1 October 2007

GI News—October 2007


This month in ‘Food for Thought’, Prof Mike Archer serves up lean, green and good for your heart fare for farming Australia in a healthier way for people and planet alike: one that won’t suck up scarce water resources for unsustainable monoculture or blow any productivity left in the soil out to sea. Jill Dupleix shares her true life tips to lighten up, lose weight and keep it off in What's New? We also look at why giving young children ‘diet’ foods could make them fat and that hardy perennial ... combining carbs and protein. There are three new low GI recipes, our pick of the crop (Asian greens), new GI values for broad beans and muesli, plus Uncle Toby's joins the GI Symbol Program, and of course our answers to your questions.

Good eating, good health and good reading,


GI News Editor: Philippa Sandall
Web Design and Management: Scott Dickinson, PhD

Food for Thought

Kangaroo meat – lean, green, clean and good for your heart
‘Kangaroos are of particular importance to Australia’s conservation and economic future, not only for their biological significance and iconic status, but because of their special value as a source of meat,’ says Prof Mike Archer, Dean of Science at the University of New South Wales.

Prof Mike Archer

‘Most of the world’s meat production is based on a relatively small number of species with a long history of domestication. Opportunities to introduce new species to the pantry of an increasingly hungry world are few, but kangaroo is definitely one of them. It is abundant – probably far more so than when Europeans arrived in Australia – and it breeds in perfect synchronisation with Australia’s drought-and-flood climate cycle. When things ain’t right, roos sit tight, but when good times come they breed prolifically.

The soft-footed, environment friendly kangaroo has a venerable and safe history of being a rich source of protein. It is a very nutritious and tasty meat which is 98% fat free. Even its very modest fat content consists mainly of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats and it is very low in cholesterol. In a world increasingly worrying about food safety issues in relation to farming cattle, sheep and pigs, kangaroos have growing appeal – there is no such thing as ‘mad kangaroo disease’. As well, they are not only free-range in origin, but have never been dosed with antibiotics, hormones or pesticides.

If graziers (farmers), to whatever extent, could shift from total dependence on cattle and sheep, with their attendant economic and health risks, to committing part of their grazing lands to native bush and grasslands stocked with kangaroos, there should be benefits in all directions. Kangaroos would gain in population size, distribution, and security by being valued by graziers instead of being regarded as pests. Other native species should benefit, too, because the grazier needs a healthy, biodiverse bush to sustainably produce harvestable native resources. Graziers gain through a long-term broadening of their resource base, making their incomes overall more resilient to environmental and market disasters. Consumers gain because they have a wider range of healthy natural products available to them in the markets.’
– Excerpted from Prof. Michael Archer’s and Bob Beale’s (now out-of-print) book, Going Native


GI Group: A wide range of kangaroo cuts like fillet, mince, diced kangaroo and kangaroo steak are on the Australian Heart Foundation’s TICK Shopping List and available Australia-wide in supermarkets, and exported world wide (not to the US).

For more information
Recipes, cooking tips, nutrition: www.macromeats.com
Sustainable wild harvesting: www.fate.unsw.edu.au
Contact: Peter Ampt: p.ampt@unsw.edu.au

GI News Briefs

Giving kids diet foods and drinks may fuel obesity
Research published in a recent issue of Obesity reports that a young rat can be made to overeat when it’s given low-calorie foods and drinks on a daily basis. It may be a big leap to say the same thing happens in our kids, but lead author Dr David Pierce from the University of Alberta says: ‘Parents need to know that based on what we've learned, it is better for children to eat healthy, well-balanced diets with sufficient calories for their daily activities rather than low-calorie snacks or meals. Children who consume low-calorie versions of foods that are normally high in calories may develop distorted connections between taste and calorie content, leading them to overeat as they grow up.’

