Whole Fresh Citrus Fits Into Any Diet This New Year
With Its High Fiber Content and Low Glycemic Load, Citrus Is A Secret Weight-Loss Weapon
December 15, 2003
SHERMAN OAKS, CA (December 15, 2003) - Most Americans put on some unwanted weight over the winter holiday season and attempt a new diet plan with the New Year. Rather than start another fad diet this January 1, research suggests that dieters should select foods with "staying power" like whole citrus that help curb appetite and prevent overeating1
"Eating less is not always the best answer," said Dr. Barbara Rolls, who holds the Guthrie Chair in Nutrition at Pennsylvania State University and has spent more than twenty years researching hunger and obesity. In her research, Dr. Rolls has shown that people can actually eat large quantities of food without consuming too many calories simply by choosing foods high in water and fiber content such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and soups2. With the popularity of low carbohydrate diets today, many dieters inadvertently decrease their fiber intake when they limit foods with carbohydrates. Research studies show, however, that fiber is a key nutrient for weight loss1-2.
While some dieters might try to avoid carbohydrates altogether, it is best to pick the right ones proven for weight loss. Oranges and grapefruit, for example, rank #1 and #2 in fiber out of the top 20 most-consumed fruits and vegetables3. Research studies show that certain foods rich in soluble fiber like oranges and grapefruit provide a greater feeling of fullness and also keep blood sugar levels steady, which means better appetite control1-2.
Research conducted by Dr. Rolls was recently presented at the American Dietetic Association Conference in San Antonio, Texas. Her research concluded that portion sizes can be increased if they are high in water and fiber content. For example, a handful (1 oz.) of fat-free pretzels contains the same amount of calories as two whole oranges, but the whole oranges would provide a greater feeling of fullness because they contain more water and fiber than the pretzels. Another study that appeared in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found similar results and reported that the pectin and other fibers found in the albedo layer ("fuzzy white layer") of an orange curb appetite and suppress hunger levels for up to four hours after eating1.
The popularity of low-carbohydrate diets has increased awareness of a concept called the Glycemic Index (GI), which rates how quickly a particular food's carbohydrates are converted into glucose (blood sugar). This measurement tool has been followed by the more refined measurement system of Glycemic Load (GL), which measures both quality and quantity of carbohydrates by looking at a food's GI and adjusting that figure to reflect a realistic serving size. For example, carrots have a relatively high glycemic index, but the total amount of carbohydrate in a serving of carrots is very low, so carrots have a low Glycemic Load.
According to Dr. Liz Applegate, a nutritionist and faculty member at the University of California, Davis, "Dieters should focus on eating carbohydrates that have a low impact on blood sugar levels. This is known as the Glycemic Load, which ranks a food based on its carbohydrate content, and impact on blood sugar level. People should look for foods with a low GL, which leads to steadier blood sugar levels and potentially improved appetite control."
A food's GL is considered low if it is below 10. The GL for a medium-sized orange is 6, while the GL for half a grapefruit is 3. A serving of whole fruit has a lower GL than a serving of fruit juice, which contains higher levels of carbohydrates per serving. Another benefit of whole fruit compared to juice is the fiber content, which Applegate notes is key to weight loss because it curbs appetite.
"Whether you're on a low-carb, low-fat or low-calorie diet plan, you'll find the greatest success with foods that keep you feeling full for longer periods of time," adds Applegate. A sample breakfast that will leave<