One of the pioneers of using GI (glycaemic index) in relation to weight loss was Frenchman Michel Montignac. His diet has a large number of followers and is based on the glycaemic index of foods as well as food combinations.
The Montignac GI diet
The Montignac GI diet was developed in France by Michel Montignac and over the years its reputation for weight loss has earned it some loyal celebrity fans - Kylie Minogue for one.
But the diet doesn't just use GI, it also includes special food combinations that are designed to help you shed those pounds, making it a little bit different to traditional GI diets.
It's also supposed to be one of those diets where you can eat as much as you want as long as you are eating the right things.
How it works
According to Michel Montignac, combining certain foods can make you fat. He says we don’t put on weight by eating too much but by eating badly. He thinks weight gain is linked to eating bad carbohydrates and bad food combinations.
The GI diet recommends cutting out foods with a high gylcaemic index (potatoes, carrots, beetroot, white bread, pasta etc) because they produce lots of insulin, which make fat cells grow.
Also off the menu are certain combinations of fatty and sugary foods or animal protein and starch. For example, chips aren't allowed because they combine carbohydrates and fat, but then there are not many diets that advocate chips...
On the other hand, you can eat as much protein and fat as you like, as long as you eat them on their own. Fruit is allowed, but not with a meal. Cereals should be unrefined to reduce their glycaemic index and so on.
At first it seems like there are a lot of rules, but once you have got your head around them it's easier to plan your food for the day.
A typical day
Breakfast: Fruit, wholemeal bread with low-fat margarine, decaffeinated coffee, skimmed milk.
Lunch: Avocado vinaigrette, steak and green beans, cheese, still water.
Dinner: Salad or vegetable soup (no starch), mushroom omelette, green salad, fat-free fromage frais.
Weight loss results can be quite impressive. The diet suggests that you should lose at least 11 pounds per month but this will slow over time.
The great thing about this diet is that you lose weight without depriving yourself too much. You can eat out at restaurants and help yourself to sauces and desserts. There’s room for the odd indulgence with this diet.
You can start off gradually, and it's easy to carry out. Unlike traditional diets, the Montignac Diet allows you to eat as much as you want, as long as you choose the right foods and combinations.
Eating wholegrain, unrefined foods is a good thing as they're really good for your health.
However, in terms of nutrition, this diet isn't the best.
Eating the Montignac way can be high in fat, which in the long term can be dangerous for your heart and arteries. It's also very low in carbohydrates which can make you feel tired.
To carry out the diet effectively you need an excellent knowledge of the nutritional composition of foods (good carbohydrates, bad carbohydrates, fat etc) so you have to be quite dedicated to ensure you're not breaking the rules.
In reality, the Montignac diet is a low-calorie diet in disguise: you lose weight quite simply because you eat fewer calories (25% less calories on average). No wonder it has some good weight loss results.
Of course the healthiest way to lose weight is to have a balanced diet of all the core food groups and to exercise regularly.
If the Montignac Diet doesn't sound up your street find the right diet for you from our huge selection of diet plans in our comprehensive Diet A-Z.
Other diets to try...