It appears that you are currently using Ad Blocking software. What are the consequences? Click here to learn more.

My Favorite Low Carb and Low GI Foods

By David Mendosa


More and more people with diabetes, myself included, are turning to low glycemic and low carb foods to help them control their condition.

Unavailable carbohydrates are...fiber.

Some of the low carb and low GI foods that I can recommend to others are listed below. I have tested almost all of them and note the exceptions.

If you go to a glycemic index looking for very low GI foods you might be confused because they are not normally listed. They don't cause enough reaction to the method of testing. I list these "free foods" at http://www.mendosa.com/freefoods.htm.

Nor do meat, fish, most dairy products except milk, or eggs (which do have a minimal amount of carbohydrates) have a measurable glycemic index. The glycemic index is applicable only to foods that have measurable carbohydrates.

You can yourself easily check the carbohydrate composition of essentially any food. The U.S. Agriculture Research Service maintains the definitive USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference at http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/cgi-bin/nut_search.pl

MILK AND SOY MILK
Finally, delicious-tasting low-carb milk is available. Several local supermarkets and the local Trader Joe's carries Carb Countdown 2% Reduced Fat dairy beverage (although I have a report that Trader Joe's in Los Angeles doesn't have it). This is real milk with most of the lactose replaced by Splenda and acesulfame potassium (Ace-K). H.P. Hood Inc. distributes it ultrapasturized. The company also distributes Carb Countdown Homogenized, Fat Free, and 2% Reduced Fat Chocolate milk. The URL is
http://www.hphood.com/products/products.detail.asp?id=478

Soybeans have one of the lowest glycemic indexes of any beans, 20 to 25 (where white bread = 100). Therefore, you would expect soy milk also to be low glycemic.

In fact, soy milk has a low glycemic index of 43, according to e-mail from Professor Brand-Miller, the world's leading authority on the glycemic index. The tested soy milk (probably in Australia), she writes, has 4.5 grams of carbohydrates, 3.5 grams of fat, and 3.5 grams of protein per 100 ml.

In the United States we have several brands of soy milk with an even better nutritional profile and therefore probably an even lower glycemic index. The best one that I have discovered is WestSoy Organic Unsweetened Soymilk has 5 grams of carbohydrate per 8 oz. serving, of which 4 grams are fiber, which means it has only 1 gram of available carbohydrate per serving. The URL is http://www.westsoy.biz/products/organic.php.

Homemade soy milk might be even better and would certainly be fresher and have less of a soybean taste. Nancy Adams in Coos Bay, Oregon, uses a Soyajoy from http://www.soymilkmaker.com/, which makes 50 oz. of milk from 70 gm of soaked soybeans in about 16 minutes. She buys her soybeans from Fairview Farms at www.fairviewfarms.com . "This bean is non-GMO and has had the 3 enzymes that humans can't digest bred out of it by natural selection," she writes. "It does not have that unpleasant beany taste that I had come to associate with all soybeans, and the milk I make from these beans is positively wonderful."

HULLESS BARLEY
Pearled barley has by far the lowest glycemic index of any grain ever tested. Hulless barley almost certainly has an even lower glycemic index than pearled barley, because pearling removes some of the fiber. A great source of hulless barley that I have used for years is Bob's Red Mill.

I cook hulless barley in my rice cooker. Recipes for barley differ in the amount of water to use, but I follow the Joy of Cooking recommendation of four cups water to one cup barley to make it soft. Use less water if you want it firmer.

Hulless barley makes a great low-GI breakfast. Sweeten it with Splenda, add some cinnamon and half and half (or milk), and you have made a real comfort food. You can also use it everywhere that you formerly used rice. It is particularly good in stews and soups. I especially like it as a substitute for the "rice bottom" that I would formerly have used for the bean soup mixes from Cowboy Foods.

BREAD AND CHIPS
Bread is inherently high glycemic. The index is based after all either on setting white bread or glucose to equal 100.

Yet we can make modest reductions in its glycemic index. The authors of Sugar Busters! limit daily bread intake to no more than two slices of stone ground whole wheat bread.

