The Montignac method is not a diet in the traditional sense of the term, if by diet we mean a restrictive diet in terms of quantity that must be followed for a limited period of time.
On the contrary, the Montignac method is a real food philosophy which mainly consists in changing one’s eating habits to lose weight without too many sacrifices and, above all, maintaining the results achieved. It is therefore not a question of eating less or having to weigh every single food, but of eating better by choosing the right foods.
The creator of this diet is Michel Montignac, nutrition specialist whose books are translated into 25 languages and published in 42 countries. Montignac is particularly well known in Europe and his theories have also widely influenced some American authors such as Suzanne Sommers who wrote Eat Great, Lose Weight and Leighton Stewart who published Sugar Busters.
Since the 1980s, Michel Montignac has been conducting studies and in-depth studies on glycemic balance conferred by food and in fact its method is based precisely on limitation of so-called bad sugars (carbohydrates that cause glycemic spikes), such as sugar, polished rice and white bread.
A typical dish of the Montignac diet never finds carbohydrates and lipid foods associated with it, it should be enjoyed by chewing slowly and avoiding drinking while taking food. In a sense variant of the dissociated diet, the Montignac method does not provide for fixed menus or maximum quantities for foods, but ensures a first phase of weight loss in which foods with a glycemic index lower than that of glucose are preferred. This first phase is followed by a second maintenance phase where foods with an index higher than 20% are taken.
But why are glucose and the glycemic index so important? Michel Montignac helped to show that calorie content would not be, as has always been believed, a deciding factor in weight gain. But above all it has shown that the real cause of obesity is hyperinsulinism: an organic dysfunction indirectly caused by the nature of some foods.
According to the Montignac method, by consuming only carbohydrates with a glycemic index less than or equal to 35, the insulin response is low enough to allow activation the slimming enzyme, triglyceride-lipase, and thus trigger weight loss.
Therefore, for the same calories, two foods of the same family that are comparable to each other can cause either weight gain or, on the contrary, weight loss, depending on their glycemic index, while for a long time they were regarded as interchangeable.
Especially recommended for those who gain weight due to a metabolism that works slowly and must be reactivated, for those suffering from diabetes or metabolic syndrome, this regimen is an excellent cure for those who have problems with the functioning of the pancreas or have had to deal with episodes of food intolerances.
The positive side of this diet is that it can be followed anywhere, because it does not include hard-to-find foods nor unlikely calculations to make before you can eat. Meals should also not be skipped, so even the danger of sudden hunger pangs is significantly averted.
On the other hand, it should be noted that this regimen includes foods with a high protein content and that is why it cannot be followed for too long and is not recommended for those with heart or kidney problems.
The opinion of the nutritionist
«The method implemented by Montignac is a method that promotes the consumption of foods with a low glycemic index with the aim of avoiding insulin peaks responsible for the increase in body fat. According to Montignac, reducing these peaks would also reduce fat stores and consequently lead to weight loss. In his approach, Montignac makes absolutely no reference to the quantities of foods but only to their glycemic index. However, we must not forget that a food, if eaten in large quantities, can still make you gain weight regardless of the glycemic index. It is always the dose that makes the poison », comments La Dr. Erika Beatrice, Nutritionist Biologist.
«Any dietary approach that leads to weight loss does so by altering the balance between energy input and energy output either by reducing caloric intake (low-calorie diet) or by increasing energy expenditure (physical activity) or both. Being able to lose weight therefore only considering the glycemic index (albeit a very important factor) is not what I recommend. Furthermore, even if Montignac provides a table with the various glycemic indexes of foods, it should be noted that this value is never constant. The same food can have a different glycemic index based on the type of cooking, the degree of ripeness (e.g. for fruit), the composition and the fiber content. These are all factors that can also greatly influence the glycemic index. In conclusion, since Montignac (especially in the first phase) virtually eliminates almost all carbohydrate foods by allowing only protein foods, I would not recommend this method to athletes, to those suffering from hypoglycemia and to those suffering from liver and kidney diseases», Concludes the expert.
In the gallery above, the foods included in the Montignac method, those prohibited and some examples of suggested menus.