In the study, baby rats (4 weeks old) were conditioned over 16 days to associate certain sweet or salty flavours with low calorie foods. When they were subsequently given high calorie foods with the same flavors, they pigged out. Adolescent rats (8 weeks old) fed diet foods did not display the same tendency to overeat. The researchers believe the older rats did not overeat because they, unlike the younger rats, relied on a variety of taste-related cues to correctly assess the energy value of their food.
Obesity 15:1969–1979 (2007); Correspondence to dpierce@ualberta.ca


Heart smart eating starts young
When young children learn about heart healthy eating habits, it influences their heart disease risk later in life reports a new study in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. Results from the Turku Coronary Risk Factor Intervention Project found that reducing intake of saturated fat was a major factor.

Dr Harri Niinikoski, lead author and a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of Turku in Finland, says: ‘T
he aim of the diet counselling in our study was not to reduce the total number of fat calories in the diet, but to shift the child's intake from saturated toward unsaturated fats and have cholesterol intakes of less than 200 mg.’ Key dietary changes included replacing butter with soft margarine and liquid oils, making changes to the type of milk the children drank and encouraging them to eat vegetables, fruits, berries, and whole grain foods. The intervention group (540 children and their families) were given intensive diet counselling to help them keep total intake of fat at 30% to 35% of daily calories, the ratio of saturated fat to unsaturated fats at 1:2, and cholesterol intake to less than 200 milligrams daily; the control group (522 children and family members) were only given basic advice. The study found that intensive counselling really paid off and had a favourable effect on saturated fat intake and serum total and LDL cholesterol concentrations for children even during pre-puberty and puberty when eating away from home is a regular event.
Circulation 2007. 116: 1032-1040.

Blood pressure drugs blunt impact of diabetes

A fixed combination of two blood pressure lowering drugs a blood vessel relaxant called perindopril with 1.25 mg of a diuretic called indapamide reduced the risk of serious illness and death from cardiovascular disease, even in patients without high blood pressure according to findings from the ADVANCE (Action in Diabetes and Vascular Disease) Study.

A total of 11,140 people with diabetes (half of whom had high blood pressure) from 215 medical centres in 20 countries took part in the four-year trial. Each was given either a placebo or the blood pressure medication. At the end of the trial, deaths from cardiovascular disease were 4.6% in the placebo group and 3.8% among those taking the pill, a relative reduction of 18%. Stephen MacMahon, a professor of cardiology at the University of Sydney's George Institute, where the trial was coordinated said: ‘We gave blood pressure lowering therapy to patients with diabetes irrespective of whether their blood pressure was high in the beginning. Previously, virtually every study has been in patients with hypertension, but a high proportion of diabetics don't have hypertension. This study suggests there's a case for considering this treatment routinely for patients with type 2 diabetes.’
– Presented at ESC Congress 2007 in Vienna to coincide with a report published online in the Lancet; Press release


If you have diabetes, thiamin may improve your vascular health
People with diabetes have a lot less thiamin (vitamin B1) than healthy people according to a study by the University of Warwick and it’s not because they don’t eat enough foods that contain it. The shortfall occurs because when thiamin passes through their kidneys, it’s not reabsorbed back into their blood as it is in healthy people. The study published in Diabetologia compared 26 type 1 and 48 type 2 people with diabetes with 20 healthy people (the controls). Because a shortage of vitamin B1 is linked to an increase in an inflammation marker related to vascular complications, lead researcher Prof Paul Thornalley suggests that a vitamin B1 supplement could work alongside conventional glucose controls. Further trials are underway.
Diabetologica, August 2007


GI Group: What’s thiamin and where do you find it?
Thiamin (vitamin B1) is a water soluble vitamin essential for carbohydrate metabolism and the release of energy from food and for the proper functioning of the heart and nervous system. The best food sources are yeast extract spreads (like Vegemite or Marmite), wheatgerm, wheat bran, nuts, fortified breakfast cereals, liver, kidney, lean pork, peas, wholemeal flour, wholemeal and grainy breads and sesame seeds.

