The GI Diet Explained
The latest ‘hot’ diet to hit the market is the ‘GI Diet’ or ‘Glycaemic Index’ diet. Used by stars such as Kylie Minogue and Helen Porter, the GI Diet was invented in 1981 by Dr David Jenkins and is actually well respected by qualified nutritionists too, so it’s not just the latest ‘celeb fad’ diet.
Dr Jenkins based his ideas on his observations into how different carb-rich foods affect human blood sugar levels in diabetics. What he found amazed him and us here at www.supadiet.com too – namely that there are some starchy foods that affect blood sugar levels dramatically, while some sugar-heavy foods actually have little effect. This is, of course, in direct contrast to all the perceived medical wisdom. The culmination of Dr Jenkins’ work is a scale called the Glycaemic Index, ranking foods on the basis of how they affect your blood sugar levels.
Starting with glucose which has a GI of 100, the GI scale goes all the way down to zero. By comparing how various foods raise blood sugar levels when we eat them, each food can be positioned on the GI scale relative to glucose. A high GI value means the food causes a fast and large rise in blood sugar levels, while a low GI value means the food has only a slow, low effect on blood sugar. Foods that have low GI values are supposed to release sugar into the blood slowly, over a long period, providing constant energy thru the day, meaning that hunger pangs are less likely to strike. High GI value foods, in contrast, flood the body with sugar fast, but the effect wears off just as quickly meaning you get hungry again.
This is why a candy bar often seems such a good idea when we are starving, yet rarely satisfies. Keep that kind of snacking up, and you end up pumping far more calories into your system than you actually need, because the falling blood sugar levels make you body think you are hungry again. A recipe for weight gain, in fact, as several researchers at www.supadiet.com have found to their cost!
So the gist of the GI diet is to focus on low GI value foods, as these are the ones that will keep you going for longer without hunger rearing it’s ugly head! A ‘low’ value is generally thought to be below about 55 on the GI scale, while ‘medium’ foods are between 56 and 69. Above 70, and the food is a high GI value. Obviously, on the GI diet, you focus on low GI value foods, keeping your blood sugar at a constant level and holding hunger pangs at arms length. You should generally cut down on fat-laden foods too, even if technically they are ‘low’ GI foods. Milk, chips and chocolate are examples of this.
You have probably already spotted the main problem with the GI diet – it can be hard to tell what the GI value of an entire meal is, given that a meal has several component foods. Unless you are careful, you could end up following what looks like a good GI diet, but is actually packed out with fat and salt – hardly healthy! This is why meal plans are essential on the GI diet. On a good GI diet plan, you should expect to lose 1 or 2 pounds a week, and this is a pretty sustainable level to aim for, according to leading nutritionists. A GI Diet may also (although the research is not conclusive yet!) help ward off certain types of diabetes, and heart disease too.
Like all diets, you should check with your doctor first, to make sure you aren’t running any health risks unnecessarily. A typical ‘good’ GI diet plan for a day might look something like this (more detailed plans are, of course available at www.supadiet.com ).
Oat porridge with skimmed milk and sweetened and a piece of fruit.
A low fat fruit yoghurt and another piece of fruit.
Lentil soup, whole-meal tuna sandwich and some fruit.
Whole-meal pasta with bolognese sauce (extra lean mince) with salad.