Low GL

GL in a nutshell

GL stands for Glycaemic Load. It’s a unit of measurement that tells you exactly what a particular food will do to your blood sugar. Foods with a high GL have a greater effect on your blood sugar, which isn’t desirable. Foods with a low GL encourage the body to burn fat, which is what we’re aiming for. Keeping your blood sugar balanced is the concept at the heart of the low GL diet – sustainable weight loss will follow.

When your blood sugar level increases, the hormone insulin is released into the bloodstream to remove the glucose (sugar). Some glucose goes to the brain and muscles where it’s used as an energy fuel, but any excess goes to the liver where it’s turned into fat and stored, causing you to gain weight. Insulin is known as the fat-storing hormone.

The glycaemic load (GL) is based on the glycaemic index (GI). Put simply, the glycaemic index of a food tells you whether the carbohydrate in a food is fast or slow releasing (fast is bad, slow is good). What it doesn’t tell you is exactly how much of the food is carbohydrate. Glycaemic load on the other hand tells you both the type and amount of carbohydrate in the food and what that particular carbohydrate does to your blood sugar.

What you should eat

40GLs Meal Examples

There are two stages to the low GL diet; weight loss and weight maintenance. On the weight loss diet you should eat no more than 40GLs daily, with an additional 5GLs allowed for a drink or dessert. Following these guidelines will ensure you reach your personal goals.

Breakfast (choose one of the following to make up 10GLs)
1. Scrambled or boiled egg with one slice of rye toast or 2 rough oatcakes
2. Get Up and Go shake made with skimmed or soya milk and a handful of berries
3. Fruit topped with yoghurt and seed.

Mid-morning snack (choose one of the following to make up 5GLs)
1. A small apple, pear or peach, plus 5 almonds or a tablespoon of pumpkin seeds
2. One thin slice of rye bread thinly spread with sugar-free peanut butter
3. Smoked salmon, lean meat or hummus with one or two rough oatcakes

Lunch (choose one of the following to make up 10GLs)
1. Quinoa Tabouleh
2. Apple and tuna salad with oriental green beans and coleslaw
3. Beany vegetable soup

Mid-afternoon snack (choose one of the following to make up 5GLs)
1. Spiced chickpeas
2. A small natural bio-yoghurt with a handful of berries
3. Crudités (carrot, pepper, cucumber or celery) with ¼ of a small tub of hummus

Dinner (choose one of the following to make up 10GLs)
1. Pasta with borlotti bolognese
2. Steamed salmon served with cooked greens and brown rice or quinoa
3. Indian spiced chicken served with a large portion of greens or salad

Drink or dessert (choose one of the following to make up 5GLs)
1. A small glass of unsweetened orange juice, diluted 50:50 with water, or the juice of one freshly squeezed orange
2. A small glass of red or white wine
3. Individual berry cheesecake

For further information on following a low GL diet as well as more delicious low GL recipes, please consider Patrick's book 'The Low-GL Diet Bible'.