I am trying the G.I. diet

Standard

I just got the book for it last week. It gives all foods a glycemic index (G.I.) rating which is a measure of their effect on your blood sugar. High G.I. foods cause a rapid increase in blood sugar to a high level followed by a similarly rapid dip. These should be avoided because:

  • They provoke excessive insulin production, which over time weakens your pancreas making you susceptible to diabetes
  • They make you get hungry more rapidly (and in my case shaky and weak), so you end up eating more calories than you need
  • Insulin hinders the burning of fat, making it harder to shift the weight

It is not only an effective weight loss diet, it has reversed type 2 diabetes in some people and is generally a healthy way of eating.

Cutting down on fat is also part of the diet for people who want to lose weight, but fats are not actually high-G.I. Good fats must be eaten, and for people at a healthy weight, they can be eaten quite moderately.

The main high-G.I. foods are sugary foods, and starchy foods (grains). The more refined or processed the food, the higher the G.I. is likely to be. (For example, white bread has a G.I. of 95, where sugar at the top of the scale is 100. So white bread is not that different to eating sugar!) Caffeine is also to be restricted because it provokes insulin production.

Relative quantities of the food groups are key. At each meal, one quarter of your plate should be grains; preferably wholegrain, but this isn’t essential (white rice and pasta are low-G.I.). One quarter should be a protein item; protein helps you feel full. The remaining half should be vegetables and fruit.

The diet prescribes three meals a day and three snacks a day. There is a whole list of green-light foods which you can eat as much of as you like (with the exception of grains, whose quantities are restricted). So it is not a diet that requires you to suffer through hunger. The main hardship is giving up sweet things and making the effort to balance the food groups as described. It’s not totally inflexible though.

The book gives hints and tips on how to eat out while still fulfilling the diet, which was helpful for while I was away this week. The lunch buffet was all white filled rolls, vol-aux-vents, crudite, danish pastries and fruit. So I chose rolls with protein-based fillings and took half of the bread roll off, as the book suggests. I had loads of the raw veg, avoided the danish pastries, and had two pieces of fruit (one later in the afternoon). The remarkable thing was that my reactive hypoglycaemia just didn’t happen. I went out from my accommodation at 7pm and walked around for an hour before getting my takeaway dinner, and although I was hungry, I still didn’t feel the least bit shaky. I fully expected to, given how little carbs were in my lunch, and the fact it was white bread. I guess the fruit and veg somehow kept giving out energy all afternoon. I was so happy about it!

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