A reader asked me recently about where I’m at with the GI Diet, if I’m still on it, and if it’s working for me. Back in 2009, my GP had recommended I go on it when I was diagnosed with diabetes. I had written a couple of followups, but my last one was over a year ago. Time for another followup, thanks to the nudge from my reader.
Yes, I am still on it. Um, well, sorta. I have stuck to the principles of keeping out high-GI foods from my diet as much as possible and trying to incorporate as many low-GI foods as I can; of limiting my rice and pasta consumption to what is recommended in The GI Diet; of eating old-fashioned or rolled oats instead of quick; of using whole-wheat flour exclusively in my baking; of eating non-sugary snacks in between main meals; and of eating low-fat cheeses and yogurt. I also have temporarily cut out egg yolks as a way to restrict my caloric intake. Nutritionally, I don’t have issues with yolks and do believe they add valuable fatty acids. But they take up a big chunk of my calories, and since January I’ve restricted my calories.
The GI Diet doesn’t advocate counting calories, but I was having great difficulty losing weight, partly because my hunger signal was way off base, and I had to retrain it. The only way to do that was to start counting calories. A pain but necessary. I use a diet and exercise app on my iPod to add up my caloric intake, and it is working well…once I’d figured out how many calories I should actually be eating.
I also adjusted my diet to try and get my cholesterol numbers back into good territory. After my last not-so-hot blood tests results, I researched the newest ideas and old, tested ones on how to get those numbers down. There are only two ways: exercise and eating foods either low in cholesterol or that mop up cholesterol I eat. The latter foods include oat bran, plant sterols (in vegetables and fortified foods), and walnuts. I discovered that by increasing my daily walnut intake from 10g to 28-30g, as recommended, I have also improved my sense of satiation. I do not know yet how this has affected my cholesterol numbers. I’ll find out in May.
The best and most important thing I did was adjust my brain function so that finally my exercise tolerance is increasing. Since the Fall, I have been inching my way towards normal levels of exercise. I’m not there yet but close!
So I think The GI Diet is good, but in the long run it’s probably more doable learning the principles and making them an automatic part of your day plus adding your own tweaks than following the book religiously. And any permanent changes you make in your eating and exercise is going to make your doctor very happy anyway!