Britney Spears and Sharon Stone are two celebrities who follow a low-GL diet, but it doesn't need a famous person's endorsement for you to see that it's actually one of the least painful ways to lose weight.
GL refers to the glycaemic load in a foodstuff, and the lower the better because it chiefly concentrates on how quickly or slowly eating something increases your blood sugar.
Dietitian, Juliette Kellow explains: "The Glycaemic Index runs from 0 to 100 and usually uses glucose - which has a GI value of 100 - as the reference. The effect other foods have on blood sugar levels are then compared with this. In simple terms, the GI index tells us whether a food raises blood sugar levels dramatically, moderately or a little bit.
"Foods that have only a slow, small effect on blood sugar have a low GI value, while those causing a rapid and massive rise in blood sugar have a high GI value."
In other words, eating food that is more complex and slowly releases sugar is much better for you. Patrick Holford, who wrote the book Burn Fat Fast with Kate Staples (the former gladiator Zodiac), say that with the diet, "you will stop producing more glucose than you can use, so won’t gain fat. You won’t suffer from food cravings. Your body will be reprogrammed to burn fat rapidly. You will be able to lose weight and sustain your weight loss permanently."
THE THREE SIMPLE RULES ARE:
1. Eat no more than 40 GLs a day
2. Eat protein with carbohydrate
3. Graze don't gorge
Similar to the 5:2 diet, it also uses the idea of fast and feast days. We've featured six recipes from fast and feast days in the slideshow below. They each are around 250 calories and don't contain more than around 10 GLs. Day 1 features feast recipes, while day 2 has some good fast recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
DAY ONE: BREAKFAST - Blueberry Pancake
<strong>Delicious blueberry compote oozing out of sweet pancakes. Blueberries are a superfood, rich in powerful antioxidants.</strong> <em>Makes 4 large pancakes – serving suggestion 1 pancake per person</em> <strong>Ingredients</strong> 50g (2oz) cornflour 50g (2oz) quinoa lour 35g (around 11/2oz) xylitol 210ml (7fl.oz) skimmed milk,soya milk or nut milk 2 ½ tbsp. water 1 medium egg 4 tsp coconut oil for frying (1 tsp per pancake) <strong> For the filling</strong> 4 tbsp blueberries 2 tsp xylitol 1 tbsp water 1 tsp lemon juice <strong>How to prepare</strong> 1. Make the pancakes by blending all the pancake ingredients except the coconut oil in a blender until smooth. 2. Melt one teaspoon of the coconut oil in a frying pan and tip to coat the whole pan surface. Spoon in half a ladleful of the batter (a quarter of the total batter) and tip the pan to spread it evenly in a circle around the base. 3. Cook for 30 to 45 seconds, then turn with a spatula (or the more adventurous can attempt to flip) and cook the other side for a similar length of time, until pale golden. 4.Remove from the pan and keep warm(place on a plate and cover with a clean, dry tea towel) until it is ready to be served. You will have to add another teaspoon of oil to the pan between pancakes to make sure they do not stick. 5. To make the blueberry filling, place the blueberries in a pan with the xylitol, water and lemon juice and heat gently until the berries start to burst and release their juice, producing a berry compote. Spoon a bit into the middle of each pancake and fold up.
DAY ONE: LUNCH - Omelette
This dish ticks a lot of boxes, with the oily fish providing omega-3, the egg providing a hefty dose of B vitamins and the asparagus adding fibre and vitamins. You can take this recipe and vary according to taste or what you have in the fridge. – try wilted spinach and sun-dried tomatoes. <em>Serves 1</em> <strong>Ingredients</strong> 3 free-range or organic eggs Pinch of salt 50g (2oz) fine asparagus spears, trimmed Knob of butter or coconut oil 1 heaped tbsp. of smoked salmon Freshly ground black pepper Wedge of lemon, to serve <strong>How to prepare</strong> 1. Beat the eggs and alst together in a bowl. 2. Put the asparagus on to steam for about 5 minutes or until al dente – take care to take it off the heat as soon as it is cooked. While this is cooking, make the omelette. 3. Heat a small frying pan over a medium heat, add the butter or oil and move it about the pan to coat the base and sides, then pour in the eggs. As the omelette starts to set, repeatedly run the back of the fork across the base of the pan to lift up some of the mixture and let the uncooked egg spill underneath and cook. 4. When the base has coloured and set, put the asparagus over half the omelette and top with the smoked salmon. Sprinkle with black pepper, then carefully fold in half and leave for 30 seconds or so to cook the middle before easing it out of the pan and onto a plate. Serve immediately, with a wedge of lemon.
