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Thoughts on Low-GI Eating

Updated on August 14, 2010
Whole-grain breads
Whole-grain breads

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It can be very difficult to eat low GI if you insist on doing all the math, and including the glycemic load calculations, and all the rest. It is also correct to say that the GI of a given vegetable, for instance, has a range on the scale depending on how mature the vegetable is (baby white potatoes aren't too bad, but a mature white baking potato isn't the best option), how it's cooked, and other variables. It is also correct to say that adding fats to a food lowers the GI; this is because the fats slow down the processing of the food in general in our digestive system. Slower processing gives a lower GI (nonscientifically speaking).

However--it doesn't have to be difficult. After talking with my dr, and working with the GI for a while on my own, I came to the conclusion that it works best as a guideline. The common sense part of it is the important part. Choose whole grains and whole-grain baked goods; choose legumes and other non-meat proteins, along with lean meat proteins. Even Dr. Brand-Miller herself explains that choosing mostly low GI grains, vegetables, and fruits and using medium or even high GI foods with them is an improvement over all high GI foods (note that meats and fats are by definition low GI--they contain no carbs).

For myself, I found that when I started using the GI meal plans as outlined in Dr. Brand-Miller's book, I automatically started to lose weight--because the combination of blood-sugar control and feeling full faster for longer meant I wasn't constantly scrounging for "something." I can't say this will happen for you. I'm telling you my personal experience.

For example: Steel-cut "Irish" oats have a lower GI than quick-cooking rolled oats. They're less processed. In general, less-processed grains are lower on the GI and affect the blood sugar more slowly than highly-processed ones. It follows, then, that baked goods made from less-processed grains are also lower on the GI and keep us feeling full longer, affecting our blood sugar more slowly. That's what it's about, really.

I keep the book handy now as a reference if I find I've forgotten which choice is better (seldom, but it happens), and for the recipes contained in one of the chapters.

I hope this helps somewhat in your journey.


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    • Starglade profile image

      Starglade 7 years ago from behind the Cheddar Curtain

      Hi, Barbara.

      I was dx'ed several years ago as being (are you ready?) "predisposed to prediabetes" because of family history (my father's side, everyone has/had it) and my health at the time. I immediately called my mother and asked what Dad had done to control his, knowing as I did that he never got to the point of needing insulin but controlling it entirely through his eating. That's how I got word of Brand-Miller's book.

      Since that time, I've reached a "normal" weight (150 as of this writing), my blood work is entirely within normal ranges, and I've actually started exercising regularly. I credit with some of that, but also the fact that we own a Wii and the WiiFit Plus (with the balance board), so even in the depths of Wisconsin winters I can be active without risk of frostbite. :-)

      I look forward to interacting more with you on this subject! I'm far from an expert, but I can speak to what I've done and how, and to the results.

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 7 years ago from USA

      We get to mess with all this too. My children are both diabetic and so am I. I will be looking forward to reading your other hubs.