Cheat Sheet

The GL Diet For Dummies

Dieting needn’t mean that you have to resort to bland food or strange food combinations! The Glycaemic Load Diet is a low-carb diet plan that makes healthy eating easier than it has ever been.

Handy Tips to Reduce the GL

Having some handy tips and pointers when trying to lower your glycaemic load means that you need never get it wrong. Here’s a helpful list of things to remember.

  • Eat small or moderate portions of starchy foods such as bread, potatoes, pasta, and rice.

  • Include lots of low-GL fruit and vegetables at every meal. Aim for a minimum of five servings of fruit and veg per day. Lightly cook veggies for the minimum time or eat them raw. Fresh, frozen, or canned fruit and veg are all fine.

  • Make more of pulses including peas, beans, and lentils in soups, salads, and as a meal accompaniment instead of pasta or rice. Pulses, including dried or canned, count towards your five-a-day fruit and veg.

  • Always include a protein-rich food as part of your meal to reduce the GL. Chose from lean meat, fish, poultry, eggs, low-fat dairy foods, soya products, or quorn.

  • Adding acidic foods such as balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, vinaigrette, or pickles (for example, capers and gherkins) to your meal reduces the overall GL. Adding a little monounsaturated oil such as olive or rapeseed oil, or a little Parmesan cheese or reduced-fat cream to recipes also reduces the GL.

  • Cut right down on highly refined snack foods such as sweets, crisps or corn chips, cakes, biscuits, and pastries made from white flour and sugar. Instead, choose nuts and seeds, or dried fruits such as apple rings or apricots. Instead of milk chocolate, snack on a couple of squares of dark chocolate with over 70 per cent cocoa solids.

Starchy Staples: Helpful Low-GL Alternatives

Use this table to find out which starchy foods to avoid, and discover tasty low-GL alternatives. Keep it handy, so you’re never left wondering if you’ve made the right choices!

Starchy staples Low GL High GL
Bread Pumpernickel, rye, sourdough, soya and linseed, barley and sunflower, granary, seeded breads and pitta breads (moderate GL) oat cakes, rye crackers (moderate GL) White, wholemeal, French stick, rice cakes, cream crackers, bread sticks
Cereal Whole oats, oatmeal, porridge, no added sugar muesli, bran sticks, semolina, quinoa Sweetened cereals, rice based cereals, bran flakes, wheat biscuits, shredded wheat
Pasta Egg-based pasta, mungbean noodles Overcooked pasta and pasta ready meals requiring re-heating
Rice Long grain, wild, and basmati rice. Bulgur or cracked wheat, couscous, pearl barley Short grain, sticky white rice
Potatoes Baby new potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, celeriac, swede Large floury white potatoes, French fries, mashed potato

Low-GL Seasonal Fruit and Vegetables

Good news: on the glycaemic load diet, you can indulge in hundreds of beautiful, scrumptious fruits and veggies. Check out this guide to what’s in season when.

Fruits Vegetables
Spring Rhubarb, grapes, limes, passion fruit, sharon fruit, lemons, grapefruit, avocados Leeks, cabbage, watercress, new potatoes, spinach, aubergines, radishes, rocket, spring greens
Summer Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants, cherries, nectarines, melons Asparagus, baby carrots, fresh peas, tomatoes, runner beans, lettuce, cucumber, courgettes, peppers mange tout
Autumn Blackberries, apples pears, gooseberries, damsons, plums, elderberries, greengages, plums Pumpkin, onions, fennel, wild mushrooms, squash, turnips, red cabbage, celeriac, swede
Winter Satsumas, clementines, cranberries, mandarins, tangerines, pears, pomegranates Brussels sprouts, chicory, cauliflower, kale, celery, mushrooms, purple sprouting broccoli
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