About glycemic index (low GI)
The glycemic index is a measure of the ability of carbohydrates to increase blood glucose levels when absorbed in the body. Food with a low-glycemic index (LGI) causes blood glucose levels to increase more slowly and to lower levels compared to high-carbohydrate foods with a high glycemic index
Drastic increases in blood glucose levels give rise to several potentially undesirable effects that can influence the body's metabolism as well as our ability to perform mentally. It is therefore most appropriate to maintain a diet that results in slow digestion and thus more stable blood glucose levels and greater satiety.
A diet with a high protein content contains many protein-rich foods such as lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs and low-fat dairy products. Legumes also contain high levels of protein, as do nuts and almonds. Proteins are significantly more filling than both carbohydrates and fat.
Special requirements for a low-glycemic diet
The glycemic index applies to carbohydrate-containing foods. The recommendations are that some types of fruit may be consumed ad libitum, such as apples, pears, oranges, raspberries and strawberries. Other types should be eaten in only very limited amounts, including bananas (especially overripe bananas), grapes, kiwi, pineapple and melon. Nearly all vegetables are permitted, with the exception of corn, which should be limited. Carrots, beets and parsnip should preferably be eaten raw.
With regard to cereal-based foods (bread, grain, corn, hulled grains and breakfast products), the goal is to eat as many coarse and wholegrain foods as possible, i.e. wholegrain breads with many kernels, wholegrain pasta, whole oats and the special varieties of wholegrain cornflakes
Potatoes should be cooked as little as possible. Try to stick to new potatoes, and it is a good idea to eat them cold. Avoid mashed potatoes and baked potatoes.
Pasta should be cooked al dente and is best eaten cold.
Choose rice varieties such as brown rice, parboiled rice or basmati.
White bread without kernels, white rice and sugary breakfast products should be avoided. In general, sugar intake should be limited, not so much because of its GI but to avoid all those ‘empty calories'.
Recommended GI values:
Over 70 - high GI
55-70 - medium GI
Under 55 - low GI
High-GI foods can still be healthy and vice versa. Carrots, for instance, have a high GI (72), while chocolate has a low GI (49). Fats help decrease the absorption of sugar in the blood, which means that carbohydrate-containing foods and fat can have a low GI.
Example of a day's menu for a high-protein, low-GI diet
If you want to maintain a high-protein, low-GI diet, daily meals could be composed as follows:
Breakfast: Low-fat A38 with muesli (without added sugar), wholegrain crispbread with low-fat cheese, an orange
Morning: Vegetable sticks and low-fat cheese sticks
Lunch: Wholegrain rye bread with lean meat or chicken cold cuts, mackerel in tomato sauce and misc. vegetables
Afternoon: Wholegrain rye bread with low-fat liver pâté and cucumber
Dinner: Stir-fried turkey with vegetables and wholegrain pasta; avocado salad with feta cheese and sugar peas
It is best to drink water or low-fat milk with meals.
To sum up, there is nothing particular about this diet with the exception of the above-mentioned limitations, special cooking instructions and the fact that certain vegetables should be eaten raw. This diet generally complies with the official dietary recommendations of eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, low-fat foods, plenty of fibre and limiting sugar intake.