Dr Alan Barclay
‘Swap it. Don’t stop it.’
What does it mean? ‘It just means swapping some of the things I’m doing now for healthier choices’, says Eric, the balloon man at the centre of a campaign here in Australia that’s aiming to encourage us to adopt some simple healthy weight management techniques and reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers.
The approach is refreshingly simple. But it’s not new. The key messages for the campaign were originally developed by the UK’s Department of Health where the program’s tagline was ‘How to lose weight and feel healthy without giving up all the things you love’ – a sentiment we totally agree with.
Adopting new and restrictive eating habits to lose weight that don’t fit in with you or your family’s background or way of life and backing them up with a mantra of self-denial (and guilt when you can’t stick to it) is not a successful strategy for long-term weight management or good physical and mental health.
Rather than demonising any particular food or nutrient, we should be enjoying our meals and drinks, eating an all-round healthy diet and being more active every day, not embarking on an endless cycle of restrictive weight-loss diets that avoid or eliminate the latest bogey food or nutrient. As most of us know through either personal experience or professional training – these kinds of diets are not a recipe for long-term success by any measure.
Here at the GI Foundation, we are big fans of the 'this for that' swap it approach. We have actually been promoting the concept of swapping healthier low GI choices for your regular high GI foods and drinks in our books and websites for many years – long before the UK and Australian Governments came on board. The reason why is relatively simple:
- The GI was originally designed to choose the better options within each food group;
- Research has shown that consuming an ad libitum low GI diet (that essentially means eating as much and often as you need to) will not only help you lose body fat and maintain lean muscle mass (ie, improve your body composition), it helps you keep it off in the long-term. In fact, a low GI diet can really help us to achieve 'Health at Every Size' by helping us to improve our body composition without self denial.
Unlike restrictive diets that require you to count and cut out certain food groups or ingredients, swapping lets you choose foods that fit your personal, religious and cultural tastes so you can enjoy your meals and reap the benefits of healthy eating – for the rest of your life.
For more information email Dr Alan W Barclay here: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about the GI Symbol Program
Dr Alan W Barclay, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer
Glycemic Index Foundation (Ltd)
Phone: +61 (0)2 9785 1037
Mob: +61 (0)416 111 046
Fax: +61 (0)2 9785 1037