Grains and Cereals can make or break your low glycemic diet goals! They can be ranked with either a very low glycemic index rating or a very high glycemic index ranking, largely depending on how they’ve been processed.
At the bottom of the traditional food pyramid you would have always found the recommendation of numerous servings of bread and grains daily. Unfortunately, not all grains are equal! Sadly, processing often leaves a fibre poor, nutrient depleted starch with an incredibly high glycemic score, often-times equal to that of pure glucose.
Breakfast Cereals are often the worst. Most cereals found in supermarket aisles are very high glycemic, sugar laden, and nutrient poor. Sadly, many people, particularly children, begin their day with a poor breakfast choice that sets them up to be hungry a short time later, with rapidly spiking and falling blood sugar levels. Even instant oats, long time believed to be a nutritious choice, are very high glycemic. Instead, choose steel cut or rolled oats as your preferred grain – or you can try other low gi grains like quinoa, millet and buckwheat as well. Perhaps you could even go without a grain for breakfast. Start discovering the vast array of great low gi foods for breakfast that are available, when you start considering a low gi diet as a way of life.
Bread – As far as bread goes, the supersoft, white, fluffy bread that we see almost everywhere, has little resemblance to the whole wheat grain we see growing in the fields. All the goodness has been removed. Instead, choose heavy, wholegrain breads (where you can actually see the grains – and there are far too many to count!) Even better, choose sprouted grain breads, or pumpernickel, usually available from health food stores. Also, consider experimenting with grains other than wheat – rye, spelt, barley and rice are great choices to begin with. And don’t forget the seeds too – sunflower, linseeds, pumpkin, poppy, linseed and more. Some of the nicest breads available are from small traditional bakeries and markets rather than supermarket shelves. Although they may sometimes appear to be slightly more expensive, you’ll soon find that a small slice or too will go a long way. Low gi foods definitely don’t have to be boring!
Highly Processed Grains – Sadly, for many people, processed grains and cereal foods make up far too much of their diet, often leaving little room for quality fruits, vegetables, legumes and protein. As a general rule, if you think of a dinner plate, low gi grains, cereals and starchy vegetables, like potatoes, should only take up one quarter of your plate, leaving another quarter for good quality proteins, and the remaining half for fresh or lightly cooked vegetables or salad.
Always choose whole grain breads, brown or basmati rice, whole wheat pasta, quinoa, and experiment with some of the ancient grains (often found in health food stores and some progressive supermarkets).
Not only do wholegrain low gi foods maintain steady blood sugar levels, and keep you feeling satisfied for longer, they also increase your fibre intake. Research is showing again and again that an increased consumption of wholegrain low gi foods is associated with a greatly reduced incidence of cancers, heart disease and diabetes.
Remember, a low gi diet doesn’t need to be complicated! Just eat foods as close as possible to their natural state in nature, and you can’t go wrong – that’s all there is to low gi foods and a low glycemic deit!