Gestational diabetes nearly doubles obesity risks
Treating diabetes during pregnancy can break the link between gestational diabetes and childhood obesity, according to Dr Teresa Hillier writing in the September issue of Diabetes Care. The Kaiser Permanente's Center for Health Research Northwest and Hawaii study showed that children of mothers with untreated gestational diabetes were 89 percent more likely to be overweight and 82 percent more likely to be obese by age 7 than children born to mothers with normal blood sugar. The good news is that the study also discovered that the children of women treated for gestational diabetes were no more likely to be overweight or obese than other children. The study included 9,439 women from about 10 ethnic groups. Researchers analysed the health records of mother-child pairs for children born between 1995 and 2000. The pregnant women were screened for gestational diabetes. The researchers then weighed the children when they were between age five and seven which is when a child's weight is a strong predictor of adult obesity.
Diabetes Care 30:2287-2292, 2007


Low GI Food of the Month

Asian greens
There are many reasons to tuck into Asian greens. To start with they are crunchy, delicious and nutritious. And if that’s not enough, they are extremely easy to prepare, quick to cook and versatile – simply steam them, add them to stir-fries, soups or even casseroles. They are part of the same cruciferous celeb family (the brassicas) as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower. Like these, they are rich in vitamin C and folate and provide you with minerals like potassium, calcium, zinc, manganese, magnesium and some iron and antioxidants like beta-carotene. If you still need a nudge to try them in your cooking, they have a couple of key attributes that spell benefits for weight loss and blood glucose management being low in kilojoules and a good source of fibre.


Here are some tips on using Asian greens in your cooking from Dr Jenny Ekman of the NSW Department of Primary Industries

  • Buk choy is like two vegetables in one – juicy crunchy edible stems and dark green leaves with a mild peppery flavour. Wash and chop leaves and stems before cooking. When stir frying or steaming, add stems first as they take a little longer to cook. Pak choy is a green stemmed variety with a sweet mild texture that’s great in a stir fry, added to soup or simply steamed. Baby buk choy is used in a similar way to pak choy, but you can serve it whole.
  • Choy sum has a mild flavour, crunchy stems and soft leaves. Wash and chop the whole bunch and stir fry or steam or add to soups, stews and even a curry. Baby choy sum is the dwarf version.
  • Gai choy (Chinese mustard) is the one with the peppery bite. There are numerous varieties: some have thick stems and large crinkly leaves, others are small and delicate and can be added raw to salads.
  • Gai lan (Chinese broccoli) has robust, dark-green leaves and sometimes small, edible broccoli-like florets with flowers. You can eat the lot— stems, leaves and flowers can all be stir fried, steamed or added to soups and casseroles. Cut thick stems in half and add before the leaves as they take longer to cook.
  • Wombok’s (Chinese cabbage) mild flavour and crunchy texture makes it perfect for coleslaw, cabbage wraps, stir fries, and soups.

Low GI Recipes of the Month

Our chef Kate Hemphill develops delicious recipes for GI News that showcase seasonal ingredients and make it easy for you to prepare healthy low GI meals and snacks. For more of Kate’s seasonal fare, check out: www.lovetocook.co.uk

Kate Hemphill

Simple Summer Spaghetti
As the seasons change and some of our readers are heading into spring, and others into Fall, everyone can enjoy the taste of summer with this fresh, simple and delicious recipe. The garlic and parsley should be very fresh and the pasta al dente. Chilli flakes are the ‘not too heavy not too light’ part of the chilli story – they soften quickly and add flashes of brightness. Researchers from the University of Tasmania found that eating a meal containing chopped chilli reduced the amount of insulin required to bring down postmeal blood glucose levels.
Enough for 4 for a light meal or accompaniment

photo: Kate Hemphill

200 g good quality dried spaghetti
1 large clove garlic, crushed
6 heaped tablespoons very finely chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes (optional)
2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
salt (optional)

  • Cook the spaghetti in a large saucepan of boiling water until al dente, following packet instructions and testing 1–2 minutes before the end of cooking time. Drain in a colander but do not rinse. Return the spaghetti to the hot saucepan over a low heat, add all other ingredients and stir well for 2 minutes.
  • Season to taste and serve immediately with a big green salad tossed in a vinaigrette dressing.
Per serve (4 portions)
kJ/Cal 1127/269; Protein 7 g; Fat 11 g (includes saturated 2 g) Carbohydrate 34 g; Fibre 2.5 g

