How Does the Glycemic Index Affect Your Health?
Matzner Clinic News
Many of you have likely heard about the glycemic index, but how much do you know about how it affects your health? The glycemic index is a rating of the effect of foods on blood sugar levels. The higher the food falls on the scale of 0-100, the more rapidly it is digested and absorbed by the body, resulting in higher fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Food that ranks lower on the glycemic index, however, aids in slow digestion and absorption, which in turn results in a gradual rise in blood sugar and insulin levels.
What does this mean for you? Possibly weight gain if large amounts of sugar continue to be flooded into the blood stream. Directly after entering the body, carbohydrates begin the process of converting into sugar. This sugar then enters the bloodstream and the cells to provide energy. Two hormones, insulin and glucagon, regulate the levels of sugar in the blood. Insulin's role is to move sugar into the cells so that it can be utilized for energy when blood sugar is high. Glucagon, on the other hand, helps to release sugar stored in the liver and muscles when blood sugar levels are low. Therefore, the two balance each other out. However, when there is an excess of sugar in the body, insulin locks it in the cells. For this reason, it has been called "the fat storage hormone."
Yoga as a Stress Reliever
Matzner Clinic News
Yoga has been known for centuries to be an effective method for reducing levels of stress hormones. New research led by Dr. Alan Kristal has found that regular yoga practice may have additional benefits, including the prevention of weight gain in people of normal weight range and weight loss in those who are overweight. The study, published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, found that people who ate mindfully, meaning that that were aware of what they ate and stopped eating according to their hunger cues, weighed less. Most importantly, this "mindful eating" approach was found to be strongly associated with yoga.
The theory is that the practice of yoga increases one's awareness of the body and one's sensitivity to hunger and satiety. This is not so much related to the act of physical exercise, but to the increase in awareness that comes from focusing on the breath and the calm of the body during yoga participation. The research used measures of comparison for analyzing mindful eating, including disinhibition (eating even when full), awareness, external hunger cues (such as smell and sight), emotional response, and distraction eating. Results indicated that higher amounts of mindfulness were linked to significantly lower BMI's and also that regular yoga participants had significantly increased mindfulness which allowed them to gain less over a ten-year period than non-yoga participants, regardless of dietary patterns and activity.