& DIABETES TYPE 2
are going to talk first about an ealthy Diet that
applies for all people without particular conditions.
Then and afterwards we will examin the nutrition
for people with conditions (Diabetics).
healthy varied diet
Apart from breast feeding, no single food contains all the
essential nutrients for the body needs to be healthy and
function efficiently. The nutritional value of a person's
diet depends on the overall balance of foods that is eaten
over a period of time, as well as on the needs of the individual.
A healthy diet is likely to include a large number or variety
of foods, from each of the food groups, as this allows us
to get all the nutrients that we need.
need energy to live and this is provided by the carbohydrate,
protein and fat in our diets. But the balance between these
nutrients must be right for us to remain healthy. Getting
the right amounts of vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre and
water is also important for health.
what becomes as important as the type of foods we eat, is
the amount and frequency that we include different foods
in our diet. All foods can be part of a healthy diet, so
you don’t have to give up the foods that are a real
treat, as the key message is that it is the overall balance
of foods that is important for health.
can think of all foods as belonging to one of five different
first think about the proportions of these food groups in
diets should be based on bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and
other starchy foods and rich in
fruit and vegetables. A variety of foods from these
two groups should make up two-thirds of the food we eat.
Most of the remaining third of the diet should be made up
of milk and dairy foods, meat, fish, eggs, beans and other
non-dairy sources of protein, with limited amounts of foods
and drinks high in fat and/or sugar.
Starchy foods +
fruit and vegetables = 2/3 of the food we eat.
the rest = 1/3 of the food we eat.
Carb food :
Be aware of your GI index
might be helpful for you to think of your diet as a big
plate, with sections representing the different food groups.
This is the healthy eating model that we use in the UK to
describe a healthy varied diet and it is called the eatwell
plate (above) ; You should aim to achieve this balance every
day, although it is not necessary to achieve it at every
guide is appropriate for most people over the age of two
years, including: vegetarians; people of all ethnic origins;
people who are a healthy weight for their height as well
as those who are overweight; and pregnant women. People
under medical supervision or with special dietary requirements
may want to check with their doctor if this general description
of healthy eating applies to them.
under the age of two years have high energy needs compared
to their size and capacity for food so some of the foods
(especially those low in fat or high in fibre) included
on the eatwell plate are not suitable for them. But between
the ages of two and five years, children can make a gradual
transition towards the type of diet depicted in the eatwell
most healthy people, eating a healthy varied diet will provide
all the vitamins and minerals the body needs. There are
certain times in our lives when we may benefit from taking
supplements, e.g. when you are thinking about having a baby
or when you get older and you need to take a vitamin D supplement.
But you should remember that supplements cannot replace
a healthy diet. Obviously, certified organic foods would
be a better choice for you compare to processed ones. The
Eatwell plate was designed to start with for people with
no conditions or allergies ( gluten , diabete, milk etc
rice, potatoes, pasta and other starchy foods
food group, sometimes referred to as ‘starchy carbohydrates’,
•maize, millet and cornmeal
•potatoes (including low fat oven chips), yams, plantains
and sweet potato – these foods fall into this group,
rather than fruit and vegetables, because they contain starchy
How much should you eat?
of us should EAT MORE!
a third of your food intake on foods from this group, aiming
to include at least one food from this group at each meal
(e.g. potatoes with fish and vegetables; a chicken salad
sandwich; stir-fried vegetables with rice; porridge oats
or wholegrain cereal for breakfast).
eat these foods?
a source of energy
•Fibre: keeps the gut healthy and helps prevent constipation
•Some calcium: required for the development and maintenance
of healthy bones
•Some iron: needed for healthy red blood cells
•B vitamins: e.g. thiamin and niacin – which
help the body use energy efficiently
•Folate: needed for red blood cells
people don’t eat enough starchy foods or fibre. Here
are some helpful tips to boost your intake:
your meals around foods from this group.
•Try to eat more wholegrain or wholemeal breads, bagels,
pastas, chapattis, tortillas and breakfast cereals.
•Choose low fat oven chips rather than fried chips
(oven chips fall into this food group but fried chips don’t).
•Bake potatoes and chips rather than frying
•Avoid adding too much (if any) fat to these foods.
Use lower fat spreads on bread and lower fat milk with cereals.
•Serve naan bread and plenty of rice with curries.
•Try porridge for a healthy and filling breakfast.