Lavender and honey frozen yoghurt
I love ice cream, but there's quite a bit of guilt associated with eating it! I also love yoghurt and honey, so this manages to be a lot healthier than ice cream and also really tasty and you don't need an ice cream machine to blend it. Don't worry if you can't find lavender flowers, it's just as nice without (well, almost). I use 0% fat Greek yoghurt that's just as thick as normal. You can use low fat yoghurt, as long as it's still a thick Greek yoghurt, not one of those runny ones. Use pure floral honey if you can.
Serves 6–8 (just a scoop)


3 eggs, separated
250 g plain low-fat Greek yoghurt
50 g runny honey
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon crushed dried lavender flowers
  • Mix the yoghurt with the honey, cinnamon and lavender in a bowl. Add the egg yolks and stir to combine.
  • In a separate clean bowl, whisk egg whites until a stiff peak forms. Fold the egg whites into the yoghurt mixture and mix gently, yet thoroughly. Pour into one large, or several small prepared moulds. Freeze until set (at least 4 hours).
  • Remove from freezer to fridge 20 minutes before serving to soften slightly.
Per serve (8 portions)
kJ/Cal 284/68; Protein 5 g; Fat 2 g (includes saturated 0.7 g) Carbohydrate 7 g

This next recipe for when those big flat field mushrooms are in season is from a new book on spices and herbs.

Roasted mushrooms with ajowan
Choose mushrooms that are about the same size so you can fit 8 on a baking tray. To prepare the mushrooms, just wipe them with a damp cloth and save the stems to use in stuffings, soups or stock. If you want to reduce the fat, replace the chilli oil dressing for the rocket with a low fat vinaigrette and a dash of chilli oil.
Serves 4 (allowing 2 mushrooms each)


½–1 teaspoon chilli powder, depending how hot you like it
3 tablespoons olive oil
8 large field mushrooms, stems removed
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons poly or monounsaturated margarine, cut into 8 squares
1 teaspoon ajowan seeds
sea salt (optional)
4 handfuls wild rocket
cracked pepper to taste
  • Preheat the oven to 150°C (325°F) and lightly oil a baking tray or shallow ovenproof dish large enough to hold 8 mushrooms. Mix chilli with the olive oil and set aside to allow the flavour to develop while you prepare the mushrooms.
  • Place a little crushed garlic and a tiny piece of margarine in the centre of each mushroom, then sprinkle each with just a pinch of ajowan and a little salt if using.
  • Arrange the mushrooms face up on the baking tray and bake for 15 minutes or until heated through.
  • Rinse the rocket well under running water; drain, gently pat dry and toss in the chilli oil. Place a mound of rocket on each plate, and serve with two mushrooms and cracked pepper.
Per serve (4 portions)
kJ/Cal 708/169; Protein 3 g; Fat 16 g (includes saturated 2 g) Carbohydrate 2 g; Fibre 2 g


– From Sticks, Seeds, Pods and Leaves: A cook’s guide to culinary spices and herbs by Ian and Liz Hemphill.

Busting Food Myths

Carbs and protein shouldn’t be eaten together
Popular nutritional myths exist about food combining – the theory that certain foods should not be eaten together, especially carbohydrates such as bread, potato and grains with proteins such as meat or fish. The theory also suggests that fruit should not be combined with anything.

There is no sound basis for these ideas, says nutritionist Dr Rosemary Stanton. If food combining theories were true, the human race would not have survived to this point, as many basic foods contain a combination of proteins and carbohydrates in the one food. This applies to foods such as beans, grains, seeds, nuts and breast milk. The only possible advantage to a diet that promotes these theories is that it might encourage people to eat more fruit and possibly eat less overall. But there is no evidence to support the notion that some foods should be separated. Every major cuisine in the world combines protein and carbohydrates on the same plate, from the traditional meat and potatoes, to Asian stir fry chicken with rice, Middle Eastern couscous with lamb and the Mediterranean use of bread with all meals. It is also a total myth that fruit should be eaten on its own. Fruit is the perfect complement to every meal.


