T Nation

Low GI Diet and Low Carb


I have an insulin resistance problem and need your advice on changing my diet so I can live healthier. About a week ago, I was going through a severe case of reactive hypoglycemia that was very scary, but it is slowly getting better and is almost perfect now. In the past few days, I have taken out a few sugary foods in my diet, which has helped. I am in the process of figuring out what could causing my blood sugar problems and think it might be related to low cortisol, however are not positive. In the meantime, my goal is to lower my insulin levels and insulin spikes throughout the day. Due to me being 6 foot and 304 pounds, this is a top priority in my life and I fully understand how important a good diet will be to my success in the future. That is why I am hoping to get as much advice and suggestions from you as I can.

My current job is very flexible, where I have a lot of time to eat the house and am on the road when I work. The object is to try and eat the best I can when I am at house and find healthy snacks and places to eat when I am out driving around working. When I am out working, I often will get a chicken sandwich (no fries) at a fast food place or try to find something halfway decent. I used to get burritos a lot with (chicken, rice, lettuce, light cheese) and this is going to stop because I think the rice is jacking up my insulin levels. The first priority probably will be what I can do at home and then I will concentrate on when I am out.

Here is what a typical day might look like give or take a meal or two.

1st meal?bowl of cereal (cherrios, life, or frosted mini wheats) and 2% milk.
It used to be non-fat milk, but I read that this causes a higher insulin spike than whole milk and I am thinking of switching to whole milk. I am also looking for a better cereal that is less on the glycemic index.

2nd meal?tuna or ham sandwich on stone ground wheat bread.
I read the nature pride stone ground wheat bread is pretty good for my situation, but I am sure there is something there that is better. I am still searching for bread that might be good for low GI diet.

3rd meal?It used to be a French bread pizza and chicken soup. I have stopped eating the pizza and do not eat the soup because it used to go hand in hand. I need to find a healthy replacement for pizza. I could incorporate a salad, but I whatever I choose I like to make it not complicated and would like to be able to put in the oven for a little while or not have to really make the meal, etc.

4th meal?Five egg whites, one whole egg and oatmeal.

5th meal?Boston market or chicken burrito. Boston market was with the side orders I was choosing, but will be making better decisions.

6th meal?It used to be steak or chicken and white rice with bread. Now it is steak or chicken with a good vegetable like asparagus, zucchini, etc. And now maybe a complex carbohydrate like pasta or a sweet potato. Not too sure what I should eat here because I don?t want to eat a bunch of carbs before I sleep, but at the same time, when I don?t eat enough, I can?t sleep and I wake up in the middle of night starved which disrupts your sleep.

Snacks?I used to eat pretzels, crackers, and granola bars.
I now am just eating granola bars. I am looking for some more good snacks I could use to eat in between meals or as meals themselves. I like fruit, but eating too much of certain kinds causing digestive issues. Canteloupe and grapefruit seem to do alright and maybe peaches.

Soluble fiber?I know this is very important and need to find some good things for it. I have been looking into buying an oat bran supplement or oat bran powder (like in a bag) and eating a little during bigger carb intake meals to slow digestion down. I think grapefruit has some in there. I am trying to stay away from things that have a lot of insoluble fiber because they seem to make me go too often and quick.

Drinks?Water throughout the day and at every meal.

If you know a good links that could help me out, I would appreciate it. I have looked on the web for good amount of time and found a few good ones, but they do not provide that much info.

I think the majority of foods I should choose should be a medium to low glycemic index foods and that should not be loaded with carbs. If I do happen to eat a few things with a lot of carbs, that is alright with me though because I think the lower GI foods are probably more important and lower insulin levels better.

I do have a few hormone problems going on, but are going to save that for a different thread. My last two labs showed testosterone levels of 153 and 158. I am currently working with a few doctors to address that, but I know that diet is going to be important to my success even when hormone levels are in range.

Thank you in advance.


Hi = )
So you say you have Insulin resitance issues, was this determined by a physician? Meaning, were you diagnosed with impaired glucose tolerance (pre-diabetes).

The first step you should take, is becoming more active in your daily life. This includes more cardiovascular activity (walking, low intensity elliptical, biking, rollerblading, etc). I would also like to see you include resistance training, either with bands, free weights, machines, or best option, a combination of all of them. Resitance training increases glucose uptake by the "good" systems and will help alleviate some insulin resistance.

