1 May 2012

GI News—May 2012


  • Baby’s birth weight and Mum’s BGLs – Prof Jennie Brand Miller explains the link;   
  • Dr Alan Barclay on how to build yourself up with low GI foods;  
  • The scoop on potassium with Emma Stirling;  
  • How The Biggest Loser promotes weight bias;  
  • Nicole Senior explores the myth that you should eat according to your blood type;  
  • Three recipes from the GI News kitchen.  
Infant birth weights and childhood obesity have increased hand in hand over recent decades in most industrialised nations. ‘We now know that life inside the womb is a critical period for the metabolic “programming” of obesity in later life, says Prof Jennie Brand-Miller. ‘Mum’s weight at the time of conception and weight gain from early to late pregnancy profoundly influences her baby’s birth weight and future risk of becoming overweight. In addition, we now believe that the increasing GI of the modern diet might also be a factor.’ Read about why blood glucose levels matter in pregnancy in Food for Thought.

Good eating, good health and good reading.

: Philippa Sandall
Web management and design: Alan Barclay, PhD
Contact email (for questions or permission to reproduce stories from this newsletter): info@gisymbol.com for technical problems or faults please contact smbginewstech@sydney.edu.au

Food for Thought

Why blood glucose levels matter in pregnancy.   
Prof Jennie Brand-Miller and colleagues Dr Kate Marsh and Prof Robert Moses have just published a book called The Bump to Baby Diet – a low GI eating plan for conception, pregnancy and beyond to share the latest science and help women enjoy a healthy pregnancy while safeguarding their baby’s future wellbeing. It’s available from bookshops and online in Australia and NZ and as an eBook from Amazon, iTunes etc. Here is an edited extract reproduced with permission of the publisher, Hachette Australia.

The Bump to Baby Diet

‘If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, reducing the GI of your diet is one of the safest and most effective ways of ensuring that your baby grows at the optimum rate, without laying down excessive body fat. Here’s why.

Pregnancy is a stage in life when carbs play a starring role. This is because a Mum’s average blood glucose level throughout the day is directly correlated with her baby’s growth rate in the womb. Quite simply, glucose is the primary fuel that drives all aspects of her baby’s development. If her glucose levels are too high, then her baby will grow too fast and be born with excessive amounts of body fat. This is not a new finding. It’s the main reason why women who have type 1 diabetes are given close medical attention before and during their pregnancies. It’s also the principal reason why all pregnant women are routinely screened at 26–28 weeks of pregnancy to determine if they have developed gestational diabetes. What’s new is that we now know that even mildly elevated glucose levels during pregnancy can have serious consequences.

Even if Mum is healthy and well, if her BGLs tend to be on the high side, baby will grow rapidly, and become too big for its own good. An overly large baby is linked to greater risk of delivery complications for both mother and baby. These infants have an increased risk of childhood obesity, as well as higher risk of metabolic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension in adulthood. Conversely, if her glucose levels are too low, baby’s growth might be too slow.

Pregnancy is a very real metabolic stress test for the body. It produces quite profound metabolic changes in all women. Even during the first trimester, her baby draws so much glucose from her blood stream that her fasting glucose levels and day-long levels are lower than they are in the non-pregnant state. Whether at rest or exercising, pregnant women use carbohydrate at a greater rate than do non-pregnant women. This is why one of the first metabolic adaptations the body makes to pregnancy is a greater capacity to produce glucose molecules in the liver. While this makes perfect sense (if access to food is temporarily restricted, the growing baby will still be getting the energy it needs), it means that all women become more and more insulin resistant as pregnancy progresses. For some women, this precipitates gestational diabetes.

Between the first and third trimesters, Mum’s insulin secretion in response to eating doubles, and her insulin resistance increases by about 50 per cent. This seems to be a normal physiological adaptation. Scientists believe that the higher degree of insulin resistance, particularly in the muscle mass, helps to redirect glucose away from Mum’s muscle cells towards her baby, enhancing its growth in the womb and health after birth.

Blood glucose levels in the baby always mirror those in the mother, with a difference of about 0.5 millimoles per litre (9 mg/dL) in Mum’s favour. Mum’s insulin cannot cross the placenta, but from about 12 weeks of age onwards, baby makes its own.