When combining counts
  • Some nutrients are absorbed better if they are combined with others. For example, the iron in breakfast cereals, bread and legumes such as dried beans or chick peas is absorbed much better if fruit or vegetables which contain vitamin C are eaten in the same meal.
Food combinations to avoid
  • There are some foods which do not combine well. Tea prevents iron absorption, so it is best to drink it between meals rather than with food, unless the tea is weak.
  • Minerals such as calcium and iron compete for absorption, and the body does not properly absorb them when combined. If calcium or iron supplements are taken, iron tablets should be taken with meals and calcium should be taken just before going to bed. Nutrients are generally absorbed better from foods rather than supplements, and you'll find iron in meat or legumes plus seeds, grains and nuts. Calcium can be obtained from dairy products or calcium enriched soy beverages.
– Rosemary Stanton’s latest book, Healthy Eating for Australian Families includes over 170 recipes (many deliciously combining protein and carbohydrate like Lamb Kibbeh or Pork with Pears and Juniper Berries). Suitable for people with diabetes and a handy reference for parents, it's available in Australia, USA and the UK from major bookstores and Amazon.


Your Success Stories

‘Tomorrow I am running a half marathon and the glycemic index helped get me there!’ – Tricia
‘I was so sad when I read the August newsletter and read how unreceptive the diabetic association was to the glycemic index. I am a firm believer in the GI because it has changed my life. I am a runner and I found that as I was training and trying “fad” diets at the same time, I was getting migraines about once a week. I was really tired all the time and often had a nap in the middle of the day. Then one day I found the GI. I started putting it into practice right away. One of the things I love about the GI is it is so simple. I followed the recommendations for athletes, and ate low glycemic before a workout and higher after. It has not only gotten rid of my headaches, but it has also increased my endurance in running. I feel healthier and I have so much energy. I tell everyone I know about the GI, because it just makes sense to me. It has become a healthy lifestyle for me and my family. Tomorrow I am running a half marathon and the glycemic index helped get me there! Keep up the good work!’


‘It feels so good to go about my work and not constantly be wishing I had chocolate or a Dr Pepper.’ – Shirley
‘I never had a problem in my life with weight until I went through menopause. All my life I weighed around 120–123 pounds. Even after each of my three boys, I returned to my normal weight because my doctor always told me you can gain this amount to get back to your pre-pregnancy weight quickly. I never gained more that I was allowed. I am 5’ 5”. I always weighed myself daily and if I had gained a bit, I left something off that day to get back to my usual weight. Later in my 40s I started walking six days a week. Cutting back just a bit on food and walking would take anything I gained off immediately. Then I entered that menopause stage and gradually started putting the weight on. It seemed nothing I did would help. I constantly craved sweets (chocolate) and started drinking an occasional soft drink which I had never done before. Before I knew it my weight was up to 165. I was devastated. I was tired, felt frumpy and was just generally in bad sorts most of the time.

Then came the low fat diet, the low carb diet, weigh only once a week, etc., and I tried them all which just seemed to compound things. I have fought with my weight for 12 to 15 years now, so frustrated because as hard as I tried nothing seemed to work even the three miles a day I’ve continued to walk. I was just about to the point that I had accepted I would never be back to my normal weight again. About one month ago I really started to pay attention to all the information I was getting in the mail and seeing on the Internet about eating low GI. Maybe ... just maybe. I had no idea what it meant or how to do it but I started researching on the Internet and found that what I was reading made a lot of sense. I found the www.glycemicindex.com website and started researching the GI and found that there were actually a lot of foods that I really liked and thought I could eat on a regular basis so I started putting my diet together from reasonably sized portions of just things that I liked that had a low GI. Later I borrowed some books from the library and know that I still have much to learn.