Second step, nutrition. Your diet is very carb rich. I would like to see you drop your carbohydrates to under 200g a day. Best carb choices are; oatmeal, whole wheat pasta, green vegetables, onions, cinammon, garlic, and whole wheat bread. For fat, it would be best to stick to unsaturated and poly unsaturated fats. use avocados, natural peanut butter, olive oil spreads. Fat can lower the GI of the carbohydrates you intake, which will help with your insulin resistance. Protein, the third macronutrient that will help determine body-composition, is difficult at your stage. Protein is great for building muscle, chicken, ham, turkey, even lean beef are all great choice (make sure they are not breaded!). The problem is, if you really are pre-diabetic, your high plasma insulin levels will no longer be (as) effective at inhibiting the release of glucagon (another hormone involved in metabolism). Glucagon, among other things increases the amount of protein that you intake to be "turned" into glucose (carbohydrates). This can also raise your blood sugar. So you want a moderate amount of protein intake, that can be slowly increased as time goes on (as your plasma insulin levels drop).

Third step, pharmaceuticals. Ask your doctor about Metformin aka glucophage, it will help with insulin resistance and is a great drug.

Fourth step supplements.
Start taking this supplements as they will really help with Insulin sensitivity/pre diabetic issues.
ALA or Omega 3 oil or Fish oil
Cinammon Extract
Garlic Extract
A good multivitamin
Evening Primose Oil

Hope this helps, Im not a doctor, so make sure to run what you do past an accredited professional first.


My first post hasn't shown up yet so I will add in this two tidbets.
L-Carnitine has been shown to help glucose uptake in Type II diabetics and might be something you want to consider. If you have access to your blood panel, check your estrogen levels, if they are high, ask about being prescribed an aromatase inhibitor, to lower them. Estrogen has proven to interfere with insulin sensitivity. This will also help raise your testosterone.


You are so far off on your diet it's not even funny. You're falling for the trap that 'good' carbs don't spike insulin. You don't need tweaks to your diet like oat bran supplements or a few fruits, you need a diet overhaul.

Go low-carb. Short answer and the only one that will do you any good. You're a bit overweight, so it'll be good for fat loss as well as fixing your insulin problem. As a plus, if you lose weight, you'll become less insulin resistant. In your case, I'd go so far as to recommend NO carbs outside of fiberous green vegetables.

What to eat:
Green vegetables
Lean meats
Olive oil

What not to eat:
Anything not grown, was once alive, or picked from a tree.

-Your digestive problems from fruits and such is usually an indication that you're not getting enough fiber AND/OR eat fruits/vegetables too infrequently. You might also want to look into Hcl supplementation.

-Glycemic index is not the same as glycemic load. Quantity still matters. Insulin generally gets spiked with servings of >20-30g carbs if I recall. So doing things like replacing white rice with brown or wonder bread with whole wheat isn't going to do jack.

-Read a few nutrition articles here, don't know how you stumbled up on the forum and end up not reading a thing.

-You eat way more than you need throughout the day, the fact that you're hungry at night is more because your body is used to getting a certain amount of food than anything. Eat a slow digesting protein like cottage cheese or casein shake and go to sleep. If you wake up the first few days, suck it up, you'll get used to it.

-Lower gi foods do not LOWER insulin levels, that's just not how it works.

-At 300lbs, and I'm assuming that's not a Brock Lesnar 300lbs, the last thing you should be doing is switching to WHOLE milk because you think it has a lower gi.


Without knowing several different factors, including his specific pathology, this is aweful advice. Do you know about hyperinsulinemia and its effects on hepatic output? Do you know about microalbuminuria? He MIGHT be capable of a LCD, but you certainly cannot recommend it to him without knowing MUCH MORE.


Wow youngen, you go with restoring confidence in the class of 09!

Pete, you're working with a doctor on this, right? I think the doc's advice should probalby trump. But Youngen already nailed some real basics to look into:

  • You're overweight. That can't be good. You'll need a caloric deficit. And I count six meals a day, most of which are substantial, plus snacks. That's too much food for all but the hyoogest of athletes. You need to either reduce the meal size, or reduce the meal frequency. I don't know which would be better from a blood sugar level (my hunch would be to keep eating 6x a day).

  • Increasing activity is the other side of the metabolic equation. It's less important than diet, but still important.

  • I'll agree that, in general, simply omitting carbs instead of finding 'good' carbs may help. For instance, don't get a chicken sandwich, get a chicken salad. But for deciding how low carb to go, I'd defer to the doctor again.

  • So, the search for 'good carbs' is probably the least important task. That being said, there are some minor tweaks I can think of:

    • replace cereal with oats.
    • replace white/wheat bread with ezekiel bread (which tastes like fiberboard)
    • replace steak and rice with steak and green veggies.

But again, that's the least important thing. I'd recommend getting your overall diet and exercise nailed first.


You're right, I may have over-reacted. However, he sounds like he's gotten this identified through a doctor and as far as I know and judging by his current diet, he's not diabetic. Going low-carb and increased activity is the only real way to deal with hyperinsulinemia that is most likely caused by lifestyle.