Three other strategies, however, probably have an even greater effect:

  1. Using grain that is lower glycemic than wheat for all or part of the bread is the more common one. Corn, soybeans, oat bran, and barley are the usual choices.

    Corn tortillas have a GI of 52 (where glucose = 100). They are not, however, low in carbohydrate. The ones that I eat have 10 grams of carbohydrate per tortilla, of which 1 is fiber, for a net available carbohyrate of 9 grams.

    The lowest glycemic bread ever tested, Bürgen Soy Lin, is however not available in the United States (it is sold in Australia and the U.K.). See http://www.burgen.com.au/ and http://www.alliedbakeries.co.uk/ .

  2. Since particle size influences the glycemic index (the smaller the size the higher the glycemic index), bread made from grain kernels have been shown to be lower GI. Not yet tested but probable, bread made from sprouted grains can be expected to have a similar effect.

  3. Food for Life Baking Company in Corona, California, makes the widely distributed Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain bread. Their URL is http://www.food-for-life.com/index.asp . It consists of organic sprouted wheat, organic sprouted barley, organic sprouted millet, malted barley, orgaic sprouted lentils, organic sprouted soybeans, organic sprouted spelt, filtered water, fresh yeast, and sea salt. Each slice contains 0.5 grams of fat, of which none is saturated, 15 grams of carbohydrate, of which 3 grams are fiber, and 4 grams of protein.

  4. Natural Ovens of Manitowoc, Wisconsin, makes several breads that sound great. They are sold to more than 1,200 grocery stores in six midwestern states, and I have not tried any of them myself. There 100% Whole Grain Bread has one of the lowest glycemic indexes of any bread tested 51 (where glucose = 100). See http://www.glycemicindex.com/gi_2000data.htm . It is made from stone ground whole wheat flour and has 14 grams of carbohydrate per slice, of which 3 grams are fiber.

  5. Atkins Bakery Country White Bread tastes ok considering that each slice has only 3 grams of available carbohydrates. The URL is http://atkins.com/shop/products/Sliced_Bread_Duet.html

  6. Substituting fiber for available carbohydrates makes the greatest difference. The most successful product to do this is, however, not something that everyone calls bread. La Tortilla Factory in Santa Rosa, California, makes whole wheat low-carb/high-fiber tortillas. The URL is http://www.latortillafactory.com/ . Each 6.5"-7" tortilla has 2 grams of fat, of which none is saturated, 12 grams of carbohydrate, of which 9 is fiber, and 5 grams of protein. You can order a case (containing 100 tortillas) on-line and freeze those that you won't be using immediately. Each burrito-size (8-5"-9") tortilla has 3 grams of fat, of which none is saturated, 21 grams of carbohydrate, of which 15 is fiber, and 8 grams of protein. You can order a case (containing 64 tortillas) on-line and freeze those that you won't be using immediately.

  7. Joe Bread's Lo Carb Bread has only 2.5 grams of available carbohydrate per (rather thin) slice. It is much lighter in texture than I would have imagined, but was not completely satisfying to my taste buds. Its ingredients are wheat gluten, water, flax seed meal, oat flour, egg, baking powder, wheat bran yeast, canola oil, salt, and Splenda. The URL is
    http://www.joebread.com

  8. Trader Joe's Low Carbohydrate Pecan Spice Bread tastes a whole lot better than it sounds! It is more satisfying than Joe Bread's Lo Carb Bread (above). Each slice has only 8 grams of carbohydrate of which 2 grams are fiber.

  9. I knew that someday someone would come out with tasty low-carb chips. Several have come and gone during the low-carb boom years, and this one may remain:
    • Garcia Lo's Tortilla Chips. These are quite tasty and crisp, but have a considerable amount of available carbohydrates. Per ounce they have 9 grams (13 grams of total carbohydrates less 4 grams of fiber). The URL is
      http://www.rwgarcia.com/products/locarb.shtml

    PASTA, SPAGHETTI, AND NOODLES
    It seems like everyone is searching for pasta that is low glycemic. In fact, there are now several good choices on the market:

