The GI diet
“Lose weight by eating carbs with low GI”
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In the GI diet you keep eating like you are used to, with one small, but extremely important and powerful difference. Instead of eating white bread you eat dark bread. Instead of eating normal pasta you eat whole grain pasta. What you in fact do is replace carbohydrates with a high Glycemic Index with carbohydrates with a low Glycemic Index. That way you stay full longer and your body produces less insulin, with the benefit that your body does not store all the fat that you eat. A rather simple diet to follow, but very effective. Read on to find more questions & answers about the GI diet.


Frequently asked questions about the GI diet

The GI diet works on two principles:

Lower the amount of fat that the body stores

When you eat “simple” carbohydrates (for example sugar or white bread), the body reacts by producing insulin. Insulin ensures that the carbohydrates can be used as energy in the cells. However, one side-effect is that insulin makes the body store fat, which is not very desirable if you want to lose weight.

If you instead choose more “complex” carbohydrates with a low Glycemic Index (“GI”), then the body releases less insulin, meaning that even if there is fat in your meal very little of it will be stored in your body.

Feel less hungry thanks to a stable blood glucose level

When you eat carbohydrates that have a high GI, those carbs quickly get into the blood stream. Your blood sugar concentration raises quickly and you feel full of energy. The body reacts by producing large amounts of insulin to try to lower blood glucose to a more “normal” level, and your blood glucose will quickly fall. The problem is that the body overdoes it, it release too much insulin, so that 2-3 hours after the meal blood glucose becomes very low and makes you tired, peckish and craving something sweet.

On the other hand, when you choose food with a low GI your blood glucose will not fluctuate as much. Less insulin will be released you won’t feel hungry as fast and therefore you will eat less, making you lose weight.

GI stands for “Glycemic Index” and is a measurement of how quickly food increases your blood glucose level. The GI is shown as a number, a higher GI indicates food that gets processed quickly by the body (which is bad), and include “simple” carbohydrates that are found in food such as white bread, sweets and chips. White bread which has a GI of 100, where as whole grain bread has a GI of 80. In fact, depending where you look the information differs slightly depending how the tests were done, but the fact remains – the lower the GI the better. According to the GI diet you shouldn’t eat food with a GI over 60. The amount of food also matters, i.e the Glycemic Load (GL). A small amount of food with high GI actually affects the blood sugar levels less than a large meal with low GI.

There are different tricks that lowers the GI of the food. For example pouring vinegar or lemon on the food or steam it instead of baking it in the oven.

The GI diet doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to change your diet completely, you just need to switch to another type of food – eating whole grain bread instead of white bread, and choosing whole grain pasta. Some food needs to be excluded totally though, such as sugar, beer, cookies, potatoes, and white rice.

The GI is a way to lose weight that belongs to a group of Low-GI diets and low-carb diets where the objective is to try to minimize the negative consequences that carbohydrates have on the body instead of focusing on fat and calories.

The GI diet is a quite moderate low-carb diet. In Atkins almost all carbohydrates are excluded and the body enters ketosis, whereas the GI diet and the Montignac diet allow carbohydrates as long as they have a low Glycemic Index.

The difference between the GI diet and the Montignac diet is that in Montignac you also exclude saturated fat, for example cream, dairy products and butter. The GI diet on the other hand provides no opinion on which fats you should or should not eat. According to Montignac you could also eat a carbohydrate-rich meal, as long as it is low on fat. That notion doesn’t exist in the GI diet where you always want to eat few and low-GI carbohydrates.

You should eat: Replace simple carbohydrates with wholegrain, wholemeal bread with whole grains, peas, lentils, beans, brown rice, quinoa and bulgur. Fruit, berries, wholegrain pasta and dairy products are also ok. Together with this you eat protein and fat like you did before. A glass of (preferably dry or red) wine is also ok.

You should avoid: white flour, sweets, sugar, juice, soda, white bread, rice and large amounts of potato. Beer!

Some variations of GI also say you should cut down on the fat and use “light” products. That has been debated a lot. Most people recommend that you eat a fair amount of fat since fat makes you feel full, it also counteracts sugar cravings. “Light” products often contain sugar instead of fat. To only eat food with low GI is hard enough, if you also need to cut down on the fat there’s a risk you’ll give up on it.

You should also avoid most artificial sweeteners; even though they do not contain any calories most sweeteners still trigger the body to produce insulin, which you want to avoid.

To exercise is always a good idea. If you start with the GI diet you don’t need to exercise, however if you were to take a power walk a day, it would definitely make you lose weight faster.
The GI diet is heavily based on research and is well scientifically supported. The GI diet has proven effective in several independent scientific studies.
The GI diet is actually more of a lifestyle than a diet. You learn how to eat differently, you will permanently lose weight and in addition the risk of cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes will be significantly lower.
The disadvantage of the GI diet, as well as other low-carbohydrate diet plans, is that you have to say farewell to sweets, crisps, white bread, beer and soda, for ever. On the other hand, that’s the case with most diets.

Since the GI diet requires that you fundamentally change the way you eat, you need to read a lot so that you learn what food is actually good and which is the food that is bad for you; sometimes it can be tricky to know the GI of food without looking it up. I strongly recommend to buy a book to have at hand. Check out books about the GI diet at Amazon.co.uk.

If you decide to try the diet the easiest way is to join a weight loss club online that focuses on GI where you get a lot of help to both start and complete the diet. These sites usually have recipes, GI-tables, expert advice and help to track what you eat. For example have a look at Tescodiets.com. You could also buy a book about GI if you want to go into depth to make sure you get all the details correct.

Check out books about the GI diet at Amazon.co.uk.

The GI diet is rather simple to follow, but there are still a few “dont’s” that can make it fail. Follow these tips to make your GI-dieting a success:
1. Join an online diet club, for example Tescodiets.com, where you will get help, advice and support.
2. There are a few diet pills that lower the Glycemic Index of the food you eat. That could be helpful when you need to eat high-GI carbs out of courtesy. Pills that do this are for example DEcarb.
3. Remember that when you are on a diet there is a risk of deficiencies. Therefore combine with an effective multivitamin pill.
Do you feel that the GI method is not for you? The GI diet has many followers, but there are alternatives based on similar low-carbohydrate principles: the Atkins diet, the South Beach Diet or the Montignac diet.
Missing a question? Please let me know!
Should eat
  • – wholegrain
  • – wholemeal bread with whole grains
  • – peas
  • – lentils
  • – beans
  • – brown rice
  • – fruit
  • – berries
  • – wholegrain pasta
  • – dairy products
Shouldn’t eat
  • – white bread
  • – sweets
  • – sugar
  • – juice
  • – soda
  • – white bread
  • – large amounts of rice and potato
A good choice if you:

  • – Are prepared to change your eating habits
  • – Don’t have time to exercise
  • – Don’t want a low-calorie diet
  • – Don’t want a truly low-carb diet

GI diet
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