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The GI diet

Image of woman eating high GI food

It tastes nice - but watermelon is high GI and will raise your blood glucose fast

 

As with all diets, the best way forward is to treat it sensibly. The GI diet is considered by nutritionalists to be much closer to a healthier diet than previous faddy diets.

It is important that you do not choose your food entirely on the basis of its GI value and you should consult your doctor or medical professional before beginning any diet or exercise plan.

picture of fruit in basketThe GI diet was originally developed for diabetics who need to keep their blood sugar level at steady levels rather than experience alternating high and low blood sugar levels.

The GI diet assigns a value from 1 to 100 for carbohydrates - The higher the value, the faster the food is absorbed into the bloodstream so that fast release foods such as sugar, honey and baked potatoes have a high GI value (see chart). Glucose is rated at 100 as it is most quickly absorbed.

The great thing about lower GI foods is that they're satisfying and healthy too. Combining a low Gi food with a high Gi treat will lower the overall Gi of the meal.

GI snacks - Fruit loaf with fruit spread, a pot of natural yoghurt with fresh raspberries or strawberries, small carton of fruit juice,

Protein foods and fats don't have GI values - choose the healthier options : low fat chicken and fish rather than red meat, olive oil rather than saturated fats. Processing tends to raise the Gi of foods.

How does the GI diet work?

The principle behind the GI diet is that eating low GI foods will result in a slow and controlled release of sugars into the blood. This in turn keeps blood sugar levels at a more constant level which helps to reduce feelings of hunger. This accounts for much of its popularity over the past few years as the absence of hunger pains makes a diet easy to follow!

GI Diet - image of salmon and beansWhat foods does the GI Diet suggest?

A days eating on the GI diet might look like this:

Breakfast

  • Porridge with a small serving honey or
  • Medium Cereal with strawberries or blueberries or
  • Toasted wholegrain bread with baked beans or honey
  • Low fat milk or orange juice

Lunch

  • Chicken sandwich with wholegrain bread or
  • Pasta Salad with a tomato sauce

Dinner

  • Grilled fish with veggies and new potatoes
  • Fruit salad or apple crumble

Advantages of the GI diet

The GI Diet is thought to be a healthy option for the long term and although you may not see the rapid weight loss experienced with some 'crash diets' the weight does tend to come off and stay off

Low Carb Diet Recipes - Easy to make, fast and appetising diet recipes to help you lose weight

Low Carbohydrate Diet Recipes

Some suggestions of low carbohydrate meals you might like to try.

As ever, If you need more details on a particular dish, there are plenty of great cooks out there who can give you cooking times to the second and amounts to the gram and you'll find tons of great recipes on sites from our links page.

The secret to a successful low carb diet is to eat food that appeals in a reasonable quantity - you already know how much this is!

Think smaller portions of foods that you enjoy eating and changeing the way you prepare and cook your food.


Protein, Fat and Carbohydrate content of Food
Food type
 Water %
 Protein %
 Fat %
 Carbohydrate %
 Calories per lb
Cheese
34.2
25.2
31.7
2.4
1,950
Eggs
73.7
13.4
10.5
0
720
Milk
87
3.3
4
5
310
Beef
54.8
23.5
20.4
0
1,300
Cod
58.5
11.1
0.2
0
209
Salmon
64
22
12.8
0
923
Peas
85.3
3.6
0.2
9.8
252
Baked Beans
68.9
6.9
2.5
19.6
583
Lentils
15.9
25.1
1
56.1
1,620
Peanuts
9.2
25.8
38.6
24.4
2,490
String Beans
93.7
1.1
0.1
3.8
92
Walnuts
2.5
18.4
64.4
13
3,182
Almonds
4.8
21
54.9
17.3
2,940

Grilled Peppers and Mushrooms

A nice low carb vegetarian option. Chop up a couple of large peppers and a few mushrooms and put into a large bowl with a splash of olive oil. Stir so that the mushrooms and peppers are coated with oil then add chopped onion, garlic, thyme, pepper to taste.

Grill until tender.

Cooking Time and preparation time - quick!


Squid and prawns skewered with peppers

Seafood Special

This makes a nice evening meal or a special weekend lunch. All the ingredients can be bought ready frozen and kept in the freezer.

Use medium to large prawns (shrimps) and baby squid.

If you are using fresh ingredients, clean out the squid before you start. Chop into small pieces and if you have time, add the prawns and marinade in a garlic/olive oil dressing for a couple of hours in the fridge. You can make a quick dressing with a squeeze of garlic paste mixed with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. If you're using frozen ingredients ensure everything is defrosted before you start cooking.

Next fry the squid and prawns for a couple of minutes in some olive oil and garlic until cooked. Don't over do it as squid can go rubbery if it's overcooked. There's a large element of truth in the old saying that you should cook squid for two or twenty minutes!

An option add this point is to chuck a chopped pepper or onion in the pan and fry it up too.

Serve with a salad or skewered with the peppers and a cold glass of Chablis. Those of you who aren't dieting might like some rice too.

Cooking Time and preparation time - 30 minutes!

more about preparing squid and other seafood from the BBC Food Team (opens in new window)

G I Diet Home Page (External site - opens in new window)

 

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