    1. Crum Creek Mills in Media, Pennsylvania, offers Enriched Spaghetti with Soy Protein with almost twice as much protein as regular pasta (13 grams compared to 7 grams in a standard 2 oz. serving). A serving has 36 grams of carbohydrate, of which 2 grams are fiber, so it is not low carb. But it is low glycemic, according to General Manager Rich Rothman. He tells me that it has a GI of 38 (where white bread = 100) but is not sure who tested it. At any rate, while this spaghetti is a bit chewier than regular spaghetti, it's actually quite good tasting. The URL is
      http://www.crumcreek.com/

    2. Also from Crum Creek Mills is Enriched Penne with Soy Protein with the same nutrition profile as the spaghetti noted above and just as tasty.

    3. Shirataki (sometimes spelled shiratake) noodles have become more widely available than when I first wrote about them here. At that time they were only in Japanese markets.

      But now a correspondent writes that “At least here in California, they are now carried by Wild Oats Markets and Whole Foods Markets. Since the must be refrigerated, they are usually in the dairy or deli section — and most of the people who work in the store don’t know that the store carries them!”

      They are made from the starch of a root known as devil's tongue (kon-nyaku; a type of a yam) and are white in color, almost transparent and gelatinous, and sold in liquid-filled plastic bags. They consist primarily of a glucomannan polysaccharide, plus calcium and are very low glycemic, and therefore especially good for people with diabetes. I enjoy them in chicken noodle soup, although they do feel somewhat rubbery. Others use them in any stir fry. Shirataki are the same as yam cake, but they're sliced into noodles. They're both supposed to absorb tastes of sauces well.

      Jennifer writes of shirataki noodles that, "You just have to heat them up. You don't boil them like conventional noodles. Just drain them and add them the last 5 minutes or so to whatever you've stir fried and wait until they're heated through. I have tried them with a regular tomato pasta sauce, with mushrooms garlic and green peppers. While the texture was bouncier than pasta, I did like that I could "twirl" them round my fork. Just like the ol' days."

      The brand I use is labeled Temaki Shirataki (Alimentary Paste), a product of Japan distributed by Hosada Bros Inc., San Francisco (415-648-7144). The only ingredients are water, yam flour, calcium hydroxide. The nutrition facts show zero calories, zero fat, zero protein, and 18 grams total carbohydrate. Fiber isn't mentioned, but it is obviously the 18 grams of carbohydrate.

    4. Keto Foods and Snacks, a subsidiary of Life Services Supplements Inc. in Neptune, New Jersey, offers many low-carb products, including Keto Pasta. The URL is http://www.lifeservices.com/index.html . Per cup serving It has no fat, 5 grams of carbohydrate, including 1 of fiber, and 24 grams of protein. I found that these shell pastas are quite satisfactory in a bean soup.

    5. ProSlim in Miami Beach is the U.S. subsidiary of Biovita in France. Their Tagliatelle Pasta (and Tomato Tagliatelle Pasta) are both low-carb. The URL is http://www.proslim.net/ . The nutrition profile of both similar. Per 50 gram serving they contain 1.2 gram of fat, of which 0.2 grams is saturated, 8.5 grams of carbohydrate, of which 2.2 (Tagliatelle Pasta) and 2.4 grams (Tomato Tagliatelle Pasta) is fiber, and 32 grams is protein.

      We tried their Tomato Tagliatelle Pasta and found it unsatisfactory. The smell and taste were both off-putting.

    6. The most recent pasta to come to market is Dreamfields. For this please see my separate article at www.mendosa.com/dreamfields_pasta.htm

    BREAKFAST
    Sausages
    One of my favorite breakfasts for years has been two Morningstar Farms Sausage Patties. Each patty has 3 grams of carbohydrate, of which 2 grams is from fiber. They are meatless, made mostly from texturized vegetable protein. I often top them with 2 slices of Soy Kaas, which adds less than a gram of carbohydrate per ounce. The URL is
    http://www.morningstarfarms.com/products/morningstar
    /catalog/profiles/morningstarfarms/breakfastpatties-refrig.html

