choices.

  1. Eggs

Eggs are a great source of protein and are loaded with vitamin D. They are also a great source of choline, which promotes brain development.

Downsides of a low glycemic diet

One of the main reasons why people choose to go on a low glycemic diet is because they believe that it will help them lose weight. However, there are some downsides to this type of diet. The main thing is that it's not as effective at helping people lose weight quickly as low-carb diets. 

Do I choose a low-carb diet or a low glycemic diet?

The bottom line is that both diets work. If you want to lose weight faster (if you have a very specific weight loss goal), then the low-carb diet may be better for you. If you want to lose weight and sustain the results for a longer period of time, then the low glycemic diet is your best choice.

Frequently asked questions

Is low-carb the same as low GI?

Low Carb and Low Glycemic Index are two different things. Low Carb means no carbs, while Low Glycemic Index means foods that cause blood sugar levels to rise slowly.

Is low GI better than keto?

A low glycemic diet fares better in the long-run, check out this study by BMC Nutrition to learn more.


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