Low GI Diet Plan Guidelines

Low GI Diet PlanSome of you on Facebook (PCOS Diet and PCOS Matters) have been asking for a few more guidelines on which diet to follow. As I mentioned previously, it’s important to pick something and then stick to it. But my recommendation is that you follow a Low GI diet plan (low Glycemic Index) or Low GL diet plan (low Glycemic Load).

What’s the Difference Between Low GI and Low GL

Not much!

Both focus on eating foods that release energy slowly and prevent spikes in your insulin levels. The Glycemic Index was created to show how quickly different foods affect the body’s glucose levels. The Glycemic Load refined this further by concentrating on average portions of each food. Low GI doesn’t take this into account and can therefore exclude some foods as being higher GI.

I’m going to focus on the Low GI guidelines, which are better known. But if you want to refine things further you should read up on Low GL.

GI Numbers

All carbohydrates are given a GI number between 1 and 100 based on how much glucose is released into the bloodstream after consumption. Levels were taken at regular intervals and are based on 50g of the carb in all cases.

Foods with a number of 1 to 55 are considered Low GI, 56-69 is moderate, and 70+ is high GI.

Main Guidelines for a Low-GI Diet Plan

  • Enjoy 3 meals and 2 snacks every day. Don’t get hungry but don’t feel stuffed either. Small regular meals are better than a few large ones.
  • Get the majority of your carbohydrate from fruit and vegetables. These are mainly Low GI. You should aim for 7+ portions of Low GI fruits and vegetables every day.
  • Avoid sugar and refined carbs – especially “white” carbs – like bread, pasta, cakes and pastries. These are usually High GI.
  • In general, wholegrain and unrefined carbs are more likely to release energy slowly. But check their GI value, as many are classed as medium GI and should be eaten in moderation.
  • You can still eat some higher GI foods but make sure you consume them in moderation and combine with Low GI or high protein foods. The general guideline seems to be that for every meal, half of it should have a GI below 50. No component should have a GI above 70.

Mix Things Up and Try New Things

  • Eat more pulses such as lentils, beans and chickpeas. Base your meals around these rather than the higher GI rice or potatoes. These also tend to be higher in good nutrients.
  • Avoid sugary drinks and replace with water, herbal teas and juices. Be careful when choosing fruit juice as many are packed with sugar and can become high-GI when the fruit’s fiber is removed. Experiment with vegetable juice or a mix of fruit and vegetables.
  • Eating Low GI is not an excuse for eating high fat and mega calories. Stick to good fats and lean proteins. Mix up your proteins with oily fish, seafood, eggs and lean meats.
  • If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, make sure you get plenty of protein from a mixture of sources, including quinoa and beans.
  • Dairy products are mainly Low GI and the general guideline is to eat low fat dairy products to ensure you get the necessary calcium. I’m torn on the topic of dairy as most animal dairy (cow’s milk, cheese etc.) contains hormones, traces of antibiotics and other toxins. I would suggest you get as much of your calcium as possible from leafy green vegetables and legumes instead.

These are the general guidelines for a Low-GI diet plan. In the next blog post I’ll include some additional recommendations you might want to follow. If you’re interested in a Low-GI diet then these resources may also help.

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