I am 53 and not overweight, but I constantly feel tired and run down. And my mood can get low at times. Would low GI eating be of benefit to me? My doctor says I am healthy, I am just going through menopause. I do weight training and I am trying to walk more. I have a sister who is diabetic with high blood pressure and a sister and brother with high cholesterol. I don’t want to end up with these problems which seem to run in the family. I want to have a healthy middle to older age.
The Low GI Diet co-author, Joanna McMillan-Price says: ‘Yes we do believe a low GI diet would benefit you enormously. Carbohydrate-rich foods have been shown to be important in brain function and in improving mood, while low GI carbohydrates specifically can help you to maintain constant energy levels over the course of the day. They also help keep cholesterol levels down and there is increasing evidence to show they play an important role in preventing diabetes. Since you are also doing a moderate amount of exercise you will find that you need your carbs to keep you going. All up therefore a low GI diet sounds perfect for you. A low GI diet is not just important for those who need to lose weight, but for all of us for good health. The only difference will be in the quantity of food that you eat. Make sure you focus on consuming as many healthy foods as possible and use the GI as a tool to choose the best quality carbohydrates. You can use the database on our website www.glycemicindex.com to search specific foods or look to one of the Glucose Revolution books for more advice on how to put a low GI diet into practice. Since you don’t need to lose weight, perhaps Low GI Eating Made Easy is the one for you. Best of luck!’
Does it matter if you eat less protein than is recommended in the 12-week action plan on The Low GI Diet? A man of my husband's weight is supposed to eat 8 carb, 8 protein and 4 high fat serves. There’s only so much protein you can jam into a roll at lunch time so I’m having trouble fitting enough into the earlier part of his day. Do you have any suggestions on easy to make/handle high protein nibbles he can munch in the afternoon so he won't be tempted to go back to eating hot chips?
Joanna says: ‘Don’t get too caught up on trying to measure exact portions of carbs, protein and fat – it is there as a guide only. We recommend an increase in your protein intake in order to help in eating less overall – this is because protein foods are known to be satiating and keep you full and satisfied for longer. If your husband is not finding he is hungry between meals then his protein intake is absolutely fine. Remember the most essential part of your eating plan is to listen to your body and respond to your appetite cues. So long as he is not eating too much fat or resorting to carb-rich, high GI snacks to fill him up then all is well. If he is hungry between meals then you can try boosting his protein at meals or choose to snack on a low fat flavoured milk or yoghurt, a handful of nuts and dried fruit, carrot sticks with hummous or a low GI snack such as fruit.’
I heard people with diabetes should eat between meal snacks and supper before going to bed – is that true?
Alan Barclay from Diabetes Australia says: ‘Children with type 1 diabetes and people using some of the older types of insulin’s often need to have in between meal snacks and a supper to prevent them from going hypo. People with pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes probably don’t need to snack. In fact, evidence is mounting that in between meal snacks lead to weight gain, which may in turn make your diabetes worse: aim to have three moderate size meals based around low GI carbohydrates to keep your blood glucose levels stable throughout the day. If you find you are still going low between main meals, ask your diabetes team to review your blood glucose lowering medications.’
Look it up in our A–Z: The GI Glossary (continued)
Ketones Our bodies need to maintain a minimum threshold level of glucose in the blood to provide energy for our brain and central nervous system. If for some reason, glucose levels fall below this threshold, (a very rare state called hypoglycemia) the brain will make use of ketones – a by-product of the breakdown of the body’s fat stores. Ketones are strong acids, and when they are produced in large quantities they can upset the body’s delicate acid-base balance. They are normally released into the urine, but if levels are very high or if the person is dehydrated, they may begin to build up in the blood. High blood levels of ketones may cause fruity-smelling breath, loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, and fast, deep breathing. In severe cases, it may lead to coma and death. In a pregnant woman, even a moderate amount of ketones in the blood may harm the baby and impair brain development. Large amounts of ketones in the urine may signal diabetic ketoacidosis, a dangerous condition that is caused by very high blood glucose levels.
Ketosis is the metabolic state when the body is burning fat for fuel. Normally carbohydrates are the main source of fuel for your brain, heart and many other organs.
Kilojoule or kJ is the metric system for measuring the amount of energy produced when food is completely metabolised in the body. The Calorie is the imperial measure of energy, and can be calculated from the number of kilojoules by dividing by 4.2.
Lipids or fats are found in the blood and the walls of all of the body’s cells. The most common lipids are cholesterol and triglycerides (sometimes called triacylglycerols).
LDL cholesterol see Cholesterol
Millimole (mmole) is a unit for measuring the concentration of glucose, cholesterol, triglycerides and other substances in a certain volume of blood – usually 1 litre (L).
Mono-unsaturated fat is found in large quantities in olive and canola oil, and some nuts and seeds. Like all fats, mono-unsaturated fats are high in kilojoules. Mono-unsaturated help lower LDL cholesterol levels and are thought to help reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.