I have eaten fish three or four times a week, chicken, broccoli, beans of all kinds, cabbage, asparagus, raw spinach salads, green beans. I’ve eaten apples, oranges, peaches, grapes, strawberries and cherries. I eat some peanuts but mostly whole raw almonds. I’ve eaten only 100% whole wheat bread and pumpernickel. For breakfast I’ve had oatmeal (my one failing I still have to have just a bit of sugar in my oatmeal) with whole wheat toast, whole wheat toast with jelly sweetened with juice rather than sugar, granola, an occasional boiled egg and I always eat some kind of fruit with whatever I have for any meal. I snack on plain puffed wheat or oats, eat grapes, strawberries, dried plums or cherries, a piece of whole wheat bread or a cup of low-fat yoghurt. I do not let myself get really hungry but I have started to be able to feel when I’m hungry and I had not had that feeling in years. I probably eat five or six times a day. I have now had no soft drinks in a month, my candy has been once or twice a week a treat of five dark chocolate peanut M&Ms just so I don’t feel totally deprived. Normally I would have gone through a bag of M&Ms in a day or two once it was open. My cravings for these things seem to be completely gone. I have always drank lots of water all my life which I continue now, often I drink it with a little vinegar or some slices of lemon squeezed into it, and black coffee at breakfast .

I have now lost 10 pounds in the last month. I started the GI at 158 pounds and weighed 148 when I got on the scales this morning and can tell a definite difference in the way my jeans and shorts fit in the waist. I am so excited. I am eating so many simple things that I like to eat and am now ready to start branching out and finding some of the recipes like what I’ve found on this site and others. I do believe that I can eat this way indefinitely. It feels so good to go about my work and not constantly be wishing I had chocolate or a Dr Pepper, and I am so excited that I again have hope that I can get back down to my 120–123 pounds.’

Inspire others. Share your GI story.
success story

We'll send you a free copy of The Low GI Diet Cookbook or The Low GI Vegetarian Cookbook if your story is published.


Move It & Lose It with Professor Trim

Fighting colds with exercise

Dr Garry Egger aka Prof Trim

If you have diabetes and are more prone to colds and flu, here’s another way to protect yourself during cold and flu season. Researchers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle (American Journal of Medicine, October 2006) found post-menopausal women who work out regularly seem to catch about half the colds of those who don’t. Over 12 months, 115 overweight women either participated in a moderate exercise program – 45 minutes a day, five days a week, mostly brisk walking, or they took part in 45-minute stretching sessions once a week. In the final three months of the study, the risk of colds was three times higher in the stretchers than the exercisers. An even more positive side of exercise for people with diabetes is that it tends to ‘soak up’ blood glucose to be used in muscular contractions and therefore reduces the cause of the problem, i.e. high blood glucose.


– Click for more information on Professor Trim.

Books, DVDs, Websites: What’s New?

Lighten Up: A healthy new way to cook
Jill Dupleix

This is not a diet book. As former Times cookery editor, food writer and author of 14 cookbooks Jill Dupleix says in her introduction, it’s for ‘people who love their food but want to be healthy. It’s a way of moving your kitchen, your cooking and your eating to a lighter place.’

What’s so great about this book is that it is based on a true life story. Well, two stories – Jill’s and her husband Terry’s. It’s packed with the kinds of foods and recipes that helped her husband (restaurant critic Terry Durack) lose six stone (38 kg) and Keep It Off! Jill sees her lighter style of cooking as low GI rather than low carb or low fat and making good choices. Here’s how Jill and Terry learned how to change lifelong (bad) habits and start new (good) ones.

  • Eat for pleasure, flavour and health, not for weight loss
  • Start the day with oats. Eat porridge in winter and Swiss style muesli in summer and you won’t be hungry for hours.
  • Eat more fish, chicken, salads and vegetables and less red meat, pork, pasta and potatoes.
  • Forget what your mother told you and don’t finish everything on your plate.
  • Beware of 4 pm when blood glucose levels dip. Snack on fruit and nuts instead of chocolate and crisps.
  • It’s not all about food. Walk instead of drive. Take the stairs instead of an escalator. Move instead of sit. Get enough sleep.
  • When you eat bread, eat good bread – sourdough, wholemeal or rye.
  • Don’t cut anything out, just cut everything down.
  • Steam instead of grill; grill instead of roast; roast instead of fry; and pan-fry instead of deep-fry.
  • Drink better, drink less and drink only with the evening meal.
Lighten Up is available in the UK, Australia and the US from major books stores and Amazon.


