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With the ever increasing awareness about fitness and the importance of maintaining healthy body weight, more and more people are inclined towards weight loss diets such as the 7 day weight loss GM diet meal plan and others. But in most cases, diabetic patients are not able to follow such quick weight loss diet plans because they are mainly based on fruits and juices. So, what should be the ideal diet for weight loss for diabetic patients? Well, a balanced low glycemic diet is the best way to lose weight and manage blood glucose levels in a healthy way. This low GI diet is not only beneficial for diabetic patients but also for all the health conscious people out there.
What is GI (Glycemic Index)?
Before moving on with our Low GI Diet, let us understand what GI stands for and its meaning. GI or glycemic index is the measurement that is carried out on carbohydrate-containing foods and their effect on the blood sugar level. GI measurement goes beyond the measurement of carbohydrates (sugar and starches) in foods and shows the impact that a particular food has on blood glucose level.
The majority of foods we eat contain carbohydrates, and more specifically, foods like white bread, potatoes, sugary treats, biscuits and cakes contain simple carbohydrates. While these foods are tasty and easy to consume, they usually react adversely in our body and put the system out of balance, which results in problems such as sugar cravings, mood swings, fatigue and increased risk of chronic diseases in future. Planning your diet based on the glycemic index of foods will help you to stop this confusion and help your body to restore the balance.
Difference between High GI Foods and Low GI Foods
Our body requires a lot of energy to function in an effective manner and deal with the strains of everyday work. The energy comes from the fuel in the form of a sugar known as glucose, which is made from carbohydrates (starch and sugars) found in foods. Glucose is produced in the liver after the foods have been digested in the stomach. The glucose thus produced is supplied to the cells of the body where they are either used immediately for walking, running or exercising or stored in the muscles for later use. The same process repeats for every food whether it’s a plate of salad or a crate of cupcakes. But different foods affect the speed of this function and the glycemic index is the measurement of this speed.
Foods with high GI index or high GI foods are transformed more rapidly to glucose whereas foods with low GI index or low GI foods are converted more slowly and gradually to glucose.
What Goes Wrong with High Glycemic Index Foods?
Foods with high glycemic index are rapidly converted into glucose, and it is released into the blood stream. Here, the hormone insulin comes into play. When glucose from foods is released into the blood stream, insulin makes sure that it is taken and utilized where it is needed. In case of low GI foods, glucose is released slowly into the bloodstream, and moderate level of insulin is released by the pancreas, and the body gets enough time to decide where to send the glucose for its optimum use. But, in case of high GI foods, high levels of glucose rush into the blood stream and the body panics because too much glucose at once can be harmful to the body. In order to compensate for the high glucose level, the body releases high levels of insulin which readily transfers the glucose to fat stores.
If this continues to happen after each and every meal, then it can lead to weight gain and turn the cells insulin resistant – which is the first step towards diabetes. By opting for a low GI diet, you can prevent this damaging process and protect your heart and skin and promote weight loss.
Sample Low GI Meal Plan for Weight Loss Along with Tasty Recipes
Here we have presented a sample Low GI meal plan along with some quick and healthy recipes. These recipes can also be included in other diet plans such as the 1200 calorie meal plan.
The significance of a healthy and hearty breakfast for losing weight in a healthy way needs no new emphasis. It provides energy to keep up running throughout the day. A quick and simple banana and yogurt smoothie is one of the best breakfast ideas for losing weight must be included in the diabetic weight loss diet.
Banana and Yogurt Smoothie
All you need is a small banana, 150 ml low-fat natural yogurt, 200 ml skimmed milk and few drops of vanilla essence. Pour all the components in a food processor, blend until smooth and serve in a tall glass.
For all you busy bodies out there, lunch doesn’t have to be a sandwich and soda. Here, we have presented some quick and healthy soup and salad recipes that can be prepared in a jiffy.
Mixed Vegetable Soup
- 1 Sweet Potato
- 450 gms of mixed vegetables (peas, beans, asparagus)
- 2 tablespoons chopped mint
- 1-liter vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- salt and pepper
Procedure – Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and sauté the chopped vegetables, then add the mint and vegetable stock and bring it to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Blend the contents of the pan in the food processor until its smooth. Transfer it back to the pan, add salt and pepper, mix well and enjoy hot.
