What You Should Know
The Montignac Diet, very popular in France in the last decade, was developed by a French drug company executive, Michel Montignac. Montignac overcame the obesity of his youth and began to develop a method for weight loss.
The Montignac Diet centers around the glycemic index (GI) and is a precursor of current diets also based on GI such as the GI Diet and South Beach Diet. Montignac’s theory is that foods that have a high glycemic index create spikes in blood glucose levels that trigger fat storage in the body. Montignac defined most high-GI foods as bad and are to be avoided, except for those that have a low overall carbohydrate content, such as carrots. White bread, potatoes and white rice all fall into the high-GI category and Montignac theorized that they could not be eaten with fats as that causes the body to store the fat. This theory is also popular with many food combination diets.
Montignac also made the distinction between “good” fats: polyunsaturated fats like those found in fish and nuts and monounsaturated fats like that found in olive oil, and “bad” fats, the saturated fats in butter and red meat. The Montignac Diet is divided into two phases. Phase I is the weight loss phase. In Phase I, only foods with a glycemic index of 35 or less are to be eaten and lean protein is to be boosted. Phase II is the stabilization and prevention phase. Montignac developed a method called the glycemic outcome where the results of the glycemic index combined with the pure carbohydrate content of a food could be used to minimize blood glucose spikes for even high-glycemic foods.
There are both scientific proponents and detractors of the Montignac Diet. Proponents look to newer studies that emphasize the role of the glycemic load and its resultant increase in insulin production in weight management. Detractors dismiss Montignac’s theories about food combining as outdated nonsense and point to the fact there is little if any scientific support for them. Although the Montignac Diet never caught on in North America, many of its basic principles can be found in other popular diets.
- Based on glycemic index which is increasingly supported with scientific study.
- Recognizes the benefits of “good” fats over “bad” fats.
- Has celebrity endorsement from Queen Beatrix and others.
- Some of Montignac’s theories remain unsupported by clinical study.
- Many people find the rules of the diet confusing and difficult to follow.
- Not a popular diet in North America.
The Montignac Diet may not be as popular as it once was but Montignac has sold over 15 million books so it is a diet to be taken seriously. Because it is based on many sensible eating principles (limiting red meat, eating whole grains), there appears to be little risk of trying it out. We feel that if a weight loss aid with metabolic-boosting ingredients like green tea were coupled with this diet, there is potential to lose significant weight.