At our RISE s (Arena of Real Change) in Macclesfield, one of the things we do in every Group Personal Training session is to ask the members if they have any questions.

Questions about anything to do with the journey they are on with us.

We want them to not only fully understand our L.E.A.N. System (Lifestyle, Exercise, Adherence and Nutrition), but be equipped with all the tools we and other members can share to help them on the way.

We endeavor to give an answer to all questions in the club then and there. We also actively encourage members to share knowledge and, even more importantly, share their experiences.

After all, hearing how another person in a very similar situation to you overcame their ‘sweet tooth’ or what they do to make eating healthily with a family easier carries a lot more weight then just hearing it just from the trainer who may be 20 years younger then your and have a very different life.

This shared experience is a key component of what we do.

A recent question was ‘Why can’t I eat potatoes’.

Firstly, I would say you can.

We would never tell you what to do. Just give you information that will help you make an informed choice.

There are two reasons we might suggest someone who is looking to lose weight would benefit from removing potatoes from their diet:

1. The have a high glycemic index

2. They are so ubiquitous in the modern diet, so removing them is a bigger win then removing, say parsnips, which have a similar GI but we don’t eat any where nearly as much of.


The glycemic index (GI) is a ranking of carbohydrates on a scale from 0 to 100 according to the extent to which they raise blood sugar levels after eating. Foods with a high GI are those which are rapidly digested and absorbed and result in marked fluctuations in blood sugar levels.

Low-GI foods, by virtue of their slow digestion and absorption, produce gradual rises in blood sugar and insulin levels, and have proven benefits for health. Low GI diets have been shown to improve both glucose and lipid levels in people with diabetes (type 1 and type 2).

They have benefits for weight control because they help control appetite and delay hunger. Low GI diets also reduce insulin levels and insulin resistance.

You can read more about Insulin and it’s effects on body fat levels at myrise.co.uk/members/insulin.

You can use the search page at www.glycemicindex.com/foodSearch.php to find lower GI foods.

Whilst the official definition of low GI is less then 55 and High GI is above 55, that doesn’t really sit well with us. Is something with a GI of 54 really much different to something with a GI of 56?

We generally advise going as low GI as possible whilst keeping a good balance of natural foodstuffs and getting sufficient vitamins, minerals, etc.

I personally wouldn’t dream of giving something with a GI over 60 to myself or my children.

Sugary foods are always High GI and we would ALWAYS advise avoiding them to help with your weight loss.

We would also advise removing potatoes – and bread and pasta. None of these food stuffs have anything good in them that can’t be obtained elsewhere in a balanced diet and removing them will have a big impact on steadying your blood sugar levels.

We’d also recommend not having fruit as a stand alone. It’s find as part of a balanced meal (as a pudding perhaps), but on it’s own it will cause an elevation of your Insulin levels.

If you’re missing your potatoes, try sweet potatoes as a lower GI substitute.

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Jon Hall
Jon Hall

When not helping people to transform their lives and bodies, Jon can usually be found either playing with his kids or taxi-ing them around. If you'd like to find out more about what we do at RISE then enter your details in the box to the right or bottom of this page or at myrise.co.uk - this is the same way every single one of the hundreds who've described this as "one of the best decisions I've ever made" took their first step.