Oats are a good source of fibre.
frozen, dried and canned fruit and vegetables all count.
Also, 100% fruit or vegetable juice, pure fruit juice smoothies
and pulses count. Remember that potatoes don't count because
they're a starchy food.
much should you eat?
of us should EAT MORE!
and vegetables should make up about a third of the food
you eat each day. Choose a wide variety and aim to eat at
least 5 different portions a day.
is a portion?
portion is 80g or any of the following:
apple, orange pear or banana or a similar sized fruit
•Half a large grapefruit
•A slice of melon
•1 handful of grapes, cherries or berries
•1 heaped tablespoon of dried fruit (such as raisins
heaped tablespoons of vegetables (raw, cooked, frozen
•1 dessert bowl of mixed salad
or vegetable juices and smoothies
glass (150ml) of 100% fruit or vegetable juice counts
as 1 portion no matter how much you drink (this is because
the juicing process removes most of the fibre from the
•A 150ml smoothie counts as 1 portion but some smoothies
on the market may contain 2 portions if they contain at
least 150ml of fruit juice AND at least 80g of crushed
fruit (or vegetable) pulp.
Look out for the Government’s 5ADAY logo on pre-packed
fruit and vegetables; some food manufacturers have their
eat these foods?
C: needed for healthy skin and body tissues, also to aid
the absorption of iron
•Carotenes: required for growth and development
•Folate: needed for red blood cells
•Fibre: keeps the gut healthy and helps prevent
•Carbohydrate: a source of energy
There is increasing evidence that people who eat lots
of fruit and vegetables have a lower risk of some diseases
such as heart disease and some cancers.
to eat one or two portions with each meal and have the occasional
fruit or vegetable snack and it will be easy to eat at least
5 A DAY.
fruit or chopped vegetables as a snack
•Add dried or fresh fruit to breakfast cereals
•Drink a glass of pure fruit juice with your breakfast
•Have a salad with sandwiches, pasta or with pizza
•Add vegetables or dried fruit to casseroles and
stews, and fruit to desserts
•Remember that it’s important to eat a variety
of different foods so try not to eat the same fruits and
vegetables every day.
and dairy foods
food group includes milk, cheese, yogurt and fromage frais.
Calcium fortified soya alternatives to milk can also be
included. This group does not include butter, eggs and cream
as these fall into other food groups.
much should you eat?
can get all the calcium your body needs from around 3 servings
A serving can be:
•A small (150g) pot of yogurt
•A matchbox size (30g) serving of cheese
Why eat these foods?
foods provide a range of nutrients, including:
needed for development and maintenance of healthy bones
•Zinc: required for tissue growth and repair
•Protein: needed for growth and repair, and also
a source of energy
•Vitamin B12: required for blood cells and nerve
•Vitamin B2: needed for the release of energy from
carbohydrates and protein
•Vitamin A: (in whole milk products) for growth,
development and eyesight
fat content of different dairy products varies a lot and
much of this is saturated fat (referred to as saturates
on food label), which can raise cholesterol and is linked
to heart disease.
fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy sources of protein
food group includes meat, poultry, fish, eggs and other
non-dairy sources of protein.
products include bacon, salami, sausages, beef burgers
•Fish includes frozen, fresh, smoked and canned
fish as well as fish products such as fish fingers and
•Non-dairy sources of protein include nuts, tofu,
mycoprotein, textured vegetable protein (TVP), beans such
as red kidney beans and canned beans and pulses such as
lentils and split peas.
How much should you eat?
types of meat products are high in fat especially saturated
fat, which is linked to heart disease. So, eat moderate
amounts and choose lower fat versions whenever you can.
Why eat these foods?
needed for growth and repair, also a source of energy
•Iron: especially red meat, needed for healthy red
•B Vitamins: especially vitamin B12 (this is found
naturally only in animal sources and is required for blood
cells and nerve function)
•Vitamin D: in meat, required for healthy bones
•Zinc: (e.g. found in meat, shellfish, nuts, pulses
and eggs) required for tissue growth and repair
•Magnesium: (e.g. in nuts, fish and meat) helps
the body use energy. Needed for healthy tissues and bones
•Omega-3 fatty acids: in oily fish, may help protect
against heart disease
NB: The non-dairy sources of protein listed above provide
protein, fibre and iron but are not a rich source of zinc
and generally provide no vitamin B12 (unless fortified)
and drinks high in fat and/or sugar.