    Healthy Drink
    Another breakfast alternative is Diabetic Meal Rx, which has no available carbohydrates and almost no fat and tastes delicious. All of the carbohydrates in the product come from fiber, so it is very low glycemic. Years ago I started my day with mixing a powdered drink that was supposedly good for me, but didn't come close to the great ingredients in this drink. Furthermore, Diabetic Meal Rx mixes so easily than you don't need to use a blender. However, I usually add about a half cup of frozen wild blueberries or a whole banana and blend with a hand blender. The URL is
    http://www.prlab.com/diabetic_meal.html

    Bacon and Eggs
    A most satisfying breakfast—and occasional—dinner is this old standby, but with a couple of different twists. Instead of pork bacon—high in saturated fat—try substituting one of the turkey bacon brands you find in your market (cook the bacon strips in the microwave). This won't give you enough fat to fry the eggs. So use extra virgin olive oil or one of the margarines that have no trans fat. I use Smart Balance 67% Buttery Spread. Also appropriate is Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread, which is from the same company. Only the eggs have any carbohydrate. Two large eggs have just over 1 gram of it.

    Cereal

    1. My favorite cereal by far is McCann's Irish Oatmeal. Tasting nothing like the usual Quaker Oats, McCann's Irish Oatmeal is steel-cut instead of rolled. Steel-cut oats are whole grain groats (the inner portion of the oat kernel) which have been cut into only two or three pieces. Rolled oats are flake oats that have been steamed, rolled, re-steamed and toasted. Due to all of this additional processing they have lost some of their natural taste, goodness and texture. There's good reason to believe too that steel-cut oats are lower glycemic than rolled oats because of the larger particle size. The only disadvantages that I can think of are that McCann's Irish Oatmeal is considerably more expensive than Quaker Oats (but still a lot less than meat), and they take longer to prepare. There are other sources of steel-cut oats that are less expensive, but to my taste and to that of Marrion Burros, who evaluated oatmeal for The New York Times on January 5, 2005, McCann's is clearly the best.

      Our usual breakfast is McCann’s steel-cut Irish oatmeal. I love this breakfast. But it took too much time to prepare. Standing at the stove and stirring for almost 30 minutes was too much.

      Times reader Alan Bressler of Billings, Montana, came to our rescue with his letter of January 12 with a simple but brilliant suggestion. He wrote:

      We, too, like McCann’s steel-cut Irish oatmeal. Our simple preparation is to mix all ingredients the night before in a small crockpot. Use a timer on the outlet and cook for four hours before eating time. The results are fantastic, and the oatmeal is waiting as you enter the kitchen in the morning.
      We bought a little timer right away. Initially, the results weren’t good. Our 3.5-quart Crock-Pot was too big for a two-person serving of oatmeal. So be bought a 1.5-quart Crock-Pot, and indeed the results were fantastic. I even wrote Alan a thank you letter.

      Simply, grease the bottom inch or two of the Crock-Pot (using a non-stick cooking oil is a lot easier than the butter recommeded by the Crock Pot book). Dump in 1/2 cup McCann’s steel-cut Irish oatmeal, 2 cups water, some raisins or any other dried fruit, nuts or berries, and a pinch of salt. In the morning serve with sweetener, cinnamon, and milk, half and half, or soymilk. At the table add sliced almonds and/or a banana. There’s no better breakfast.

      See also the company's website at http://www.mccanns.ie.

    2. Another wonderful cereal is Whole Control Golden Barley Cereal. When I want a bowl of hot cereal that is lighter than oatmeal, I go for Whole Control’s Golden Barley Cereal, because it is perfect for people with diabetes. It is really easy to make, tastes great, and is certainly healthy. I serve both the barley cereal and the oatmeal with soymilk, stevia or sucralose, sliced almonds, and cinnamon.

      You probably know that barley is the lowest glycemic grain, even lower GI than oatmeal (porridge). Barley porridge has a GI of about 50.

      Currently Whole Control Golden Barley Cereal is only available on the Whole Control website, but the company hopes to get distribution in Vitamin Cottage, Wild Oats, and Albertson’s in the near future. Whole Control is in Denver, and its toll-free phone is 1 (888) 946-5326.