Insulin is often described as a ‘master hormone’, the conductor in charge of orchestrating many biochemical pathways in the body. In particular, we know it’s an anabolic hormone that stimulates growth and build-up of new tissues. Scientists believe that high blood glucose levels in the mother give rise to high levels in the placenta and umbilical cord blood, which in turn stimulates enlargement of the baby’s insulin-producing cells (called beta cells) and the secretion of excess insulin. It’s this extra dose of insulin that is the direct cause of above normal rates of growth.’

You can look inside The Bump to Baby Diet HERE.

News Briefs

Going gluten free and weight gain.  
Although a gluten-free diet is trendy, it’s not necessarily a healthy diet at all unless you stick to whole foods most of the time. According to Dr. Peter Green, director of Columbia University’s Celiac Disease Center in New York, most people who stop eating gluten products after being diagnosed with a gluten sensitivity actually gain weight, since avoiding gluten helps their digestive systems to work better. And, he said, ‘they tend to buy a lot of the prepared gluten-free foods that are substitutes for gluten-containing foods. And in order to improve the taste of those foods, the manufacturer may add more fat or sugar.’ A retrospective study of 679 people with biopsy confirmed coeliac disease who maintain a gluten-free diet has put some figures on this weight increase. Published in Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics the researchers report that at baseline the celiac cohort was significantly less likely to be overweight or obese than the general population. However, on beginning and maintaining a gluten-free diet, their mean BMI increased significantly with about 22% of patients increasing their BMI by more than 2 BMI points and about 16% of patients moving from a normal or low BMI class into an overweight BMI class.

Editor: In the GI News Kitchen this issue we include two deliciously healthy recipes – Portobello pizzas with parmesan crumb and and easy Prawn laksa.

Are diet sodas good or bad for you?  

Diet Drinks

A new study in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition sheds light on the impact that zero-calorie beverages may have on health, especially in the context of overall dietary habits. Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill analysed data collected over 20 years from more than 4000 young adults who participated in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study looking at the participants’ beverage consumption patterns and their eating habits.

In terms of eating habits, participants fell into two groups: people who ate what researchers dubbed a ‘prudent’ diet (one with more fruit, fish, whole grains, nuts and milk) and individuals who consumed a ‘western’ diet (which had higher amounts of fast food, meat and poultry, pizza and snacks).

People who were healthiest tended to be those who ate a prudent diet and did not consume diet beverages. They had a lower risk of high waist circumference, high triglyceride levels and metabolic syndrome (22%, 28% and 36% lower, respectively, than people who ate a western diet and did not drink diet beverages). But the second healthiest group was individuals with a prudent diet who also consumed diet beverages. In contrast, individuals who consumed the western diet had increased risk of heart disease, regardless of whether or not they drank diet beverages.

The UNC researchers found that many dietary factors contributed to a person's overall health. Without taking diet beverage consumption into account, people who ate the prudent diet had significantly better cholesterol and triglyceride profiles and significantly lower risks of hypertension and metabolic syndrome than those who ate the western diet. Study author Dr Kiyah Duffey said that similar to previous studies, their new analysis found that people who consumed diet beverages tended to be less healthy than people who did not consume them. ‘However, there was an important interplay between overall diet and what people drink. It is important that people consider the entirety of their diet before they consider switching to or adding diet beverages, because without doing so they may not realise the health benefits they were hoping to see.’

Knowing the nutritional content of foods doesn’t equate to healthy eating.  

person reading food label

A study published in the British Food Journal shows that US consumers know surprisingly more about the fat content of the foods they buy than their French counterparts. Paradoxically, the obesity rate is nearly three times higher in the United States (35%) than it is in France (12%). In light of these results, the researchers cast doubt on the notion that providing nutritional information is an effective way to encourage healthy eating habits. Dr Doyon of the Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences and colleagues had over 300 French, Quebec, and American consumers answer a questionnaire designed to test what they knew about dietary fats.

The first finding: French respondents admitted to not knowing the answer to 43% of the questions, while the equivalents for Quebec and the United States were 13% and 4% respectively. Fifty-five percent of French respondents said they did not know the percentage of fat in whole milk, compared with 5% for Quebec and 4% for the United States. The same trend was observed for butter, margarine, and vegetable oils.

The second finding: when participants tried to answer, Americans were most likely to be right, followed by Quebecers, with the French bringing up the rear. And 6% of Quebecers, 9% of Americans, and 17% of the French did not know the recommendations regarding saturated and unsaturated fats in a healthy diet.