Creamy Cauliflower Soup
This is a delicious and creamy soup that can be enjoyed with multigrain bread.
- 1 teaspoon oil
- 1 chopped onion
- 2 crushed garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/4th cauliflower cut into florets
- 1 chopped sweet potato
- 250 ml vegetable stock
- 250 ml milk
- chopped fresh coriander
- salt and pepper
Procedure – Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the onions, cumin seeds, garlic and fry for 3 minutes, now add the cauliflower, sweet potato, vegetable stock and milk and bring to boil, simmer for 15 minutes. Transfer the contents of the pan to a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Add the salt and pepper; mix well and sprinkle coriander on the top.
Chicken and Vegetable Salad
The delicious and healthy chicken salad is an integral part of the high protein low GI diet that you can make while on the run. It also contains the goodness of sprouts, and we are well aware of the amazing bean sprout benefits.
- 200 gms carrots grated coarsely
- 200 gms white cabbage shredded
- 2 boneless and skinless chicken breasts boiled and sliced
- 100 g bean sprouts
- For the Dressing:
- 1 tablespoon peanut butter
- 2 tablespoon coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped coriander
- Whole grain bread slices to serve
Procedure – Mix all the ingredients of the salad in a large mixing bowl and whisk all the dressing ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad, mix well and serve with toasted whole grain bread slices.
The last meal of the day should include some healthy starches, proteins, and fiber so that it can keep your full through the night. The low GI diet for diabetes patients is not only delicious and interesting, but also quite flexible.
Prawns with Basmati Rice
We Indians can live without our staple food – rice and, therefore, we have included rice in one meal of the day.
- 200 grams tiger prawns peeled
- 2 crushed garlic cloves
- 2 red chillies finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon oil
- juice of 1 lime
- 25 grams basmati rice rinsed
- 2 tablespoons creamed coconut
Procedure – Add garlic, chillies, coriander, oil and lime juice in a blender and make a paste. Pour it over the prawns and cover them with the paste and set aside. Add the rice to a saucepan and boil with enough water and cook till the rice is tender and fluffy. Meanwhile cook the prawns in a frying pan for 2 to 3 minutes until they turn pink, add the coconut cream, water and bring to boil, and simmer for 2 minutes add salt as per taste. Serve the prawns with the rice.
Baked Salmon Fillets
Oily fishes such as salmon are loaded with omega 3 fatty acids that are not only beneficial for improving heart health but also neutralizing the inflammation caused by diabetes. This delightful salmon recipe can be enjoyed with boiled sweet potatoes or steamed vegetable salad.
- 4 pieces of skinless salmon fillets
- 2 spring onions shredded
- 1 lemon cut into thin slices
- a few basil leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
Procedure – Place each of the fillets on a 25 cm square of foil and top with lemon slices. Mix all the other ingredients and put them on the salmon fillets. Fold each foil and enclose properly and place them in a preheated oven – 200°C (400°F). Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.
Tomato Pasta with Tofu
This is yet another delicious and healthy diabetes weight loss dinner recipe that can be included in the low GI diet. Tofu is one of the potential natural sources of protein that is essential for promoting weight loss and enhancing lean muscle mass in the body.
- 80 grams whole wheat pasta
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 60 grams firm tofu cut into bite-sized cubes
- 8 cherry tomatoes
- a handful of basil leaves
- 1 crushed garlic clove
- salt and pepper as per taste
Procedure – Cook the pasta in a saucepan of boiling water and drain the excess water. Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the tofu and fry for 4 minutes; mix all the remaining ingredients together and toss through the pasta and tofu. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot.
Some Healthy Low Glycemic Index Foods
- Bread – wholegrain bread, soya bread, rye bread
- Cereals – Unsweetened and unflavoured barn cereal, traditional porridge oats
- Grains – Barley, buckwheat, quinoa, millet
- Pasta and Noodles – Durum wheat pasta, noodles made from beans
- Potatoes – Sweet potato, New potatoes
- Snacks – Nuts, seeds, yogurt, fruits, dark chocolate
- Fruits – Lime, lemon, strawberry, apricot, grapefruit, cantaloupe, guava, nectarine, orange, pear, peach, apple, pineapple, kiwi
- Vegetables – Artichoke, asparagus, bell peppers, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, green beans, lettuce, mushrooms, onions,
- Beans and Pulses – chickpeas, lentils, navy beans, split beans, pinto beans, white beans
10 Compelling Reasons to Switch to Low GI Foods
Here are a few reasons that will persuade you to shift from high GI foods to low GI foods permanently.