      Whole Control’s managing partner is Frank Harritt, who was diagnosed in 1987 with type 2 diabetes. Frank brings more than 20 years of successful marketing and sales experience on leading national brands.

      Its barley cereal is $3.95 for a one pound bag or $8.95 for a 2.5 pound bag, which comes to about $.25 per serving — not a bad deal for all the great health benefits.

      The beauty of the Whole Control barley cereal is that, like oatmeal, it addresses blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol — but it has 50 percent more fiber and 30 percent more potassium per serving and an even lower GI.

    Kippered Herring
    Not only delicious and no carb, herring is also one of the foods highest in the essential Omega 3 fish oils. Simply fry some onions (I use a small part of a package of frozen onions for convenience) in oil and when browned, add a can of kippered herring.

LUNCH
Steamed winter vegetables with peanut sauce has everything going for it: This recipe is fast and easy to make, it tastes great, it provides some of the most nutritious vegetables, and is very low glycemic. This has been a favorite of mine ever since I discovered this recipe by Gerri French (who authorized me to reprint it here) in the November 2005 issue of Diabetes Health.

It starts with a simple but wonderful peanut sauce (I double the sauce part of Gerri’s recipe):

  1. 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter with nothing added
  2. 4 tablespoons rice vinegar
  3. 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  4. 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  5. 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  6. 1/2 to 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root (optional)
  7. 1/2 to 2/3 cup water

Mix all the ingredients except for the water in a small saucepan with a wire whisk. Add the water and whisk again. You can add additional water if you want a thinner sauce. Heat until warm and pour over the veggies or serve on the side.

After you’ve whipped up the peanut sauce, cut 1/2 pound of fresh or frozen (fresh is better) broccoli and cauliflower (about 3 cups), into bite size pieces. Now, neither of these veggies — especially broccoli — have been among my favorites, but — wow! — are they ever good with Gerri’s peanut sauce. One secret of steaming broccoli is to bring the water to a boil, insert the steamer basket with the veggies, and cook for exactly 5 minutes. It’s crucial not to overcook broccoli, unless you like mush.

Tuna or salmon and beans is one of my favorite low carb, low GI lunches. Substitute fusilli or rotini pasta and you still have a low GI meal. I know of two excellent sources for the tuna or salmon. An outstanding local source that I have used for years is Dave's Gourmet Albacore. Now, Pelican Packers in Bellingham, Washington, is another small, fisherman-owned and operated custom seafood cannery. Once you taste either brand you will never willingly go back to standard supermarket brands! Take one or two cans of Dave's Alderwood Smoked Salmon or Albacore Tuna or any one or two of the six flavors of Pelican Packers albacore, and one 15 oz. can Eden Organic Black Soy Beans with just 3.5 grams of available carbohydrate/container, washed and drained. Add 1/2 onion finely chopped, a few springs of fresh basil and parsley, dress with 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar and 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, and perhaps salt and pepper to taste. Chopped red pepper is a great optional extra. Serves two or three. The recipe is based on Learning to Cook with Marion Cunningham (New York: Knopf, 1999, p. 64, where she has a higher carb/higher glycemic cannellini bean salad with tuna recipe).

The tender hearts of the terminal bud or young leaf shoots of the cabbage palmetto (Sabal palmetto) is where hearts of palm come from. They are a pale ivory color with a quite mild nutty flavor. They are only 2 percent carbohydrate and are used in salads and main dishes or deep-fried. The hearts of palm we get in the United States are either from Florida or imported from Brazil. They're available fresh only in Florida and in other countries where they're grown. Canned hearts of palm are packed in water, and are available in many supermarkets. Hearts of palm can be used in salads and in main dishes, or deep-fried. Here is a tasty recipe on the can of one brand:

Hearts of Palm with Vinaigrette
Ingredients:
1 can hearts of palm (7.75 ounces drained)
1 white onion, finely chopped
1 tomato, finely chopped
1/3 cup black olives, sliced
1/2 cup cider vinegar (you can substitute white wine or red wine vinegar)
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:
Mix together all ingredients except hearts of palm.
Refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.
Add hearts of palm to mixture, stir, and serve.