following foods are high in fat:
butter and other spreading fats and reduced fat spreads
•Cooking oils and oil-based salad dressings
•Fried foods including fried chips
•Most chocolate, some crisps and biscuits
•Pastries, cake, puddings and ice-cream
•Rich sauces and gravies
following foods are high in sugar:
drinks (not diet drinks)
•Cakes, puddings, biscuits, pastries and ice-cream.
of us should EAT LESS! ALMOST NONE AS A DIABETIC !
in this group should be used sparingly if they are eaten
every day (such as butter and spreads) or not eaten too
often (such as sweets and some crisps). It is essential
to have a small amount of fat in the diet, but remember
that foods containing a lot of fat can be high in calories.
Foods containing high amounts of saturated fat, such as
some foods of animal origin, cakes, biscuits and pastries,
should only be eaten in small amounts.
are two types of essential fats, which must be supplied
by the diet in small amounts: omega-3 fatty acids (found
in oily fish but also present in smaller amounts in food
such as walnuts, omega-3 enriched eggs, and rapeseed and
soya oil) and omega-6 fatty acids (found in vegetable oils
such as sunflower, corn and soya oil and spreads made from
these). Sugar adds flavour and sweetness to foods, but frequent
consumption of sugar-containing foods and drinks is associated
with an increased tendency towards tooth decay especially
in those with poor dental hygiene.
Low Glycemic Pyramid
at the top of the pyramid should be the smallest portion
of your daily diet; foods at the bottom, the largest
portion. Note that the vegetables and fruits that you
choose should be those found on the lower half of the
rice, pasta, bread, and other foods made from grains
should always be from whole grain flour, not refined
flour. Low carb substitutes are generally acceptable.
dairy consists of cheese, unsweetened or sugar-free
yogurt, sour cream, as well as whole milk and cream.
are foods that have small seeds in a pod, such as peanuts,
beans, peas, nuts and soy.
glycemic desserts, such as those sweetened with artificial
and alternative sweeteners, are not included on our
pyramid, since they should only be eaten occasionally,
as a treat, not as an everyday source of nutrients.
glycemic foods are not included, since they should be
is the Glycemic Index?
all carbohydrate foods are created equal, in fact they
behave quite differently in our bodies. The glycemic index
or GI describes this difference by ranking carbohydrates
according to their effect on our blood glucose levels.
Choosing low GI carbs - the ones that produce only small
fluctuations in our blood glucose and insulin levels -
is the secret to long-term health reducing your risk of
heart disease and diabetes and is the key to sustainable
is the difference between glycemic index (GI) and glycemic
Your blood glucose rises and falls when you eat a meal
containing carbs. How high it rises and how long it remains
high depends on the quality of the carbs (the GI) and
the quantity. Glycemic load or GL combines both the quality
and quantity of carbohydrate in one ‘number’.
It’s the best way to predict blood glucose values
of different types and amounts of food. The formula is:
GL = (GI x the amount of carbohydrate) divided by 100.
take a single apple as an example. It has a GI of 40 and
it contains 15 grams of carbohydrate.
GL = 40 x 15/100 = 6 g
about a small baked potato? Its GI is 80 and it contains
15 g of carbohydrate.
GL = 80 x 15/100 = 12 g
we can predict that our potato will have twice the metabolic
effect of an apple. You can think of GL as the amount
of carbohydrate in a food ‘adjusted’ for its
I use GI or GL and does it really matter?
Although the GL concept has been useful in scientific
research, it’s the GI that’s proven most helpful
to people with diabetes. That’s because a diet with
a low GL, unfortunately, can be a ‘mixed bag’,
full of healthy low GI carbs in some cases, but low in
carbs and full of the wrong sorts of fats such as meat
and butter in others. If you choose healthy low GI foods—at
least one at each meal—chances are you’ve
eating a diet that not only keeps blood glucose ‘on
an even keel’, but contains balanced amounts of
carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
We suggest that you think of the GI as a tool allowing
you to choose one food over another in the same food group—the
best bread to choose, the best cereal etc.—and don’t
get bogged down with figures. A low GI diet is about eating
a wide variety of healthy foods that fuel our bodies best—on
the whole these are the less processed and wholesome foods
that will provide you with carbs in a slow release form.