Dr David’s Tips for Raising Healthy Kids

TV ground rules
Of the many factors that contribute to excessive weight gain in kids, TV may be the most influential. It certainly takes time away from active pursuits from playing sports to simply playing. But it also contributes through the mouth. A recent report from Australia published in Health Promotion International (31 August 2007) that surveyed 18,000 students reported that teenagers who watch several hours of television on a school day are consuming large amounts of chips (crisps) chocolate and high-energy drinks. Here are some tips to deprogram the kids and set some ground rules that apply to everyone in the family.

Dr David Ludwig

  • Limit viewing to 2 hours a day (good), 1 hour a day (better) 30 minutes a day (best).
  • Take the TV out of your child’s bedroom (and your own) and turn it off during mealtimes.
  • Keep a log of viewing habits and review it each week. Whenever any family member turns the telly on (this includes parents), they write down what they watch and for how long.
  • Make TV watching dependent on a physical activity such as walking on a treadmill or riding a stationery bike. Linking TV viewing to physical activity neutralises two of the three ways that TV contributes to obesity: decreased calorie expenditure and mindless eating. Leaving you only with the food ads themselves to contend with!
  • Make sure that any snacking in front of TV is mindful not mindless – snacks have to be real food not fake food, they have to be on the weekly ‘options’ list (see September GI News) and the kids have to prepare the snacks themselves not just open a packet. Who knows they may have so much fun in the kitchen they’ll forget about the TV.
For a healthy, mindful snack the kids will enjoy making and eating, try these Tiny Corn Tarts from Dr Jenny O’Dea’s Positive Food for Kids.

Tiny Corn Tarts
12 slices low GI grainy bread
1 egg
2 tablespoons reduced-fat milk
440 g (14 oz) can creamed corn (or baked beans or mushrooms), heated

  • Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F). Cut circles from the sliced bread (you'll probably only get one per slice) to fit into a lightly greased patty pan or 12-hole (1/3 cup) muffin pan. (The leftover bread can be used to make fresh low GI breadcrumbs.)
  • Beat the egg and milk in a bowl. Brush both sides of the 12 bread circles with the milk mixture and press into the patty pan. Bake until crisp and golden (about 10 to 15 minutes).
  • Leave to cool a little in the pan then fill with warmed creamy corn or baked beans – allowing 2–3 per person. Store leftover ‘bread cases’ in a cookie jar to fill with what you fancy another day.
– Dr David Ludwig is Director of the Optimal Weight for Life (OWL) program at Children’s Hospital Boston and author of Ending the Food Fight.

Feedback—Your FAQs Answered

What’s the GI of …
Pappadums (Indian crisp bread)
A number of Indian breads (chapattis) have been GI tested, but not pappadums. They are traditionally made with a lentil and rice flour combo and then fried but you can microwave them (brush them with oil first). A single large Patak's pappadum (15 cm/6 in diameter) has 4 g carbohydrate which would not have much effect on your blood glucose on its own. However, they are very more-ish. So keep portions moderate (just eat one or two) and make sure with your Indian meal you serve a lower GI rice such as Moolgiri (which carries the GI Symbol) or basmati.


Sago hasn’t been GI tested. It’s rather granular like tapioca, and described as ‘small balls or pellets of starch’. It is made from the sago palm (not cassava like tapioca) and used in starchy milk puddings like lemon sago dessert or sago pudding (which supposedly has a soothing effect if you are feeling a bit off-colour). You can substitute tapioca which has been tested and has a high GI.


Buttercup squash
Buttercup squash is a winter squash or pumpkin. It hasn’t been tested but its popular cousin butternut squash (pumpkin) has and has a low GI (51). We wrote about it in GI News in April 2007.