Sauerkraut Tacos is a new favorite that I developed after my correspondent, Vicki, convinced me how good sauerkraut is. Sauerkraut is on my Free Foods list with fewer than 2 grams of carbohydrate per a 100 gram portion. I used bottled Eden Organic or Kruüegermann sauerkraut, which is probably lower in sodium than most. Heat about 1 cup in a skillet (about 3 grams of available carbohydrate). While the sauerkraut is getting hot, cook 2 or 3 Shelton's Turkey Breakfast Sausages (no carbohydrates; made from free-ranging turkeys) or microwave 2 or 3 Morningstar Farms Sausage Links or Morningstar Farms Sausage Patties (each is 1 gram of available carbohydrate) for 1.5 minutes. Then, add the sausage (made from TVP) to the heating sauerkraut, cutting each into about 4 pieces. Then, microwave a corn tortilla (9 grams of low-GI carbohydrates) for about 45 seconds on a couple of paper towels. Optional ingredients are Grey Poupon mustard (for the sausages) and caraway or dill seeds or chopped onions (for the sauerkraut). Wrap half or one-third of the ingredients in the tortilla and eat while heating another tortilla. Enjoy.

SNACKS
Chana Hummus
Hummus made from chana dal is very low glycemic and every bit as tasty as traditional hummus, which is made from garbanzo beans. A tried and true recipe is on my site at Chana Hummus.

Radishes
One of my favorite snacks, radishes are both tasty and good for you. They are one of the cruciferous vegetables that offer cancer-protecting potential. I especially love the tangy varieties that are not always available in the market. So this year I am delighted to grow my own radishes and eat them moments after pulling them up. According to the USDA Nutrient Database, 1 large radish has less than 0.2 grams of available carbohydrate.

Crudités (Raw Vegetable Pieces) with Hummus
Not only radishes but also baby carrots, bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, mushrooms, summer squash, and zucchini mate beautifully with hummus, whether chana hummus (above) or a store-bought variety. Unfortunately, almost all hummus dips sold in supermarkets are a poor imitation of the real thing. Only, Trader Joe's Hummus Dip has a superior taste and is made from the right ingredients.

Cheese
Many cheeses are either very low in carbohydrates or have none at all. One of my favorites is a soft and sweet cream cheese called mascarpone. My favorite brand of mascarpone (mas-kaar-PO-ny) is BelGioioso (bel-joy-oso) from BelGioioso Cheese Inc. of Denmark, Wisconsin. It has only 0.5 grams of carbohyrates per ounce. This brand is widely available in upscape supermarkets. The URL is http://www.belgioioso.com/ .

Veggie Slices are both delicious and healthful. Each slice typically has 2 grams of fat, none of which is saturated or partially hydrogenated, 4 grams of protein, and 1 gram of carbohydrates. The flavors include American, Fat Free American, Pepper Jack, Swiss, Mozzarella, Provolone, and Cheddar. These Veggie Slices are sometimes sold as "Veggy Singles," but they are the same thing.

The real problem with snack cheese (and dips) is what sort of cracker to put them on. My new favorite is:

Trader Joe's Soy & Flaxseed Tortilla Chips
These good-tasting chips have about half the carb grams of most tortilla chips, and more protein and fiber. While stone ground yellow corn is the main ingredient, soy grits are second, which means that these chips are almost certainly lower glycemic than regular chips too. The flaxseed are good for you too, once you get over their buglike appearance. My only reservation about these chips is that they are salted, albeit lightly.

The Trader Joe's chips (above) seems to be a private label of R.W. Garcia Soy & Flaxseed Tortilla Chips. Thanks to Charles & Kathy Goldberg for telling me about them. According to the company's website at http://www.rwgarcia.com/ these chips are available in many supermarkets.

Nuts
Of all the nuts and seeds, only peanuts have been tested for their glycemic index. They're very low, 21 where white bread = 100. It happens that a handful of unsalted peanuts roasted in their shell is one of my favorite snacks. A serving of 23 pieces (40 grams or 30 grams nuts without shells) has 6 grams of carbohydrates.