‘The difference among respondents’ knowledge,’ said Professor Doyon, ‘essentially indicates that the French don't take much of an interest in the nutrients contained in the foods they eat. The information is on the package, but they don't read it.’

According to the researchers, the correlation found between extensive nutritional knowledge and high obesity rates suggests that focusing on detailed nutritional information may not be the best strategy for encouraging healthy eating habits. ‘It's an approach that presents information to consumers in a broken down form,’ suggested Dr. Doyon. ‘This may lead them to think of food in terms of its fat, carbohydrate, and caloric content and lose sight of the whole picture. It might be better to focus on what constitutes a healthy, complete, and balanced meal.’

Size matters.  

Prof Arya Sharma
Prof Arya Sharma
#1 How The Biggest Loser promotes weight bias … Writing in his daily blog, Prof Arya Sharma says: ‘Whatever the intentions of the producers, there is accumulating evidence that public displays of weight loss as in competitions, challenges, and reality TV do little else than promote anti-weight bias by promoting stereotypes, unrealistic weight loss goals, and simplistic (diet and exercise) messages about possible solutions. This notion is again supported by a recent study by Domoff and colleagues from Bowling Green State University published in Obesity. Given the impact that anti-weight bias has on all aspects of trying to find solutions to obesity (from public health messaging to funding for obesity research or treatments), not to mention its devastating emotional and physical impact on people living with excess weight, perhaps it is time to revisit social norms and acceptability of this form of entertainment. These shows are not a solution – they are part of the problem!’ Read More

#2 I weigh pretty much the same as I did 20 years ago but I am buying smaller sizes in clothing … Sound familiar? The Economist (a favourite read of ours) explored this phenomenon in April. Their research finds that ‘the average British size-14 pair of women’s trousers is more than four inches bigger at the waist today than they were in the 1970s, and over three inches wider at the hips. A size 14 today fits like a former size 18, and a size 10 fits like an old size 14. The same “downsizing” has happened in America where, to confuse matters further, a size 10 is equivalent to a British size 12 or 14, depending on the manufacturer. Size inflation flatters customers, but the danger is that it encourages overweight people to dismiss health risks and reduces the incentive to diet. For the roughly three-fifths of adult Britons who are overweight, size really does matter.’ Read More.

Some thoughts on dietary guidelines.  
Bill Shrapnel
Bill Shrapnel
#1 ‘The draft Australian Dietary Guidelines report was a very strange document with nutrition science jostling awkwardly with motherhood and ideology’ writes Sceptical Nutritionist’ Bill Shrapnel (former National Nutrition Manager with the Heart Foundation now Director of Shrapnel Nutrition Consulting Pty Ltd with clients like Goodman Fielder and Kellogg Australia) in his new blog. Bill’s major interest is in how dietary fats and carbohydrates affect our risk for chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease. In his first post he outlines seven problems he sees with Australia’s draft dietary guidelines. He writes: ‘Some important areas of the nutrition literature were reviewed in great depth, but others were not reviewed at all and significant shifts in the science were missed. The translation of the findings of literature reviews into dietary advice appeared to be compromised in two ways – by a conservatism that didn’t want to see change to long-standing messages about diet and health and an activism for change driven by environmental concerns, not by nutrition science.’ The seven areas where Bill feels that the Guidelines fall short scientifically are: low fat diets; saturated fat, carbohydrates and heart disease; added sugar; wholegrains; GI; trans fats; and fruit vegetables and cancer.’ Read More

#2 Food activists proved wrong about fat are now setting their sights on sugar according to James A. Bacon, author of Boomergeddon and publisher of the Bacon’s Rebellion blog in the Washington Times. ‘Once upon a time, there was a medical “consensus” that fats and cholesterol in the blood were major causes of heart disease. Armed with this “settled science,” the public health establishment moved in the 1970s to expunge the offending substances, beyond a basic minimum deemed to be necessary, from Americans' diets. Food bureaucrats established dietary guidelines. Physicians ordered billions of dollars of blood tests. Pharmaceutical companies made tens of billions of dollars on drugs that suppressed cholesterol levels. Food companies, castigated in some quarters as soulless merchants of dietary corruption, were compelled to report the nutritional breakdown of their packaged products. Badgered by public officialdom and the media over the decades, Americans slowly, grudgingly changed their eating habits. What good did it do them?’ Read More.

