Please like my new page on Facebook

Please like my new page on Facebook
Skinny Without Willpower

Monday, August 3, 2009


The sound of healthy food conjures up images of boiled vegetables, fruits, bland salads and soups. That’s the prime reason why people cringe at the thought of going on a healthy diet. While such a diet is certainly healthy there is no need for it to be either bland or boiled, especially for us Indians. There are plenty of delicious and spicy Indian foods that appeal to the palate and are as healthy. While you will find plenty of articles on low GI eating, in this article I will focus primarily on Indian cuisine. It will help you lose weight and above all be good for your cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

The table here shows (click to see) a list of the most common ingredients used in Indian cooking along with its GI value.
Meat, fat and protein don't have any carbohydrates in them so they don't elicit an insulin response, hence they have a GI of zero. Follow these simple guidelines when choosing items from this table to prepare your meal.

I) If possible stay in the green and yellow range at all times.

II) Occasional red item is allowed when combined with an item in the green area. For example the GI value of white rice is 69 while the GI of lentils is in the low 30’s. So mixing them in bissibelle bhat lowers the combined GI of the dish to 58. It should be obvious that the combined GI is proportional to the weighted ratio of the mixture, i.e., the more daal you mix with rice the lower the GI value will be and vice versa.

III) Protein and fiber hinder the assimilation of carbs thereby lowering the GI value. Protein and fiber also give you a sense of fullness, keeping you satiated longer. Nuts are rich in both along with heart healthy MUFAs so use nuts in your cooking, or as a side item to your main dish. For example top morning oatmeal with grated almonds or walnuts and put cooked peanuts in Upma to lower the GI value. Except for peanut and cashew all other nuts like brazil nut, macadamia, almond, walnut, pecan etc have zero or near zero GI, so eating them in moderation will not contribute to weight gain.

IV) In breakfast you can eat pretty much from any group. Keep your food choices in the green and yellow range for lunch. For dinner eat something from the green group only.

V) When making a dish with multiple components if possible change the ratio of components in favor of the low GI component and if possible substitute for a healthier alternative component. For example when making dosa try a higher percentage of urad flour compared to rice flour. Also instead of regular dosa, eat rava dosa where the rice is substituted for rava. Instead of making upma with rava try making it with coarse cracked wheat which is higher in fiber and lower in GI. Also use vegetables and nuts in your cooking whenever possible as they lower the combined GI of the dish. Please note that I am not a cook and haven’t cooked a single item mentioned in this article so if a culinary suggestion seems ludicrous, please discard it with a smile (no frowning allowed).

VI) Use moderate amounts of healthy fat when cooking and whenever possible pan fry instead of deep frying (obviously pan fried Bhature won’t taste as good as deep fried ones).

Stick to these simple rules and limit your portions to about 400-500 calories per meal and eat 5 meals every day. Remember nothing is prohibited in the diet, but, limit portions of high GI items you love. Eat carbohydrates in the morning and as the day goes along keep cutting carbohydrates in favor of healthy fats and proteins. Remember to drink plenty of water as it keeps you hydrated and facilitates easy flow of nutrients in and out of your cells. So, until next time eat healthy and stay healthy.


  1. Yogi- good post.
    I don't know if fat is ok - even though it doesn't have carbs, it gets stored in the body, increases your weight which again has side effects on diabetes. So, I'd say we should avoid fats too.

    Meat is ok depending on how you prepare it. Fried chicken for ex. has lot of carbs.

    - Bala Girisaballa

  2. Bala,

    Good fats (MUFA) and also the ones rich in omega 3 fatty acids are not only good for your body but also essential for healthy brain function. The only way fats get stored in the body is when insulin acts upon it and drives it into the cells. So eating fat with a high GI carb will store the fat but otherwise fat by itself cannot store in the cells. That's exactly the reason why Atkin's diet works because there is no carb to elicit an insulin response and you lose weight even though you are consuming large quantities of fat and protein. We should however avoid the bad fats or the trans fatty kind.

    I'll publish another article about insulin and its role in weight gain.

    Hope that helps.


  3. With bistroMD you know that you will not only receive gourmet entrees, but that every meal and each in bistroMD's weight loss program is balanced to bistroMD's specific nutritional platform that helps promote healthy diets.

    STEP 1 - Choose one of the weight loss plans for 5 or 7 days of meals.
    STEP 2 - View your menu in advance and decide on the meals you desire for each day and week.
    STEP 3 - Order your weight loss plan.
    STEP 4 - Your entrees are sent to your door.

    TRY IT NOW - home delivery.