- Beneficial for the Heart – As per research conducted at Harvard University, those who consume a high quantity of refined carbohydrates have 10% less good cholesterol in the blood stream. Intake of low GI foods increases the level of good HDL cholesterol in the blood stream and helps to keep the heart healthy.
- Reduce the Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease and Heart Problems – High levels of homocysteine are directly linked to heart problems; and it also increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease later in life. But some simple measures such as replacing white rice and white flour with whole grains can help in reducing the levels of homocysteine dramatically.
- Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer – A diet rich in high GI foods increases the chances of breast cancer by triggering the release of high levels of insulin and insulin-like growth hormones that encourages the growth and multiplication of breast cancer cells.
- Boost Weight Loss – This one of the biggest advantages of shifting to a low GI diet which is not just a diet for diabetic patients. Eating low GI foods increases the intake of fiber as well which is a contributing factor in making a food low GI. Increased fiber intake boosts weight loss by keeping you satiated for a longer time, preventing unhealthy food cravings and removing fat calories out if the system.
- Younger Looking Skin – One of the major reasons for skin aging, wrinkles and sagging skin is the loss of collagen and elastin fiber from the skin that keeps it firm and supple. Refined carbohydrates present in high GI foods trigger skin inflammation and affect the structure of collagen and elastin. You can stop skin aging and keep your skin looking youthful and supple by cutting out sugary foods from your diet.
- Reduce Oily Skin – Controlling the production of insulin in the body is the best solution to the problem of how to reduce oily skin naturally. High insulin levels promote the release of high levels of androgens in the system that triggers sebum production and leads to acne and pimple breakouts.
- Reduce the Risk of Diabetes – According to the records of World Health Organization, the number of people suffering from diabetes will become twofold by the year 2030. Opting for a low GI diet could reduce the number of potential sufferers. A low GI diet for diabetes patients also aids existing patients to manage their blood glucose level in a more effective manner. It also helps to keep the blood glucose levels more stable.
- Reduce the Risk of Stroke – Switching to a low-GI diet also reduces the risk of stroke. Research at Harvard University shows that women who replaced just one serving of refined carbohydrates with whole grains reduced the risk of stroke by 40%.
- Boost the Immune System – Consumption of sugary foods affects immune power. Average white blood cells destroy approximately 14 germs per hour, but when exposed to 100 gms of sugar the number falls to 1.4 germs per hour. Therefore, switching to low GI foods helps to maintain healthy functioning of the immune system and cuts out ailments like flu, colds, and fever.
- Enhance Endurance – Most exercisers have the misconception that they require high sugar bursts to energize their bodies, but in reality, opting for a low GI diet on a daily basis through training programs helps to increase stamina and endurance so that they can maximize their performance.
Rules of Eating High Glycemic Index Foods
Shifting to a low GI diet does not mean that you have to give up all your favorite high GI foods forever. You just need to follow a few rules when you consume high GI foods.
- Be careful about the portion size when you eat high GI foods and try to eat only a small portion. The more you eat high GI foods, the more amounts of glucose will be produced.
- Accompany a serving of high GI food with two servings of low GI foods of the same or larger quantity in order to reduce the average GI of the meal. One accompanying food can be protein, and the other once can be a serving of fruit or vegetables.
- Avoid consuming more than one high GI food or two medium GL foods in one day so that your body can get back into balance.
- Add some acidic food to your meal because acid added to high GI foods slows down its conversion into glucose.
- Healthy servings for some common high GI foods are as follows:
- Potatoes – 100 gms
- Rice – 25 gms uncooked
- Bread – 1 to 2 slices
- Breakfast cereals – 25 gms
- Root Vegetables – 100 gms
So, now that you have some idea of what is a low GI diet and how to plan it, replace those unhealthy refined carbohydrates with healthy complex carbohydrates and whole grains and promote weight loss in a healthy way while maintaining your blood glucose level effectively.