So what’s the take-home message?
slow carbs, not low carbs
- Use the GI to identify your best carbohydrate choices.
- Take care with portion size with carb-rich foods such
as rice or pasta or noodles to limit the overall GL of
I need to eat only low GI foods at every meal to see a
No you don't, because the effect of a low GI food carries
over to the next meal, reducing its glycemic impact. This
applies to breakfast eaten after a low GI dinner the previous
evening or to a lunch eaten after a low GI breakfast.
This unexpected beneficial effect is called the "second
meal effect". But don't take this too far, however.
We recommend that you aim for at least one low GI food
you will benefit from eating low GI carbs at each meal,
this doesn't have to be at the exclusion of all others.
So enjoy baking your own bread or occasional treats. And
if you combine high GI bakery products with protein foods
and low GI carbs such as fruit or legumes, the overall
GI value will be medium.
do many high-fibre foods still have a high GI value?
Dietary fibre is not one chemical constituent like fat
and protein. It is composed of many different sorts of
molecules and can be divided into soluble and insoluble
types. Soluble fibre is often viscous (thick and jelly-like)
in solution and remains viscous even in the small intestine.
For this reason it makes it harder for enzymes to move
around and digest the food. Foods with more soluble fibre,
like apples, oats, and legumes, therefore have low GI
fibre, on the other hand, is not viscous and doesn’t
slow digestion unless it’s acting like a fence to
inhibit access by enzymes (eg. the bran around intact
kernels). When insoluble fibre is finely milled, the enzymes
have free reign, allowing rapid digestion. Wholemeal bread
and white bread have similar GI values. Brown pasta and
brown rice have similar values to their white counterparts.
the GI increase with serving size? If I eat twice as much,
does the GI double?
The GI always remains the same, even if you double the
amount of carbohydrate in your meal. This is because the
GI is a relative ranking of foods containing the "same
amount" of carbohydrate. But if you double the amount
of food you eat, you should expect to see a higher blood
glucose response - ie, your glucose levels will reach
a higher peak and take longer to return to baseline compared
with a normal serve.
testing continued long enough, wouldn't you expect the
areas under the curve to become equal, even for very high
and very low GI foods?
Many people make the assumption that since the amount
of carbohydrate in the foods is the same, then the areas
under the curve will finally be the same. This is not
the case because the body is not only absorbing glucose
from the gut into the bloodstream, it is also extracting
glucose from the blood. Just as a gentle rain can be utilised
better by the garden than a sudden deluge, the body can
metabolise slowly digested food better than quickly digested
carbohydrate. Fast-release carbohydrate causes "flooding"
of the system and the body cannot extract the glucose
from the blood fast enough. Just as water levels rise
quickly after torrential rain, so do glucose levels in
the blood. But the same amount of rain falling over a
long period can be absorbed into the ground and water
levels do not rise.
Why doesn't the GI of beef, chicken, fish, tofu,
eggs, nuts, seeds, avocadoes, many fruits (including berries)
and vegetables, wine, beer and spirits appear on the GI
These foods contain no carbohydrate, or so little that
their GI cannot be tested according to the standard methodology.
Bear in mind that the GI is a measure of carbohydrate
quality. Essentially, these types of foods, eaten alone,
won't have much effect on your blood glucose levels.
vegetables like pumpkin and parsnips appear to have a
high GI. Does this mean a person with diabetes should
avoid eating them?
Definitely not, because, unlike potatoes and cereal products,
these vegetables do not contain a lot of carbohydrate.
So, despite their high GI, their glycemic load (GI x carb
per serve divided by 100) is medium. These vegetables
contain loads of micronutrients and can be consumed as
part of a healthy balanced meal.
you tell me the GI of alcoholic beverages (beer, wine
Alcoholic beverages contain very little carbohydrate.
In fact, most wines and spirits contain virtually none,
although beer contains some (3 or 4 grams per 100 mL).