Your database has blueberry muffins, blueberry juice and blueberry crunch GI values, but no entries for blueberries. I guess blueberries aren’t food until you put them into something.
Blueberries, like most berries, don’t actually contain much carbohydrate, so it’s (a) hard to test their GI and (b) they won’t have much effect on your blood glucose. What we say here at GI News is make blueberries an everyday health habit if you can. Blue is good for you! As one of today’s superfoods, they are bursting with nutrition and flavour while being very low in calories and of course they are packed with antioxidants like anthocyanins – nature’s personal bodyguards that help minimise damage to cell membranes that occurs with ageing. Most blueberries you buy in the supermarket or fresh produce store will be cultivated highbush blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum L). In the US, it’s also possible to buy frozen wild blueberries (V. angustifolium), all year long and they have been tested (GI 53). Wild blueberries are smaller, about one-third the size of cultivated and have a more intense blueberry flavour and they retain their shape well in cooking.


GI Values Update

The latest values from SUGiRS

New moderate GI value for broad beans
GI 63; serving size 80 g, available carbohydrate 5 g; GL 3

When broad beans were tested in 1981 in Canada in the early days of GI testing, their GI was 79, but only six people were included in the study and the variation between them was substantial. We felt it was time to revisit this one as broad beans are increasingly appearing on the menu and you can buy frozen broad beans year round in supermarkets. We reassessed them following the now standardised international method (including ten people in the study and testing the reference food three times in each person). We obtained a mean value of 63 with narrow variation. So tuck into broad beans as a typical 1/2 cup (80-gram) serving has a very low GL, is a good source of fibre, folate and vitamin C and will fill you up without adding many kilojoules. If you help yourself to seconds you will get 2 of your 5 servings of vegetables for the day.

More muesli values

  • Uncle Toby's Natural Style Muesli, Original Swiss formula (without milk): GI 62, serving size 30 g, available carbohydrate 18 g, GL 11
  • Special K Light Muesli, mixed berry and apple flavour(without milk): GI 64; serving size 30 g; available carbohydrate 20 g, GL 13
Where can I get more information on GI testing?

North America

Dr Alexandra Jenkins
Glycemic Index Laboratories
36 Lombard Street, Suite 100
Toronto, Ontario M5C 2X3 Canada
Phone +1 416 861 0506
Email info@gilabs.com
Web www.gilabs.com

Fiona Atkinson


Research Manager, Sydney University Glycemic Index Research Service (SUGiRS)
Human Nutrition Unit, School of Molecular and Microbial Biosciences
Sydney University
NSW 2006 Australia
Phone + 61 2 9351 6018
Fax: + 61 2 9351 6022
Email sugirs@mmb.usyd.edu.au
Web www.glycemicindex.com

New Zealand
Dr Tracy Perry
The Glycemic Research Group, Dept of Human Nutrition
University of Otago
PO Box 56 Dunedin New Zealand
Phone +64 3 479 7508
Email tracy.perry@stonebow.otago.ac.nz
Web glycemicindex.otago.ac.nz

GI Symbol News


Low GI muesli bars

Muesli bars are a handy snack when you are out and about or on the run, but finding one that's not loaded with saturated fat and kilojoules can be a bit of a challenge. All you need to do now is look for the GI Symbol to be assured you are making a healthier choice. The Uncle Toby's range of low GI Chewy and Crunchy muesli bars featured here are made with wholegrain oats, natural colour and flavours. There's a wide range of flavours, so here's a taste of what you can find on your supermarket shelf in Australia.

Crunchy Apricot
flavour; serving size (1 muesli bar) 20 g; GI 54
Per serving 350 kJ; 2.2 g fat (includes 0.3 g saturated fat); 13.7 g carbohydrate; 1.6 g fibre

Chewy Apricot
and Chewy Forest Fruits flavours; serving size (1 muesli bar) 31.3 g; GI 48
Per serving 540 kJ; 4 g fat (includes 1.1 g saturated fat); 20 g carbohydrate; 2 g fibre

Chewy Choc Chip
flavour; serving size (1 muesli bar) 31.3 g; GI 54
Per serving 540 kJ; 4.4 g fat (includes 1.6 g saturated fat); 20 g carbohydrate; 1.8 g fibre

Where can I get more information on the GI Symbol program?

Alan Barclay


CEO, Glycemic Index Ltd
Phone: +61 2 9785 1037
Fax: +61 2 9785 1037
Email: awbarclay@optusnet.com.au
Web www.gisymbol.com.au

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