Written by: Kevin White
The low GI diet has recently toppled the Atkins diet for all those wanting to fit into bikinis for the summer, but can you still eat sandwiches?
How did the low GI diet start?
The GI diet was first seen a quarter of a century ago and has become a way for diabetics to control the insulin levels, being popular in Australia for almost a decade. The GI (Glycaemic Index) diet involves you choosing a low carbohydrate foods and lean meats to achieve your goal.
Stars such as Kylie Minogue, Jodie Kidd, Steve Redgrave and Antony Worrall Thompson swear by the GI diet.
How does the diet work?
The glycaemic index ranks carbohydrate food from 0 to 100 on the rate at which it raises blood glucose levels. Low GI foods will break down slowly in your body and raise your blood sugar at a steady rate, this will sustain energy and keep you feeling fuller for longer. High GI foods invade the body with sugar at a fast pace, making you want to eat sooner than normal.
Low GI diets reduce insulin levels, this hormone stimulates the production of flat but it also inhibits the breakdown of fat. Having too much insulin in your body will increase the risk of obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. This GI diet allows three meals and three snacks a day, and requires you to add the points for each food to stay within the daily limit. The healthy foods with a high GI rating, such as potatoes can be offset with a topping of the low GI beans.
No carb foods such as meat and cheese having zero GI, no matter how fatty or salt laden they may be. It’s best to choose leaner meat and low fat dairy foods to keep the diet as natural as possible.
Recent studies have shown that the risk of developing type II diabetes and heart disease are strongly linked to the GI of the overall diet. Researchers at Hammersmith hospitals NHS trust found that eating just one extra low GI item every meal time, cut the blood sugar levels. If your current diet already involves a lean meat, lots of fruit and veg, limited amount of high-fibre carbs and zero sugar then you’ll already be on this GI diet.