A middy of beer (10 ounces) contains about 10 grams of
carbohydrate compared with 36 grams in the same volume
of soft drink. For this reason, a beer will raise glucose
levels slightly. If you drink beer in large volumes (not
a great idea) then you could expect it to have a more
significant effect on blood glucose. As for enjoying an
occasional drink, researchers from the University of Sydney
found that a pre-dinner drink tends to produce a 'priming'
effect, flicking the switch from internal to external
sources of fuel and keeping blood-sugar levels low.
does some variability occur in the GI for the same food
The GI database confirms the reproducibility of GI results
around the world. White and wholemeal bread, apples, breakfast
cereals etc give the same results wherever/whoever tests
them. Where there is variability, there are four possible
GI testing groups are not as experienced/accurate as
ours. They use venous blood which gives more variability
than capillary blood. If we test a product over and
over again, we get the same result +/- 5%. That's as
good as nutrient data such as protein, fat, fibre etc.
variability among different types of potatoes, rices,
and oats is REAL. They contain different types of starch
(amylose, amylopectin) and that affects the degree of
starch gelatinisation. When it comes to sugars like
fructose, the concentration of the solution makes a
difference to the rate of gastric emptying and therefore
the glycemic response. A more dilute solution, say 25
g fructose in 500 mL water will have a higher GI than
25 g fructose in 250 mL. But fructose has a very low
GI whichever way you consume it.
the manufacturer may change the formulation of their
product by reducing the fat content for example. Reducing
the fat can increase the GI. Manufacturers may have
their products retested if they make significant changes
to the formulation, or source ingredients from different
foods have been tested in people with type 2 diabetes.
These values may be higher than that seen in the normal
population. Follow the food links in the GI database
to find more information on the testing conditions.
Why does pasta have a low GI?
Pasta has a low GI because of the physical entrapment of
ungelatinised starch granules in a sponge-like network of
protein (gluten) molecules in the pasta dough. Pasta is
unique in this regard. As a result, pastas of any shape
and size have a fairly low GI (30 to 60). Asian noodles
such as hokkein, udon and rice vermicelli also have low
to intermediate GI values.
should be cooked al dente ('firm to the bite'). And this
is the best way to eat pasta - it's not meant to be soft.
It should be slightly firm and offer some resistance when
you are chewing it. Overcooking boosts the GI. Although
most manufacturers specify a cooking time on the packet,
don't take their word for it. Start testing about 2-3
minutes before the indicated cooking time is up. But watch
that glucose load. While al dente pasta is a low GI choice,
eating too much will have a marked effect on your blood
glucose. A cup of al dente pasta combined with plenty
of mixed vegetables and herbs can turn into three cups
of a pasta-based meal and fits easily into any adult's
breads and potatoes have a high GI. Does this mean I should
never eat them?
Potatoes and bread, despite their high GI, can play a
major role in a high carb/low fat diet, even if your goal
is to reduce the overall GI. Only about half the carbohydrate
needs to be exchanged from high to low GI to derive health
benefits. Of course, some types of bread and potatoes
have a lower GI and these should be preferred in order
to lower the GI as much as possible.
good news for potato lovers is that a potato salad made
the day before, tossed with a vinaigrette dressing and
kept in the fridge will have a much lower GI than potatoes
served steaming hot from the pot. There are a couple of
simple reasons for this. The cold storage increases the
potatoes' resistant starch content by more than a third
and the acid in the vinaigrette whether you make it with
lemon juice, lime juice or vinegar will slow stomach emptying.
about flour? If I make my own bread (or dumplings, pancakes,
muffins etc) which flours, if any, are low GI? What about
sprouted grain breads?
To date there are no GI ratings for refined flour whether
it's made from wheat, soy or other grains. This is because
The GI rating of a food must be tested physiologically
that is in real people. So far we haven't had volunteers
willing to tuck into 50 gram portions of flour on three
occasions! What we do know, however, is that bakery products
such as scones, cakes, biscuits, donuts and pastries made
from highly refined flour whether it's white or wholemeal
are quickly digested and absorbed.
should you do with your own baking? Try to increase the
soluble fibre content by partially substituting flour
with oat bran, rice bran or rolled oats and increase the
bulkiness of the product with dried fruit, nuts, muesli,
All-Bran or unprocessed bran. Don't think of it as a challenge.
It's an opportunity for some creative cooking.
made from sprouted grains might well have a lower blood-glucose
raising ability than bread made from normal flour. When
grains begin to sprout, carbohydrates stored in the grain
are used as the fuel source for the new shoot. Chances
are that the more readily available carbs stored in the
wheat grain will be used up first, thereby reducing the
amount of carbs in the final product. Furthermore, if
the whole kernel form of the wheat grain is retained in
the finished product, it will have the desired effect
of lowering the blood glucose level.
high fat foods have a low GI. Doesn't this give a falsely
favourable impression of that food?
