Explaining carbs

May 17, 2006
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The Low GI Diet, by Professor Jennie Brand-Miller, Kaye Foster-Powell and Joanna McMillan-Price; Low GI Eating Made Easy by Professor Jennie Brand-Miller, Kaye Foster-Powell and Philippa Sandall (both published by Hodder):

These days it seems like everyone is on some sort of diet and carbohydrates are being billed as the evil fat-causing gremlins of the food world.

A good number of those trying to drop a bit of weight have had a crack at the incredibly restrictive low-carb regimen known as the Atkins diet. While some have had success with this plan there are concerns about the long-term health of Atkins dieters.

Carbohydrates are sugars and starches and have always been categorised into two groups: simple, such as the sugar you’ll find in a piece of chocolate, and the complex variety found in a slice of rye bread.

However, the good-carb eating plan outlined in The Low GI Diet ignores the simple and complex tags. Instead, foods and carbs are measured by how fast they hit the blood stream. This tells us the glycemic index (GI) rating of the food in question.

Foods with a high GI value have carbs that cause a dramatic rise in blood glucose levels, while those with a lower GI value have much less impact. The low GI plan focuses on slowly digested foods that keep your blood sugar levels steady throughout the day, avoiding the highs and lows that traditionally make dieters feel tired and hungry.

The book contains a 12-week action plan that outlines what to do, from exercise to eating.

The ideal companion piece to this book is Low GI Eating Made Easy. This handbook explains how to make the low GI diet work for all situations. It offers advice on small steps that can be taken to transform your diet and includes a detailed list of the top 100 low GI foods.

Jillian Allison-Aitken

I come from the other land down under, where men are men, and sheep are nervous. I'm a sub-editor and in the past have been a proof-reader, news editor and web editor. I am also an ex-columnist, and book and software reviewer for the local daily newspaper.I still read. A lot. And surf the web. Also a lot.You'll find a little about both of those pastimes here, and on By George.

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