The 7-day GL Diet by Nigel Denby
Reviewed by Dietitian, Juliette Kellow BSc RD
What's the theory?
Foods with a high glycaemic index (GI) cause a massive and sudden spike in blood sugar that falls just as rapidly, leaving us craving more carbs. In contrast, foods with a low GI keep blood sugar levels steady so we don't get the sudden dips that cause cravings and overeating. However, the GI doesn't take into account the amount of carbohydrate contained in a typical serving of food.
That's where the glycaemic load (GL) comes to the rescue: the GL considers both the GI rating of a food AND the amount of carbs found in a typical serving of that food. This means foods like watermelon - which have a high GI and are typically off limits - actually have a low GL because they contain only small amounts of carbs in a typical serving.
In contrast, foods like pasta - which have a low GI -actually have a moderate to high GL because they contain a lot of carbs in a typical serving. The key to losing weight is to choose foods with a low GL and avoid those with a high GL.
What does the diet involve?
There are three 7-day diet plans to choose from: a 'Fast and Friendly' plan for people who don't have time or the desire to cook; a 'Veggie Friendly' plan for non-meat eaters; and a 'Foodie Friendly' plan for keen cooks.
Every day you have three meals and two snacks and each plan is based on low GL foods like fruit, veg, beans and oats. Low-fat dairy products and lean protein-rich foods are also allowed but traditional carb-rich foods like potatoes, pasta, rice and bread tend to be off limits, as are all sugary and processed carbs like doughnuts, crisps, biscuits and cornflakes.
A typical day's menu on the 'Fast and Friendly' plan includes: rye crispbreads with cottage cheese and a pear for breakfast; prawn salad with coleslaw for lunch; gammon steak with poached egg, peas and salad for dinner; and snacks of grapes and a little dark chocolate.
What else does the book include?
You're encouraged to walk for 30 minutes a day, either as one session, two 15-minute sessions or three 10-minute sessions. There's also advice to help you break out of the diet trap, stay motivated and cope with temptation.
There are also charts listing the GL values of different foods so that you can put together your own diet after the 7-day plan. Plus you'll find information on eating out and shopping, general nutrition advice and plenty of recipes.
And if you're hungry for more recipes, there's a sequel called The GL Diet Cookbook, also by Nigel Denby (Harpers Thorsons, £7.99) - although these aren't calorie counted.
How much weight will I lose?
The 7-day plan will help you lose between 2 and 5lb, more if you have a lot of weight to lose.
Juliette's verdict on The 7-Day GL Diet
Written by a registered dietitian, this is a great book for slimmers - there's no science to plough through and it's very easy to understand. The diet plans are straightforward and include everyday foods you can buy in your local supermarket.
People with big appetites might be left feeling hungry though - some of the meals are very small, for example, some lunches consist of just a bowl of soup, or two crispbreads with hummus. If you're planning to 'go it alone' after the 7 days, you'll also still need to think about portion sizes, otherwise you could end up having too many calories to lose weight.
Want a diet where you can include chocolate, pizza, and the odd drink? Weight Loss Resources has a great set of tools to help you find a way of dieting you can live with. Find out how to achieve the calorie balance that is going to get you to your ideal weight without a list of forbidden foods. You can access the tools free for 24 hours.