Food for Thought

What’s so good about the glycemic index?
‘It works in the trenches for weight loss and blood glucose management as well as improving your cholesterol,’ says Johanna Burani MS, RD, CDE. And she knows. Readers of GI News may recall the inspiring success stories of two of Johanna’s clients – Amy (September 2006 GI News) and Kerry (May 2007 GI News).

So how can you achieve the benefits of low GI eating as Amy and Kerry did and lose weight, and reduce your risk of diabetes and heart disease if the foods on your supermarket shelves haven’t been GI tested and you don’t know which brands are high GI and which are low. Here’s how you do it says Johanna. No need to worry about numbers, just follow these six basic steps and keep those portions moderate.
  1. Balance calories in with calories out and eat a balanced diet with a variety of nutrient dense foods and beverages as the 2005 Food Guidelines suggest.
  2. Eat high fibre unprocessed breakfast cereals (oats, bran, barley) OR add berries, nuts, flaxseed or cinnamon to a high GI refined cereal.


  3. Choose dense whole kernel grain (that means you can see LOTS of grainy bits in there) or sourdough breads and crackers OR add a heart healthy protein and/or condiment to high GI breads and crackers.


  4. Include 5–9 servings of fruits and vegetables everyday – no ifs or buts. Mom was right.
  5. Replace white potatoes with yams or sweet potatoes OR try canned new potatoes or just eat much smaller portions of high GI potatoes.


  6. Eat less refined sugars and convenience foods (soda, sweets, desserts)
    OR combine nuts, fruit, reduced-fat yoghurt or ice-cream with commercial sweets (desserts) – but watch portion sizes.
And get moving. No ifs or buts here either. Increase your incidental activity as well as the amount of planned exercise you do.

Johanna Burani is a dietitian and author of Good Carbs, Bad Carbs. This is an edited version of her presentation to the 22nd Annual Southern Regional Conference of the American Diabetes Association held in Florida in May 2007. Contact details: Johanna Burani, MS, RD, CDE, Nutrition Works, Mendham, New Jersey,

DVD Trailer: The New Glucose Revolution – A simple guide to low GI eating
Based on the book of the same name, you’ll discover how you can achieve weight loss, blood glucose control and lifelong health with the GI. Narrated by former Australian Olympic Swimmer Lisa Forrest, the DVD features interviews with Prof. Jennie Brand-Miller, Kaye Foster-Powell and Prof. Stephen Colagiuri.

Order the DVD HERE.