Weight Loss and Bloating

It’s Summer, and we’re all considering how our waistlines have managed to grow again during the colder months! I am anyway – thanks new MCAS meds and peri-menopause fat fairy!

I am being asked regularly what is my best diet for weight loss and I always point them to my Belly Fat book. This is based on removing the two common ‘bloating and inflammation’ allergens, wheat and dairy, and encouraging low GL eating. It’s simply the best approach I’ve found over the years.

Allergens

I found when I was teaching my Stop Dieting and Lose Weight courses for the NHS and privately years ago, that many people couldn’t lose weight because they were ‘reacting’ to those common foods. The reaction usually takes two forms.

Bloating from excess wind

Either a person gets excess wind and bloats up that way – in which case cutting the foods out will help enormously. Even cutting them down and adding some extra stomach acid and enzymes to help digest them properly will help. Tip: if the swelling occurs within 30 mins of eating, it’s most likely acid. If it’s after a couple of hours, you probably need more enzymes. You can read more about it here in the Acid & Enzyme Factsheet.

Bloating from swelling/inflammation

Some people will react in an inflammatory manner to allergenic foods. Think of when you bash your knee: it goes red and lymph comes to the area as part of your immune reaction, making it swell. What do you think happens to your gut lining? The same. It’s just that you can’t see it. So, some bloating is actually an inflammatory immune reaction. Again, cutting the allergenic foods out will help. Enzymes are unlikely to help as much here because you can react to infinitesimal amounts. The trick is to avoid the foods and do some gut healing and immune support.

Anyway, back to weight loss! Why the Low GL diet?

Well, I based it on research conducted by Patrick Holford years ago. I notice he’s recently done an overview of low GL for weight loss and I’m sure he won’t mind me sharing a bit of it here with you. You can read it in full here.

For the last 30 years I have been studying the best way to lose weight. There are a lot of diets out there and it’s often confusing as you get conflicting messages on what works best. But I think the absolute best and healthiest way to lose weight is to follow a low glycaemic load (GL) Glycaemic load is a unit of measurement that tells you exactly what a particular food will do to your blood sugar. Foods with a high… diet – low GL is what many of the more recent diets out there have in common.

The best bit about the low GL diet is that you don’t have to starve yourself; or limit your food choices or follow a rigid pattern of eating. It is simply keeping your blood sugar balanced and your food choices healthy. This will not only help you to lose weight, but will also give you more energy and plenty of welcome side effects, such as better skin, improved digestion and enhanced mood.

What does low glycaemic load mean?

Glycemic Load (GL) – is a unit of measurement, rather like grams, litres, centimetres and calories are. GLs are used to measure the amount of sugar and starch in food and their impact on the body. They show how much there carbohydrate is in each food (and therefore how much glucose it will create and release into the bloodstream as blood sugar) and how fast the carbohydrate will break down into glucose (and therefore how quickly your blood sugar levels will rise). Low GL Load foods release their glucose more slowly so you maintain stable energy levels for longer.

When your blood sugar level goes too high (after eating too much sugar or refined carbs like white bread or pasta) the excess is converted to fat. When your blood sugar level dips you feel hungry and so you snack – often reaching for something sugary. When you eat a food containing carbohydrate, glucose is released into your bloodstream and your blood sugar level will rise again.

The key to achieving your perfect weight is to keep your blood sugar levels stable. To do this you need to eat healthy foods that provide you with glucose in the right quantities and this is what a low GL diet does.

When you eat a low GL Load diet:

You will stop producing more glucose than you can use, so won’t gain fat.

You won’t suffer from food cravings.

Your body will be reprogrammed to burn fat rapidly.

You will be able to lose weight and sustain your weight loss permanently.

Three simple rules

The beauty of eating a low GL load diet is that you just don’t feel hungry. This is because you eat regularly and can have decent portions. A low GL load diet is also easy to follow, even when you go out. You just need to follow three golden rules:

Eat protein with carbohydrate

Eat no more than 45 GLs a day (see below for how this breaks down)

Graze don’t gorge

Why it’s important to eat protein with carbs

Protein helps to slow down the release of sugar from carbohydrates and has virtually no effect on blood sugar. So if you combine protein (fish, eggs, beans, poultry) with wholemeal carbs like wholemeal bread, brown pasta or starchy vegetables (which are lower GL than refined carbs) you get a healthy, balanced low GL meal.

What food can I eat on 45 GLs a day?

Your GL intake breaks down as 10 GLs each for breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus 5 GLs for a mid morning and mid afternoon snack – so you eat (or graze) regularly instead of gorging at one or two big meals. That helps keep your blood sugar and energy even and stops hunger. Additionally you get 5GLs a day for a drink or dessert.

Here’s what a typical day’s GL Load diet intake could look like:

Breakfast

A bowl of porridge oats (30g), some milk, half a grated apple, a small tub of yoghurt

Morning snack

A cup of strawberries and a few almonds

Lunch

A substantial tuna salad, plus 3 oatcakes or a slice of rye bread

Afternoon snack

A pear and a handful of peanuts

Dinner

Tomato soup, then salmon, brown rice & green beans

Desserts and Drinks

You have a daily 5GL allowance for drinks and desserts. That means you could have a drink on Monday, a dessert on Tuesday, both on Wednesday and neither on Thursday.

The plate below gives you a clear idea of what a main meal making up 10GLs looks like. Half your plate should be vegetables (about 3GLs), one quarter protein (zero GLs) and one quarter low GL carbs (7GLs). So a meal with fish, vegetables and brown rice is a perfect low GL dinner.

Portion Control

Patrick Holford

So, that gives you a great overview. I have put a Best and Worst GL foods list in the Belly Fat plan and loads of tips/food ideas to help you. See also my weight loss factsheet here with other tips.

You’ll see that Patrick goes on to talk about supplements that help weight loss in his article. In short, I find something like Sugar Block helps to slow down the release of insulin and prevent sugar turning to fat. And taking glucomannan/konjac fibre before meals can help control appetite.

Hope that helps – begone belly fat!

2 Replies to “Weight Loss and Bloating”

  1. I am definitely piling on the belly fat as I’ve reached menopause so will take a look at this. My diet is quite good already but bloating has been a problem laterly.

    1. Yes, menopause fat fairy came visiting me recently too. I was getting more exercise than I had in ages, was eating really well and boom! Overnight, I swear she came and stole my usually hourglass shape and turned into more barrel-shape 🙁

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