Yes it does, especially if the fat is saturated fat. The
GI value of potato chips or french fries is lower than
baked potatoes. Large amounts of fat in foods tends to
slow the rate of stomach emptying and therefore the rate
at which foods are digested. Yet the saturated fat in
these foods will contribute to a much increased risk of
heart disease. It is important to look at the type of
fat in foods rather than avoid it completely. Good fats
are found in foods such as avocadoes, nuts and legumes
while saturated fats are found in dairy products, cakes
and biscuits. We'd all be better off if we left the cakes
and biscuits for special occasions.
not just adopt a low carbohydrate diet (like the Atkins
diet) to keep my blood glucose levels and weight down?
Recent studies show that low carb diets such as the Atkins
diet produce faster rates of weight loss than conventional
low fat diets. The probable mechanism is lower day-long
insulin levels - allowing greater use of fat as the source
of fuel - the same mechanism underlying the success of
low GI diets. We believe that low carb diets are unnecessarily
restrictive (bread, potato, rice, grains and most fruits
are restricted) and may spell trouble in the long term
if saturated fat takes the place of carbohydrate. Low
GI diets strike a happy medium between low fat and low
carb diets - you can have your carbs, but must choose
there a GI plan for nursing mothers?
A low GI diet is ideal while you are breastfeeding. Breastfeeding
requires a lot of energy and theoretically this additional
energy comes from the body fat laid down during pregnancy.
Of course in reality it doesn't all get used up and most
have to make a concerted effort to work off the baby weight.
To do this though it is important that you don't go on
a low calorie diet or any sort of extreme measure such
as the low carb diets popular in the press. Since breastfeeding
tends to increase your appetite (the body's way of ensuring
you have the energy required to produce milk) this is
good news as staying on such a diet would be a nightmare!
This is what makes the low GI approach so successful -
forget about trying to count calories or even your portions
and foremost focus on the sorts of foods you are eating.
Low GI foods are the wholegrains, fresh fruit and vegetables
and legumes. By eating these foods as the mainstay of
your meals you can trust your appetite and eat to satisfaction
while you are breastfeeding. Also get back to some exercise
- even if it's just a daily walk with the pram/carriage.
You should then find that the weight slowly starts to
shift - realistically give yourself at least that first
six months to get back to your pre-pregnancy weight.
relevant is the GI for athletes?
The GI can be a useful tool to help athletes select the
right type of carbohydrates to consume both before and
after exercise. Studies have consistently reported that
a low GI pre-exercise meal results in a better maintenance
of blood glucose concentrations during exercise and a
higher rate of fat oxidation. This is likely to result
in reduced muscle glycogen utilisation during prolonged
exercise and possibly improve endurance performance. Eating
high GI meals before exercise may result in plasma glucose
concentrations peaking before the onset of exercise and
then hypoglycemia occurring within the first 30 minutes
of the exercise period. There is little data available
on the effect of the GI of carbohydrates eaten before
intermittent, power or strength related sports.
recovery from exercise, muscle glycogen resynthesis is
of high metabolic priority. The eating of high GI carbohydrates
after exercise increases plasma glucose and insulin concentrations
and this facilitates muscle glycogen resynthesis. If however,
you are exercising for weight loss purposes or are involved
in weight restricted sports, low GI carbohydrates after
exercise may be more beneficial as the lower glucose and
insulin concentrations will not suppress fat.
have recently been diagnosed with celiac disease (gluten
sensitivity). It's extremely hard to find both low GI
and wheat-free foods. Any suggestions?
This is not as hard as you may think! There are low GI
gluten-free foods in four of the five food groups.
climate fruits - apples, pears, citrus (oranges, grapefruit)
and stone fruits (peaches, plums, apricots) - all have
low GI values.
fruits - pineapple, paw paw, papaya, rockmelon and watermelon
tend to have higher GI values, but their glycemic load
(GL) is low because they are low in carbohydrate.
Leafy green and salad vegetables have so little carbohydrate
that we can't test their GI. Even in generous serving
sizes they will have no effect on your blood glucose
carb starchy vegetables include sweet corn (which is
actually a cereal grain), potato, sweet potato, taro
and yam, so watch the portion sizes with these. Most
potatoes tested to date have a high GI, so if you are
a big potato eater, try to replace some with lower GI
starchy alternatives such as sweet corn, yam or legumes.