DAY ONE: DINNER - Garlic Chilli Prawns
The strong citrus , chilli and garlic flavours make this an aromatic treat. The prawns take 3 minutes to cook, so make sure you have the pak choi ready to go as soon as they come off the heat. Serve with brown basmati rice <em>Serves 2</em> 10GLs (250 calories per serving + 85 calories for 75g quinoa or 150 calories for 45g brown rice) <strong>Ingredients</strong> 3 garlic cloves, crushed juice of 2 limes 1 green chilli, deseeded 1 tsp chilli-infused oil or a large pinch dried chilli flakes 3 tbsp virgin rapeseed oil 300g large, raw prawns, prepared sea salt 75g cooked quinoa or 45g cooked brown rice, to serve <strong>For the pak choi:</strong> 1 tbsp virgin rapeseed oil 250g (9oz) pak choi, stems separated, and both stems and leaves roughly chopped 1 tbsp oyster sauce <strong>How to Prepare</strong> 1. Put the garlic in a blender and add the lime, chillies, chilli oil or flakes, a good pinch of salt and the oil. Blend into a purée. 2. Put the prawns into a bowl and add the purée. Leave to marinate for 20 minutes at room temperature. 3. Heat a griddle or frying pan over a medium-high heat. Cook the prawns for 1½ minutes on each side. 4. Meanwhile, to make the pak choi, heat the oil in a hot wok or frying pan and add the pak choi stems. Stir-fry or steam-fry (by adding a dash of water and then covering) for 1 minute, then add the leaves and cook for 3 minutes. 5. Remove from the heat and stir in the oyster sauce. Serve with the prawns, quinoa or rice.
DAY TWO: BREAKFAST: Breakfast Shake
Smoothies are both delicious and refreshing - not to mention packed with useful nutrients and antioxidants. Serves 1 <strong>Ingredients</strong> A serving of Get Up and Go 300ml of skimmed, soya or oat milk A handful of berries. <strong>How to Prepare</strong> 1. Pour all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth 2. Pour into a tall glasses and serve
DAY TWO: LUNCH - Quinoa Salad
Quinoa is a healthier choice than bulghur wheat or couscous as it is gluten-free and very high in protein, as well as minerals like calcium and zinc. I have included pumpkin seeds to further increase the mineral content. Serve with green leaves or on its own. <em>Serves 4</em> <strong>Ingredients</strong> 300g (10 1/2 oz) quinoa, well rinsed 1 good handful coriander leaves, finely chopped 2 good handfuls flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped 8 spring onions, fine sliced 1 garlic clove, crushed 4 tbsp pumpkin seeds Half a cucumber, finely diced 200g (7oz) cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced or diced Juice of upto 4 limes, or to taste Good drizzle (about 4 tbsp) cold pressed, virgin rapeseed or olive oil A little rock salt Freshly ground black pepper 2 ripe avocados Vinaigrette salad dressing (optional) <strong>How to prepare</strong> 1. Put the quinoa in a large pan, cover with double the amount of water and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for about 12-13 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the grains are soft and fluffy. 2. Stir the fresh herbs through the quinoa along with the remaining ingredients. Add the avocado just before serving. Taste to check the seasoning. Add the vinaigrette, if using, just before serving
DAY TWO: DINNER - Chick Pea Curry
A strong curry that is flavoursome and filling. <em>Serves 4</em> 10GLs (216 calories per serving + 85 calories for 75g quinoa) <strong>Ingredients</strong> 1 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil 2 red onions, sliced 1 mild red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped 1 tbsp mild or medium curry powder, or Madras spice blend 150ml hot vegetable stock 500ml coconut milk ¼ head of cauliflower, chopped into small chunks 2 × 410g cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed 1 tsp sea salt 200g baby leaf spinach, chopped 75g cooked quinoa, or a salad of diced cucumber, tomatoes and red onion, to serve <strong>For the pak choi:</strong> 1 tbsp virgin rapeseed oil 250g (9oz) pak choi, stems separated, and both stems and leaves roughly chopped 1 tbsp oyster sauce <strong>How to prepare:</strong> 1. Heat 2 tsp of the oil in a large pan and add the onions. Cook over a low heat for 3–4 minutes until softened. Add the chilli and curry powder and cook for a further 1 minute. 2. Stir in the stock, coconut milk, cauliflower and chickpeas, then simmer for 15 minutes to reduce the sauce and allow the flavours to combine. Season with salt. Add the spinach, stir and cook gently for 2 minutes or until warmed through. 3. Serve with quinoa
Burn Fat Fast, Patrick Holford, £6.99, published by Piatkus