Walnuts are one of the best food sources of omega-3 fatty acids. A serving of 30 grams has 4 grams of carbohydrate of which half is fiber, thus it has 2 grams of available carbohydrate. A serving of that size provides 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acid (linolenic or 18:3 undifferentiated lipid).

In fact, all nuts except chestnuts (all types including water chestnuts) are rather low carb, although not necessarily low GI.

Dry Roasted Edamame (pronounced ay-dah-MAH-may) are soybeans harvested at a fresh green stage (eighty percent maturity). They have a larger seed size, a different flavor, and a more oval shape than either yellow or black soybeans. Edamame are sweet (due to a naturally high sugar content) and buttery. Until recently, edamame was only available frozen, but recently it has become much more widely available. While it may be somewhat higher glycemic than soybeans because of its sugar content, it is probably still quite low. With a GI of 18, soybeans are one of the lowest GI foods ever tested. I especially like Trader Joe's Dry Roasted Edamame Lightly Salted.

ENTREES
Almost all of the recipes linked at the end of my Chana Dal page are very low glycemic entrees, because they are based on one of the most low glycemic foods there is.

Trader Joe's Stir Fry Vegetables has 21 grams of carbs minus 7 gram fiber (i.e., 14 grams available carbohydrate) per 20 oz. package, which will easily serve four. It contains napa cabbage, bok choy, celery, carrots, broccoli, and snow peas already washed and cut up for use, making this by far the easiest stir fry you can make. Add one package of Trader Joe's "Just Chicken Teriyaki," stir fry with extra virgin olive oil, and finish with soy sauce. Tastes great!

Keto Macaroni and Cheese has 3 grams of carbs minus 1 gram fiber (i.e., 4 grams available carbohydrate) per 1 2/3 oz. serving. That's an awfully small serving, but most people wouldn't even want that much. I rate this product barely acceptable.

Trader Joe's

Unless you have a Trader Joe's in your neighborhood you may find it difficult to follow either a low-carb or low-GI diet. A few years ago I would have recommended that the best solution would be to move to California, where Trader Joe's started. Nowadays, however, more people are leaving California than arriving (fewer jobs, high cost of living) and, besides, TJ's (as we lovingly call it) has expanded. You can now find their almost 200 stores in 17 states.

TJ's is a grocery store like no other. First, their prices are hard, if not impossible to beat. The 2,000 items that they sell under their own label each have a special angle. The one drawbacks: the stores are always crowded, and they don't do any mail order business. The company website is http://www.traderjoes.com/

AVAILABLE AND UNAVAILABLE CARBOHYDRATES
The concept that certain carbohydrates are unavailable because our bodies do not utilize and metabolize them is an important one generally and specifically for understanding the glycemic index. I mention it on my Glycemic Index page at http://www.mendosa.com/gi.htm in the section "What about Portion Size? And how is GI Determined?"

Unavailable carbohydrates are what we call fiber. In the United States fiber is included in carbohydrates, so a determination of the amount of available carbohydrate requires that we subtract out the fiber. The problem is that in some other parts of the world fiber is not included in carbohydrates. This can lead to incorrect assumptions about certain imported foods.

The clearest explanation comes from a report by the "FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on Carbohydrates in Human Nutrition at http://www.fao.org/es/esn/carboweb/carbo.pdf . In an obscure footnote to a table on page 43 the report says:

Most countries in Africa, Asia, and North America calculate carbohydrate 'by difference'. Most countries in Europe and Oceania analyse carbohydrate directly. Values for Europe and Oceania therefore do not contain unavailable carbohydrate, while values for Africa, Asia and North America do. Method of deriving carbohydrate is rarely given.

The manufacturers of Keto products and some other people use the term "effective carbohydrates." Whatever you call it, this is the same thing as available carbohydrates.

Web Sites
Several Web sites now offer low-carb foods. They include:


This article originally appeared on Mendosa.com on August 9, 2001.


Last modified: October 26, 2012

[Go Back] Go back to Home Page

[Go Back]Go back to Diabetes Directory

Advertisment
Never Miss An Update!
I comply with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. You can verify my HONcode certificate here.