Where the Typical Gluten Free Diet Fails

Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load
My first experience gluten free relied heavily upon internet recipes featuring the canonical prescriptions of rice, potatoes, tapioca, millet and the like. These foods are indeed gluten free, but as I would soon experience in a diabetic crash, they are very high useless carbohydrates with little fiber and sky high glycemic index (g.i.). A true healthy celiac diet must be gluten free but I do not think it needs to be dependent on low quality genetically modified high g.i. grains to be GF and pratical. Personally, I am a loose follower of the Paleo Diet since I am a strong protein and (good) fat metabolic type. I do eat beans and corn, but I like to rely on flax, hemp, coconut, almond, and garbanzo flours for myself in general since all of these are low net carb and low g.i. In my other cooking I stick to GF flours which are more economical and still high fiber per carb and low fat count, such as brown rice flours, buckwheat, quinoa, blue corn meal, and rice bran.

Some basic research into my hypoglycemic diabetic reaction to the prepackaged GF spice cake mix revealed the popular buzz about the importance of the glycemix index and load in diet. A great reference website for a list of g.i. of typical foods is at: http://www.mendosa.com/gilists.htm

Best Choices:
  1. Brown rice over white rice: cook long grain organic varieties for lowest G.I. and to avoid genetically modified rice strains (GMO)
  2. purple or red potatoes over white potatoes
  3. fresh kernel corn or frozen corn
    • over canned creamed corn
  4. bean flours (garbanzo, fava, soy- except soy has many health drawbacks, etc), nuts flours (almond, hazelnut, etc), coconut flour, hemp, ground flax, quinoa (ground or flakes), rice bran, teff, and amaranth
    • instead of white rice flour, potato flour, or white or yellow cornmeal/flour
  5. fresh nuts and seeds
  6. high fiber organic beans: black soy beans (low carb, high fiber and protein), black beans, garbanzos
  7. Flax and bean flour based pizza crusts, breads, muffins, cakes, etc
  8. lentils over rice or potatoes
*** Adding acidic foods (citrus, organic apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar), good fats (flax, walnuts, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, hemp), and fiber (include the peel!) all lower the glycemic index of your food.


  1. Great Site! So much great info. Nice job! I to am on a low carb diet. I found a great low carb fruit and vegetable supplement that assimilates slowly and naturally and is made of organic raw food! That was the only dilema I had with keeping the sugars down.

  2. Hi Ed,

    Thanks! - glad you like our blog :) Your supplement sounds interesting, where can I read about it? I'm curious to see what is it in since many fruits and vegetables are naturally high carb, although some have higher concentrations of fiber which acts to reduce the glycemic impact.

    I like the premise of your blog, by the way. I'll be reading :)


  3. Hi,

    What are your thoughts on millet? Recently, it seems like many gf bloggers are using it. Thanks, and good luck with your wedding planning!


  4. Hi M!
    I have never used millet due to its high glycemic impact and load. I prefer buckwheat, coconut, sometimes almond, brown rice, and hemp flours instead. Quinoa flour is great also, but it can cook differently, so it depends on your recipe. I don't use any white rice flour or refined gf flours or potato starch (anymore). I hear many gf bloggers love millet, but I try to watch the glycemic impact of all of our foods since too many sugars and grains are among the more damaging diet-side things you can do to your own health.
    What are you looking at cooking? If you want a pastry type item, the coconut flour cut with brown rice flour would be a better fiber/GI choice than the millet, white rice, or sweet rice or potato based flours. They all have their baking quirks though, so it depends on the dish. I hope this helps! Check out the glycemic lists and see what your body can tolerate, mine's a bit picky :)
    (Remember you can add and combine healthy fats, cinnamon, and acidic ingredients to help buffer higher GI grains and foods if you still prefer the higher GI flours)

  5. thanks for your tips:-)

    i'm vegetarian and gluten-intolerant (among other things) and have recently been advised by my doctor to shift to a low g.i. diet - trying to juggle these competig demands and still enjoy my food is tricky!

    i'm a big fan of besan flour, buckwheat flour, brown rice flour and quinoa and virtually never use the pre-mix gluten free flours.

  6. great site thank you some interesting comments- i work as a Dietitian specializing in low Gi diets - i absolutely agree there are far too many GF products which are high GI - yet there are many Diabetics who use them - we need more lower GI replacements making it easier for the consumer

  7. I was diagosed with impaired glucose tolerance earlier this year (pre-diabetes due to PCOS) and have been following a low GI eating plan, only to find out a few weeks ago that I am wheat/gluten sensitive (and egg/cows milk too!). I started looking at gluten free options and was dismayed by all the high carbs and lack of fiber I'm finding. Thank you for posting the better alternative flours. Luckily, I'm not that attached to baked goods, pancakes, and bread, I've always considered them a special treat. But I do want to be knowledgeable of my options when I want to bake cookies or make waffles!

  8. the add additional items to make food more low GI is very interesting and I woud like to share that data with a phsyician. How does it do that?

  9. Brown rice is the best. I feel so good after eating it, and full for a long period of time. I'm with you, I hate the diabetic crash that comes from most foods I used to eat. I didn't know Garbanzo beans were good on the glycemic index. That's great news because I love hummus!!

  10. Thanks for the information. It is very important when we keep a diet to know the GI of foods.

  11. Have you found a low to moderate GI yet GF flour mixture that can be made at home and works well?


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