Why GL Is The Way To Go
Our pancreas is a heroic little bit of anatomy, every time we throw a load of sugar down our throats and out into our blood stream the pancreas releases insulin to deal with the onslaught. All right, so it does dump the excess as fat but considering the alternative is coma I think we can consider it our friend.
The problem comes when we constantly overdo sugar and our response to insulin becomes decreased. This Insulin Resistance can lead to metabolic syndrome (a catch-all term to cover cardiovascular disease, heart attack and stroke), diabetes Type II and also a failure to conceive.
By following a low GL diet we can reverse this scenario and reset our sensitivity to insulin. If you have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) lowering insulin can[more] help stabilise the hormonal balance and help increase your chances of conception. GL refers to Glycaemic Load and signifies how quickly sugars are released from each meal or snack into the blood stream. This has moved on from the term Glycaemic Index (GI) which simply referred to how quickly a food raised blood sugar levels while not taking serving size, water or fibre content into account. For example a serving of orange juice has a GI value of 50, have the whole orange instead and it drops to 40. Have that orange as dessert after a meal containing fibre, protein and fats and the GL index will drop further. So, the basic tenet of the GL diet is to incorporate FATS, PROTEINS and FIBRE with every meal slowing down the release of energy and reducing the work load of the pancreas. Follow these broad guidelines:
- Fats. Not of the trans-fat or fastfood variety, if a fat is not able to melt in your palm then you will not be able to digest it either. Extra virgin oils, avocados, nut butters, nuts are all good raw. Coconut fat, goose fat or butter if you’re cooking. However don’t go overboard, we want to reach satiety whilst still being able to reach our toes.
- Protein. Should be from lean meats, nuts, fish, poultry, seeds, eggs, yogurts, pulses, shellfish. Have a broad range of foods to get all your amino acids.
- Fibre. From whole grains, vegetables, seeds, nuts. Get your 7-a-day and exceed it if you can. Takes a darn lot of carrots to be too many carrots.
- Eliminate refined, processed foods. Cut out sugar, in all forms – biscuits, cakes, added to tea or coffee but also any sugar purported healthy such as agave. If you reduce the sweetness in your diet you’ll reduce your sweet tooth too. Reduce caffeine (for its cortisol / insulin stimulating effects). Reduce fruit to a couple of portions a day and have alongside other food, never as a juice.
Don’t starve but don’t be afraid of a little hunger, welcome the chance to remember what that feels like. By bringing our diet to a wholefood state we reduce the burden on our pancreas, we reduce the risk of becoming insulin resistant and we reduce our spare tyre. By reducing our spare tyre we reduce inflammation and reset our hormonal balance.
These are broad dietary brush strokes, if you’d like to talk about the GL diet in more detail please call me. Or any questions on PCOS, insulin resistance or the GL diet, please post here, I’m happy to answer.
By Saffron Rogerson
15 May 2015