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When you aren’t eating right, you most likely aren’t feeling right. You also lack a general sense of well-being and positivity. To get your balance back and to put, once again, spring back into your step, Patrick recommends the low-GL diet.

The basic premise of the low-GL diet is that it enables you to keep your blood sugar levels even.  This is vital to overall health as your blood sugar level effects the balance of all your body’s systems, your mood and your energy levels.

Patrick recommends the low-GL diet based on eating proteins, mainly from fish and vegetable proteins such as beans, lentils, nuts and seeds, together with low-GL (slow sugar releasing) carbohydrate such as wholegrain pasta, oat flakes, brown rice and quinoa. In general you should always eat protein with carbohydrates, since the building blocks of protein are amino-acids which effectually slow down the digestion of carbohydrates, leaving you fuller for longer.

A closer look

Oats are a superb food choice for weight loss and blood sugar control. You can eat them as oat flakes (cold), porridge or oatcakes which are a good alternative for bread, for example, with your scrambled or boiled egg, or as a snack during the day with a high-protein spread such as hummus. The best oat choices are those highest in the soluble fibre called beta-glucans. Patrick recommends choosing a ‘rough’ oatcakes rather than ‘fine’.

The rye grain is also an excellent low-GL choice. The best choice of all would be the slow-cooked German-style breads called pumpernickel, sonnenbrot and volkenbrot, or whole rye sourdough bread. These breads will be denser and heavier than regular wheat bread – so make sure you have thinner slices.

Barley is another healthier grain to use and is proven to help you feel less hungry. You can buy wholegrain pearl barley from health shops, which boils like brown rice. It is also full of beta-glucans and soluble fibres.

Quinoa is one of the highest protein sources in the vegetable kingdom, with 16% of its calories as protein (soya has the most, at 38 per cent protein). Quinoa can be used as an alternative to rice, it is also gluten-free and has a much lower GL than rice.

Chia seeds are very high in soluble fibres which help fill you up, as well as Omega-3 fats and protein, all of which are good news for weight loss and blood sugar control. Adding Chia seeds to your oats is a good way to increase your soluble fibre intake.

Good nuts for weight loss are walnuts and almonds, of which Patrick recommends a small handful or a dessertspoon every day, either in your food or as part of your daily snack.

The varieties of winter squash, which includes courgettes, marrows, pumpkin, and butternut squashes among others, are all very low-GL vegetables, which make them a great choice to add to your main meal.

The main sugar in most berries, cherries and plums is xylose, which is a low-GL form of sugar. The Montmorency cherry is exceptionally high in antioxidants and a concentrate called Cherry Active, as a cordial, is the only fruit drink that Patrick Holford recommends. Other fruit juices like grape juice, contain high volumes of pure fast-releasing glucose or fructose.

Plums, when in season, are a great fruit snack, together with some protein such as a few almonds or pumpkin seeds. The next best fruits are apples and pears, but the kind of apple or pear you choose makes a difference. The harder and less sweet conference pears, for example, have the lowest GL.

For baking or as an added sweetener to your choice of hot drink, you can use a crystallised xylose, called xylitol. You can use the same amount as you do of normal sugar but it has much less effect on your blood sugar.

Cinnamon is a safe and inexpensive spice that helps to balance blood sugar and has been used for many years in traditional herbal medicine for the treatment of type-2 diabetes. The active ingredient in cinnamon, MCHP, mimics the action of the hormone insulin, which removes excess sugar from the bloodstream, so it can really help when you are trying to lose weight. You need three to six grams a day for a good effect. Some supplements use a concentrate of cinnamon high in MCHP for those of us who find two teaspoons of raw cinnamon too much to swallow.

Patrick Holford’s APPESTOP™ provides a combination of herbal ingredients and nutrients including Garcinia Cambogia Extract, Chromium and Vitamins, and is the perfect supplement to use when following the Holford low-GL diet. It is available from leading pharmacies and health stores around the country.