Hardly a week goes by without a new weight-loss craze hitting the headlines. From pills and detox programs to pre-packaged meals, it’s no wonder dieters can become confused. But there’s one “diet” (I prefer eating plan!) That has been helping people to successfully lose weight for years. It’s a diet that isn’y a diet, but a healthy eating plan. It’s backed by sound scientific research, it’s the Low GI diet.
The low-GI diet was based on research that shows that some carbohydrates have a different effect on blood glucose levels than others. While some flow into the bloodstream quickly, causing glucose to spike, others trickle in slowly, keeping it low. Based on this research, the glycaemic index, or GI, was established about 25 years ago. It’s a scale that ranks foods from zero to 100 based on their effect on the body’s blood glucose.
But how does it relate to our weight?…
The low-GI diet was originally intended to help people with diabetes control their blood glucose levels, but it was quickly adapted to help people trying to lose weight as it also helps to control cravings and appetite.
One of the best things about it is that it promotes fat loss rather than muscle or just fluid loss, and it increases the rate of weight loss compared to conventional low-fat diets. If you have “dangerous” levels of belly fat, a low-GI diet can help to get rid of that too.
And it’s easy to follow too, because it’s not a starvation diet or a fad where you are cutting out most things you like and end up craving foods because you’re hungry and deprived, you don’t have to do any calorie counting or portion control (within reason) and you don’t really cut anything out, so you won’t feel deprived of good food….just eat a lot less of the high Glycaemic index foods and more of the low and medium.
So what foods are in the high category?….
High-GI foods (70 or higher): white rice, white bread, white bagels, white baked potatoes, crackers, sugar-sweetened beverages, most cereals i.e. special k, rice krispies, shredded wheat cornflakes, branflakes, Weetabix, donuts, scones, all processed cakes and biscuits.
Medium-GI foods (56-69): bananas, grapes, mango, pineapple, raisins, figs, sweetcorn, beetroot, basmati rice, wild rice, digestive biscuits, honey, couscous, gnocchi, rice noodles, wild rice.
Low-GI foods (55 and under): oatmeal, peanuts, cashews, dark chocolate, cherries, plums, grapefruit, peaches, apples, pears, apricots, grapes, coconut, kiwi, oranges, strawberries, blueberries, peas, kidney beans, aubergine, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, tomatoes, cabbage, green beans, peppers, onions, hummus, skim milk quinoa, all legumes (beans), greek yoghurt, soy milk, almond milk, wholewheat pasta, brown rice, sweet potatoes, new potatoes.
Some simple tips for making it low GI….
. Choose brown (wholegrain) versions of foods like bread, pasta, rice and crackers.
. switch white or wholemeal bread for grainy bread like soy and linseed bread and sour dough bread
. Use new potatoes instead of old and boil in their skins, or sweet potatoes for baking rather than regular white jackets.
. For a tasty mash, mash sweet potatoes, butternut squash or celeriac.
. Thicken sauces using a little tahini or nut butter rather than high GI cornflour. Peanut butter, non-fat crème fraiche or greek yoghurt to make creamy sauces.
. Choose amylose-rich basmati rice instead of other varieties of white rice.
. Avoid ‘instant’ or ‘easy cook packet or jar sauces’, foods which tend to be more highly processed.
. Snack on unsalted nuts, raisins and seeds, rather than sweet treats and biscuits.
This diet plan is something you can use for life. It’s also great for anyone looking for a healthy way to lose weight and maintain weight loss. It’s also great for supremely active and fit people who rely on complex carbs for extended energy, that want a healthy nutritious diet with bags of energy for exercise.