Tune in to our radio show on your local public radio station, or sign up for the podcast and listen at your leisure. Here’s what it’s about:

For years we have been told that all calories are equal. In theory, it doesn’t much matter what we eat, provided we don’t eat too much of it. But new research has called that approach into question. Harvard researchers have found that eating certain foods is associated with weight gain, while choosing other items can be associated with modest weight loss over the years.

Scientists even have a theoretical explanation: most of the foods that seem to promote weight gain cause a quick rise in blood sugar and insulin. Such high glycemic index foods send metabolic signals to our bodies that lead to fat storage.

If you’d like to learn more about following a diet that is low in glycemic index foods, you may want to check out our book, Recipes & Remedies from The People’s Pharmacy.

Guests: Jennie Brand-Miller, PhD, FAIFST, FNSA, holds a personal chair in Human Nutrition in the Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise and Eating Disorders and the School of Molecular Bioscience at the University of Sydney. She is one of the world’s leading authorities on the glycemic index.

Her books include The Diabetes and Pre-diabetes Handbook, The New Glucose Revolution, The Low GI Diet, Low GI Eating Made Easy, The Low GI Guide to Your Heart and Metabolic Syndrome, The Low GI Guide to Managing PCOS and the Low GI Vegetarian Cookbook. Her websites are www.glycemicindex.com and www.gisymbol.com. The photo is of Dr. Brand-Miller.

Dariush Mozaffarian, MD, is Associate Professor in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. He is also Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. The study on diet and weight gain was published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free for four weeks after the date of broadcast. After that time has passed, digital downloads are available for $2.99. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99.

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  1. MJB

    Fantastic! VERY informative. And accessible…I am not very knowledgeable about this kind of thing at all, and this program really helped me to understand. Thank you!

  2. Stephanie

    I, also, (like PJC) would like a direct link to a clear list of positive/neutral/negative foods.

  3. Stephanie

    Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian did discuss this very thing (glycemic load being a better indicator) and mentioned carrots and bananas. I caught the tail end of the broadcast in the car. Fascinating.

  4. JGW

    As in PJC’s case, I was in the car, and would greatly appreciate a list. I’m particularly interested in what the doctor had to say about fats, especially saturated fats, since I was unable to listen to that segment. I have been applying Gary Taubes’ advice and have lost 15 pounds, but still have some concern about the role of fats. Thanks for a very timely program!

  5. LC

    While listening, I was searching the internet for lower GI potatoes. No luck finding them. Please post some info on this. Thanks.

  6. Paul C. G.

    Hi, My question for today is: “how do you keep enough glucose in your brain to be able to add and subtract accurately for at least 12 hours of continuous work.” Let those glycemic index people think about that one. It’s a requirement for work. Do not tell me you have to be 20 years old to do it. pg1246 o&o

  7. TR

    Dr. Mozaffarian was a great guest. He had much sound advice and seems very trustworthy since he does not have a book or research agenda of his own to promote. All of his recommendations seemed very reasonable.

  8. mn

    I think it is true first concentrate on healthy food then if u eat high gylcemic food eat in small quantity, and just eating good food will not help to reduce insulin level have to walk. Eat sweet in small quantity with meal to decrease glycemic index. Over eating and less exercise is the biggest problem. Skipping meal is biggest problem which lead to eat over in next meal. So healthy balance diet and avoiding overeating, and exercise is key.

  9. Harvey L.

    Sorry, my previous comment was unclear on 1 point. I meant to say that all of the carbs I eat are low glycemic index carbs. Greens, string beans, lettuce,
    radicchio. No rice, no grains, no potatoes, no carrots, no fruit. All the carbs I eat are high phytonutrients. Incidentally, Chia seeds are a great snack and salad topper- no carbs at all, high calcium, high fiber, high calcium, high omega 3s, high magnesium. It is the superfood of the Aztecs.

  10. PJR

    I think Michael Pollan’s advice is easiest to follow: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”

  11. HJL

    I listened very carefully to all of the interview with Dr. Brand-Miller. My bias is an Atkins diet which works extraordinarily well for me, but I have never argued it is best for everyone. Brand-Miller makes perfect sense, but I am not sure following her recommendations is as simple as she says.
    She totally validates Atkins saying things such as the best way to lose weight and maintain it (New England Journal of Med. as source) is a high protein diet
    and she says low fat dieting has been a “miserable failure.”
    Her only negative comment about Atkins is that it is a “tough diet to follow.”
    This is where I disagree. For many of us it is easy, effective and totally energizing. Breakfast-eggs and bacon. Lunch- full fat chicken (skin included) over large salad greens. Dinner- steak over large salad. I just don’t feel deprived, The weight is 75 lbs. lower, glucose, triglycerides and A1c way down, and HDLs way up and my Cleveland Clinic doc says just keep doing what you are doing. (Note: all carbs are very low glycemic index)
    Anyone who isn’t happy on a low fat regimen or can’t get good results using
    Brand-Miller, should consider Atkins because you have nothing to lose trying it.

  12. PJC

    Please post the foods that were positive, neutral, and negative for weight loss. I think it should be posted clearly. If you could send me a direct link. I was driving when he listed the actual foods and thanks to Dr.’s for pressing him to list them instead of just making us listen to the lead so we would have to buy a book or do our own research!

  13. Steve

    Great show. Very informative and really thought Drs. Brand-Miller and Mozaffarian did a great job on the material. According to the broadcast, Dr. Mozaffarian’s article would be available here. All I can find is a link to the article abstract. Will the full article be available?

  14. DWD

    I did not get to listen to all the program, but I did not hear any mention of glycemic load in conjunction with glycemic index. My understanding is that glycemic index can be misleading with some foods like carrots. While the index is high, because of the fiber, you have to eat a lot of them to get the carbs. I believe Walter Willet’s book Eat, Drink and Be Healthy discusses both load and index.

  15. JAM

    The program was extremely interesting. I have known about the GI for quite a few years and know how good it is at maintaining healthy blood sugar and also in controlling weight.

  16. Halli

    Everything I need to know about staying healthy I learned in 5th grade including “don’t eat too many starchy veggies”
    I listened and stayed normal in weight 70 years. I also eat simply w whole foods.
    Maybe I should write a book.

  17. lynda

    hi big D,
    I was surprised that you hear this at 6am also….here in Milwaukee it is 6am also.

  18. a.s.

    an’ at 6AM here in Big D I’ll be listening, too.

  19. Paul 43

    3 balanced meals a day— no or very little of the right kind of snacks

  20. Chris

    Sounds like another interesting programme coming up! :-)
    Certainly, I’ve found the GI value of foods to be helpful in keeping trim.

  21. IP

    Could the label have not been removed from the fruit before the picture? An advertisement perhaps?
    People’s Pharmacy response: Look closely, and you will see that the label is one indicating that the food has a low glycemic index. These labels, promoted by Dr. Brand-Miller’s institute, help shoppers in Australia. Unfortunately, there is no equivalent in the U.S.

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