Its been a bank holiday weekend and I have well and truly forgot about work, (and healthy eating too I’m afraid). It was a great weekend an I camped out with a gang of girlie friends and was part of a festival my church run. It was a deep and beautiful weekend. The food was deep and meaningful too, chocolate muffins and too many biscuits. Only drinking our new Tiger cranberry and raspberry smoothies (which I am sending everyone as samples this week) made me feel more virtuous about our weekend diet.
But now its Tuesday morning, and I’ve discovered a little more on the GI trail.
(GI means the Glycemic index: An indicator of the ability of different types of foods that contain carbohydrate to raise the blood glucose levels within 2 hours. Foods containing carbohydrates that break down most quickly during digestion have the highest glycemic index. Also called the dietary glycemic index.)
today’s discoveries are the work of David S. Ludwig, MD, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics at Children’s Hospital, Boston. His work has been posted on MedicineNet.com and explains more about the types of foods advocated in the GI diet using a pyramid analogy – the a low-glycemic-load food pyramid:
At the bottom — the basis of the diet — are fruits and vegetables, cooked or served with healthful oils.
Next come reduced-fat dairy foods, lean meats and fish, nuts, and beans.
Higher up — and meant to be eaten less frequently — come whole grains, unrefined grains and pastas.
At the top – to be eaten sparingly if at all – come refined grains, potatoes, and sweets.
Makes good sense to me, though I’d expected the whole grains to come a little lower down. (Secretly I think its a person thing – I’m willing them down the scale a little!)
Dr Ludwig conducted a small study putting with 23 obese 30-year-olds. 11 of these were trying out the “slow carb” GI method whilst 12 counterparts were trying more conventional low fat diets. The 11 who were watching their glycemic load lost more weight than the 12 who were watching fat and calorie intake. Interestingly they also lowered their risk of heart disease.
This sounds like my kind of diet – this is the run down –
Obese participants in the study were instructed to eat non-starchy vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, and dairy products. They were told to eat carbs with protein and healthful fat at every meal and snack. And they were told to eat until they were full and to snack when hungry.
Other obese study subjects were put on a traditional, low-fat/low-calorie diet. Both groups were asked to exercise regularly and were given lifestyle counseling.
“Those in the low-glycemic-diet group were told to eat as much as they wanted and to snack when hungry,” Ludwig says. “Yet after a year, they lost fully as much weight as those told to cut back on fat and to cut back on calories. But they did better in terms of heart disease risk reduction.”
After 12 months on the diets, the slow-carb group lost 7.8% of their body weight compared with 6.1% in the low-fat-diet group.
Levels of triglycerides — blood fats linked to heart disease — decreased much more in the slow-carb group. The levels were down 37% in the slow-carb group compared with 19% in the low-fat group.
Levels of a factor that increases blood clots – called plasminogen activator inhibitor – decreased by 39% in the slow-carb group but increased 33% among the low-fat dieters. Blood clots in the heart arteries are usually the cause of heart attacks.
The conclusion? Slow-Carb Diet, Not Low-Carb Diet.
So here are the tips from “The Low-GI diet revolution”
Aim to eat carbohydrates at every meal.
Aim for the low-GI breakfast cereals — oats, muesli, All-Bran.
Aim for heavy-grain breads, sourdough breads, and stone-ground breads.
Eat lots of legumes (even baked beans).
Don’t be afraid to eat pasta, Basmatti rice, or couscous.
Have two to three servings of low-fat dairy a day.
Eat nine servings of fruit and vegetables a day.
Don’t avoid any kind of fruit or vegetable except potatoes. Replace white potatoes with sweet potatoes, corn, and other healthy foods.
Eat lean meat, fish, and chicken.
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