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My mother was telling me about a GI Diet that cuts out all fresh fruits and includes lots of white breads, pastas and the like. Have you heard of this crazy diet? My father’s friend was recently diagnosed as diabetic and this is a diet he was recommended to follow.

The GI Diet I know is the Glycemic Index Diet, which measures a particular food's effects on blood sugar. The higher the glycemic index, the greater the effect on your blood sugar. The theory is: consuming more low glycemic foods will make you feel less hungry. Food is categorized by GI levels (high, medium, low). It's suggested that you eat more from the low end of the index.

Examples of low glycemic foods are rolled oats, carrots, whole wheat, cauliflower, new potatoes, apples, oranges, skim milk, beans.

High glycemic foods are instant potatoes, watermelon, dates, parsnips, doughnuts, maple syrup and pretzels. Most of the these foods are good for us, and the foods in the high category — like the doughnuts and maple syrup — are what I call "sometimes" foods.

As for white breads and pastas, there is nothing wrong with these foods per se, it's just better to eat more whole grains, breads and pasta for the fiber and nutrients they provide. The diet you describe sounds like the exact opposite of what most people say.

There are always new books, new ideas, quick fixes. The best advice for everyone is to eat a diet of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean meat and low-fat dairy products -- and limit fats, sweets and alcohol. People with diabetes should follow the same guidelines as well but in addition, they should consume regular meals and space foods throughout the day while consuming a balanced diet. There are no foods that need to be avoided altogether, but it does come down to making better choices. And, of course, exercise and activity should be included as well.

Your dad's friend should check out the American Diabetes Association website for more information and see a registered dietitian.

Nutrition counseling services are available at:

BJC dietitians also can be located by calling Help For Your Health at 314.747.7234.

To learn more about the glycemic index, see what is termed "the official website of the glycemic index" at the University of Sydney.

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