Pumpkin, carrots, peas, parsnips and beetroot contain
some carbohydrate, but a normal serving size contains
so little that it won't raise your blood glucose levels
for breads made from chickpea or legume based flours.
For example chapattis made with besan (chickpea flour)
have a low GI.
you make your own bread, try adding buckwheat kernels,
rice bran and psyllium husks to lower the GI. Most gluten-free
breads seem to be better toasted than used to make sandwiches.
Breakfast cereals containing pysllium husks are likely
to have a lower GI - you could also add a teaspoon or
two of pysllium to you usual cereal. To date there are
just a few gluten-free breakfast cereals on our database
that have a low GI. If you do have a higher GI gluten-free
cereal, combine it with lots of fruit and low fat yoghurt
or low fat milk, to lower the GI.
are a great stand-by for quick meals, a good source
of carbohydrate, provide some protein, B vitamins and
minerals and will help to keep blood glucose levels
on an even keel. There are several low GI gluten-free
options available fresh and dried: buckwheat (soba)
noodles; cellophane noodles, also known as Lungkow bean
thread noodles or green bean vermicelli, are made from
mung bean flour; rice noodles made from ground or pounded
rice flour, are available fresh and dried.
pastas based on rice and corn (maize) tend to have moderate
to high GI values so opt for pastas made from legumes
or soy. As for wholegrains, try buckwheat, quinoa, low
GI varieties of rice such as basmati and sweet corn.
Currently there are no published values for amaranth,
sorghum, and tef. Millet has a high GI.
refined flour products and starches irrespective of
their fat and sugar content such as crispy puffed breakfast
cereals, crackers, biscuits, rolls, most breads and
cakes or snack foods. Limit high GI snacks such as corn
and potato chips, rice cakes, corn thins and rice crackers.
(pulses) including beans, chickpeas and lentils
When you add legumes to meals and snacks, you reduce
the overall GI of your diet because your body digests
them slowly. So make the most of beans, chickpeas, lentils,
and whole and split dried peas.
also our page
on Diabete and Wholegrains
nuts are high in fat (averaging around 50 per cent), it
is largely unsaturated, so they make a healthy substitute
for foods such as biscuits, cakes, pastries, potato chips
and chocolate. They also contain relatively little carbohydrate,
so most do not have a GI value. Peanuts (actually a legume)
and cashews have very low GI values.
fat dairy foods and calcium-enriched soy products
fat milk, yoghurt and ice-cream or soy alternatives provide
sustained energy, boosting your calcium intake but not
your saturated fat intake. Check the labels of yoghurts,
icecream and soymilks as many contain wheat-based thickeners.
If lactose intolerance is a problem, reach for live cultured
yoghurts and lactose-hydrolysed milks. Even ice-cream
can be enjoyed if you ingest a few drops of lactase enzyme
a low GI diet suitable for vegetarians?
The low GI diet is just as easy for a vegetarian to follow
- in fact, teaching vegetarians to follow the low GI diet
can be easier because most are eating many of the best
low GI foods already. For the vegetarian, the same principles
apply: substitute your plant protein sources for the meat.
Eat more beans, lentils and other legumes - all among
the lowest GI foods we have tested. Quorn is also a great
meat substitute with no GI as it has almost no carbohydrate
(2 g/100 g).
GI only applies to foods containing significant amounts
of carbohydrate. Most vegetables have small amounts
of carbohydrate and those that provide more usually
have a low GI, with the exception of potatoes. You can
therefore tuck into your veggies without considering
the GI for every one - and benefit from antioxidants
and all the micronutrients they supply!
Legumes should be a daily part of any vegetarian diet
for your protein - happily these are also a mainstay
of a low GI diet.
Almost every low GI food we talk about in the book is
suitable as part of a vegetarian diet. Animal products
are usually high in fat, protein or both and therefore
do not have a GI.
The range of protein and carb intake that is healthy
is fairly broad - as a vegetarian you will inevitable
have a higher carb intake and slightly lower protein
intake. This makes the GI important for you but easy
to adapt if you choose wholegrain cereal products and
legumes as your carbohydrate base.
Coffee has no carbohydrate (unless you add sugar and/or
milk and the GI response comes from these foods) and
hence it is not in the GI tables. Neither does it contain
calories so has little impact on weight control.