The Slow-Carb Diet
Make a Low-GI Diet Work for You
Rigidly following a low-glycemic index diet plan isn't easy. For one thing, it's difficult to know what to eat unless you carry an extensive list like ours around with you. Just try picking out a breakfast cereal: All-Bran has a low GI (38) while Bran Flakes has a high one (74). And, oddly, sugar has a lower GI (61) than whole wheat bread or potatoes. "You can't throw out all of your nutrition know-how because of the index," says Thomas Wolever, MD, PhD, a GI researcher and professor of nutrition at the University of Toronto. "Chocolate cake may have a lower GI than wheat bread, but this doesn't mean it's better for you. You have to take into account that the cake also has more fat, sugar, and calories and less fiber."
Complicating things even further is that GI rankings compare foods based on a set amount of carbohydrates (usually 50 grams), which doesn't always correlate to normal portion sizes. And when you start combining foods, their effect on your blood-sugar levels changes. But before you give in to your doughnut desires, relax. Here's how to reap the benefits of a low-GI diet.
- Replace as many as possible high-GI foods in your diet with healthy lower-GI alternatives.
- Add or substitute at least one healthy low-GI food at each meal. Include protein and fat whenever you eat a high-GI food.
- Choose low-GI whole grains over refined as often as possible.
- Reduce the blood-sugar impact of any food by pairing it with one that has a lower glycemic index. For example, smother waffles (high-GI) with blueberries (low-GI).
- Control portions. Big meals -- no matter what they contain -- always stimulate a higher blood-glucose response than smaller ones, says Dr. Katz.
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