I've had reactive hypoglycemia in the past, and let me tell you glycemic index DOES matter in that situation. (However, I did not have insulin resistance.) These guidelines helped immensely:

  • ALWAYS eat a decent serving of protein with every meal. Cereal with milk is terrible for blood sugar control. I also believe breakfast is key; getting protein at breakfast helps you all day.
  • All carbs had to be 12-15% fiber.
  • Have fibrous veggies at every meal.
  • Add a fiber supplement to bring each meal to 5-10 grams of fiber total (start lower and work up). A fiber supplement before a meal helps.
  • More, smaller meals are better. Do NOT skip meals or go too long between meals.
  • Have a little healthy fat with each meal.

You basically want the slowest-digesting meals you can get.

Frankly I think this is difficult if not impossible to do eating out. Get a cooler, ice packs, containers, and pack your food.


Sorry if my post came off like a jerk, that wasn't my intent. Very low carb diets certainly are a good option, if certain pathological facotrs are eliminated, first. CKD has been used effectively in Type2s though, so your advice certainly wasn't "aweful" just pre-mature.


OP look into Ezekiel bread if it hasn't been mentioned yet. Best low-Gi flourless bread ever! I'm sure you're knowledgable about the site http://www.glycemicindex.com also...so just incase though.


Thanks for the post. Yes, I am working with a few physicians to address my situation. My fasting insulin level was at 17 the other day. That combined with a few other levels on my labs has indicated a big problem with insulin resistance.

I work out hard with cardio and weights so my main focus is on diet. Since I had cut out alot of sugars in the last few days, I think that is why I am getting the reactive hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) symptoms throughout the day. I think this will subside as my body gets used to less sugar. I have to say that I do feel much better though changing my diet. I am glad you mentioned the thing about eating too much protein, because I read that that can increase insulin levels and I am trying to balance them out. I am so used to eating a high protein diet, that I am going to have to eat alot more green veggies, maybe a few more carbs, and more fat until like you said, I can uptake the protein.

In regards to supplements I am current taking a D vitamin and B-complex. I have some good LEF fish oil, but was a little hesistant to take from reading something that said it might not really increase insulin sensitivity. Evening primose oil has been recommend to me as well, but have not got any yet. I am very low cholesterol, which is problem for me and I heard coq-10 is good for that so will consider it.

What multivitamin would you suggest. I used to take Now Adam or the LEF one, but don't think I need anything with too much stuff in it. Source naturals makes one I heard that is not bad.


I have read about and will into it, thank you. I saw it on site named mendoza something I think mentioning some good sources of gi food.


Thanks for the advice. About breakfast, I am thinking of switching to oatmeal, but do not want to cook eggs. What should I do for protein, I could like some steak or something, but I already eat usually steak or chicken every day.

And I am currently eating sams club, instant quaker oats. I am going to switch to steel cut oats I think or some other kind of oats. Could you recommend something.

What fiber supplement would you recommend. I looked into oat bran, because I heard soluble fiber is best for balancing insulin levels, but would like to hear more suggestions. Whatever it is I do want to be on the toilet all day and need something good on digestive system.


The other posters here are right- you're current diet is pretty far off in terms of what you need. However, I can also see how it would be hard to take all of the random information that's being thrown out there and conform it into a diet.

Here's a simple way of constructing a better diet for yourself:

  1. Figure out how many calories you're supposed to be getting on a daily basis. This will then give you the portion size for each of your six meals because all you have to do is divide the daily calories by 6 and there you go. Sure, you could make some meals bigger than others, but given your situation, the same sized meals at the same times every day would be both beneficial and easier than figuring out "Oh this meal was 300 calories, so this meal should be 800 calories". Just figure out one portion size and you're set.

  2. Focus on each meal having a low glycemic, high fiber carbohydrate, a healthy fat, and a complete protein. The suggestion about adding fiber to meals that aren't high enough in that area is a great one.

I find that the easiest way of doing this is to make a list of complete, healthy proteins, and another list of low glycemic, high fiber carbohydrates. Then, all you have to do is pick one of each. If the whole meal doesn't contain any fat, add some olive oil or flax seed oil.

Here's an example:

My complete proteins are: salmon, chicken, lean beef, turkey, whey protein, eggs,

My low glycemic, high fiber carbohydrates are: sweet potatos and/or any yams or squashes, oatmeal or other whole grains, quinoa (look this up and replace all the rice you are eating with it! Same difference and much better for you!), high quality multigrain breads (better than whole wheat, which is actually high GI), protein enriched pasta

So I decide to eat eggs and oatmeal for breakfast, then have chicken breast and quinoa mixed with fiberous veggies for lunch, I have a salmon patty and sweet potatoes for my third meal, whey protein and multigrain toast for my fourth, and meatloaf with very low-fat beef and protein enriched pasta for dinner.

  1. Keep a food journal and always keep trying to out do yourself.


Try a whey protein shake. You could even add chocolate whey powder to your oatmeal and mix with a little milk for something that tastes more like sweetened oatmeal.

Just look for the organic, slow-cooking kind. The most important thing is that the oats would be that they're slow cooking.