We all thought the French were slim due to their incessant smoking and coffee consumption but perhaps not. It would seem they have all been introduced to the montignac diet plan as Micheal Montignac sold 15 million books about it.

The diet is based on the complex principle of a foods glycemic index (GI). Glycemic index is a system used to rank carbohydrates based on how they affect the blood sugar (blood-glucose) levels after a meal. The GI system of classifying foods was originally devised for diabetics to help them manage their blood sugar levels and their disorder. Micheal Montignac saw this ranking system as a potential way to slim down so developed his diet around it.

Foods with a high GI (that cause high blood sugar levels after meals) are deemed “bad carbohydrates” and must not be eaten with food containing fat. These foods are things such as lollies, potatoes, white bread and other high sugar and starch carbohydrates. I do see the logic behind this as the glucose from the carbohydrates are burned first therefore if the food has a lot of glucose to use then the fats are likely to be stored. In saying this whether metabolism is as linear as this theory needs it to be is up for debate.

Choice of fats is also important in the diet plan. Montignac cautions dieters to avoid saturated fats such as butter and animal fat. The terms saturated and unsaturated are used to describe the structure of the fats and this difference causes them to be metabolised (used by the body) differently. This differentiation made by Montignac as far as I can see is mainly for the health of your heart, which the diet claims to promote. This does make sense because saturated fats carry more cholesterol, which is a molecule that can build up and cause plaques in your arteries.

The diet has two phases, the first being the “weight loss” phase and the second being the “stabilisation and prevention” phase. In phase one only foods with a GI less than 35 may be consumed and lean protein must be eaten in greater quantities. Phase two uses a complex system of GI’s and carbohydrate content to prevent blood sugar spikes after meals.

The diets principals have taken the biochemistry of the body into consideration, which is a positive, but the method is complex. The complexity of the GI system could make it difficult to maintain and only the very disciplined and committed dieters would benefit.

So I say good luck to you! Give it a try if you think you have the determination because there is absolutely no risk with this one!

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