a low-GI diet
• Eat lots of vegetables
and choose whole
grains (brown bread,
pasta and rice)
instead of refined and
• Stock your cupboard
with low-GI items such
as beans, nuts, seeds
and low-GI cereals and
• To satisfy a sweet
craving, eat fresh fruit
(berries, apples, pears)
or dark chocolate.
• Add cinnamon to cereals
and breakfast shakes,
as it has been shown to
help improve the action of
insulin to promote better
blood sugar control.
JUPI TER IMAGES
• Always include a lean
protein and a healthy fat
in every meal, because
that helps lower the
• For optimal energy and
blood sugar control, eat
small, frequent meals
throughout the day.
• Enjoy a wide variety of
different foods, but be
aware of portion size.
Overeating and consuming more than your
body needs can lead to
• Alcohol is loaded with
empty calories, so limit
your intake to no more
than two glasses per day
(red wine is best because
of the antioxidants).
• Exercise is absolutely
critical for weight loss
and optimum health. Aim
for 30 minutes to one hour
activity each day.
• The right supplement can
help control blood sugar,
prevent fat storage, boost
metabolism and curb
your appetite. One easily
accessible supplement is
green tea, which offers a
number of health benefits,
such as lowering cholesterol and blood pressure,
protecting against certain
cancers, blocking bacteria
and viruses, improving
digestion and helping to
support weight loss.—ST
By Sherry Torkos
PEOPLE WHO SPEND the winter
hibernating and eating comfort foods are
faced with the sometimes uncomfortable prospect
of donning their shorts and bathing suits when
spring and summer arrive. Luckily, there is a new
weapon in the battle of the bulge; it’s called the glycemic index (GI).
Following a low-GI diet is a healthy way of eating that can support weight loss, increase energy and
vitality, and, in the long term, reduce the risk of diabetes and other chronic health problems. While it
does not offer a quick weight-loss fix, a low-GI diet
can help you slim down and revitalize for summer.
Introduced in the 1980s by a Canadian
researcher, Dr. David Jenkins, the GI is a system of
ranking all forms of carbohydrates on a scale of
zero to 100 based on how they affect blood sugar
levels and consequently insulin levels.
Foods that are slowly broken down into sugar
during digestion and do not cause sudden blood
sugar spikes are ranked low on the GI and provide
sustained energy for the body. Examples of low-GI foods include green leafy vegetables, most
beans, apples, pears, berries, oat bran and pumpernickel bread, brown rice and pasta, plain yogurt
and dark chocolate.
Foods that are rapidly broken down into sugar,
causing sudden blood sugar spikes, are ranked high
on the GI and provide bursts of energy followed by
periods of fatigue. Examples of high-GI foods
include baked potatoes and French fries, white
rice, sugar-rich candy and soda pop, and products made with refined white flour products,
such as white bread, bagels and crackers,
and most pastries and doughnuts.
Eating high-GI meals causes blood sugar
to rise rapidly. When blood sugar and insulin
levels are high, the body stores more fat,
particularly around the belly. In
response to high blood sugar, the pancreas overproduces insulin, causing
blood sugar levels to drop low. When
blood sugar is low, you feel tired and
sleepy and have more cravings.
This vicious circle of unhealthy food cravings
and fat storage can be stopped with a low-GI diet.
The first step is to learn the difference between low-and high-GI foods. Visit www.glycemicindex.com for
a comprehensive list of foods and their GI rating. As
much as possible, choose low- or moderate-GI
foods and avoid high-GI foods.
A low-GI diet can be easily implemented (see
tips sidebar) without having to buy separate food or
cook separate meals; it poses no health risks, making
it a safe and smart choice for men and women, children and teenagers, pregnant women and nursing
moms, seniors and those with existing health concerns such as heart disease and diabetes.
Taking the time and effort to spring into shape
with the low-GI diet, combined with regular exercise
and smart supplementation, will yield a better outcome than the temporary results of a fad diet. C
Sherry Torkos, B.Sc.Phm., is a pharmacist, certified
fitness instructor and the author of nine books,
including The Glycemic Index Made Simple
(Wiley, 2007) and her latest book, The Canadian
Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Wiley, 2007),
available at Costco.