Only one in ten Aussie kids ride to school.  

Children riding bikes

Only one in ten children ride to school, even though 80% of parents think it would
improve their kids health, according to a survey by the Cycling Promotion Fund and the National Heart Foundation of Australia. Nearly two-thirds of parents said they would let their children ride to school if there were safe routes ‘Cycling to school is clearly something that children are able to do and parents want to encourage, but they're being let down by a lack of safe cycle paths,’ said Dr Lyn Roberts, National CEO of the Heart Foundation. ‘The number of children being driven to school has sadly reached a record high arriving at the school gates by car was rare in the 1970s, but now it's the norm for 6 in 10 families. We're missing a huge opportunity to tackle childhood obesity, reduce carbon emissions and ease congestion on the roads. We urge all levels of Government to invest to ensure the next generation is able to adopt healthy and active options for their daily trip to school.’ You can download the report HERE.

Get the Scoop with Emma Stirling

The scoop on potassium for diabetes.  

Emma Stirling
Emma Stirling APD

Did you know that the humble mineral potassium is now linked with diabetes? Yes, really. In fact researchers are now claiming that for some people, low potassium may become as an important risk factor as obesity. Let’s explore a recent study and give you the lowdown on where to boost your intake.

Exploring the link: A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition investigated the relationship between potassium levels and type 2 diabetes. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University looked at more than 12,000 participants in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study (ARIC), performed in 1987 and 1996. The study found that as potassium levels went up, the incidence of diabetes among study participants went down. The African Americans in the study were found to have lower average potassium levels than the Caucasians and were twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

Interpreting the results: So should everyone start rushing off to buy potassium supplements? No. Even the study researchers conclude that these findings only indicate that a low potassium level is a risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes. And that, on average, African Americans have lower potassium levels than the Caucasian population. However, they do note that low potassium levels have been previously linked in healthy people to higher insulin and higher glucose levels - two hallmarks of diabetes. It’s likely that high potassium levels are a marker of a healthy diet that has good intakes of fruit, vegetables and wholegrains, so there is a strong potential for a number of factors to be at play. Clinical trials are now needed to see if managing adequate or optimal potassium levels, either through diet changes or by adding supplements, reduces the risk of diabetes for some ethnic groups.

Get a boost from a banana: That said, potassium is a great mineral to have on board. It acts as a complementary mineral to sodium and can help achieve a healthy blood pressure. The best bet approach is to focus on a nutrient rich eating plan with plenty of potassium rich foods like nuts, dried and fresh fruit, wholegrains including bran and wheatgerm, raw vegetables, lean meat and fish. By far the most well know source of potassium is the banana, which is well and truly back in Aussie shopping trolleys after storm shortages last year. The average banana (GI 52) provides around 20g carbohydrate and around 350mg of potassium (about 10% of your daily needs). Time to wake up to a smoothie?

Emma Stirling is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and health writer with over ten years experience writing for major publications. She is editor of The Scoop on Nutrition – a blog by expert dietitians. Check it out for hot news bites and a healthy serve of what’s in flavour.

In the GI News Kitchen

American dietitian and author of Good Carbs, Bad Carbs, Johanna Burani, shares favourite recipes with a low or moderate GI from her Italian kitchen. For more information, check out Johanna's website. The photographs are by Sergio Burani. His food, travel and wine photography website is photosbysergio.com.


Strawberries amandine.  
Slice and chop, and this dessert is ready for your table! As with all fruit, serve these strawberries only in the peak of their growing season. Dark chocolate truffles, vanilla bean ice cream, mascarpone or zabaglione (or other custards) go well with this. Note this recipe uses a 15ml tablespoon.) Servings: 4 (1 cup each)

450g/1lb medium-sized fresh strawberries (about 24)
2 tbsp (30ml) Amaretto di Saronno liqueur
30g/1oz almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped (about 24)

Strawberries amandine

Place the whole strawberries in a bowl with cold water and swish them around to remove surface dirt. Drain, run under faucet water, drain again and pat dry with paper towels.
Remove stems and leaves and create a small wedge at the top of each strawberry using a knife or small melon baller. (I use a demitasse spoon.) Quarter the strawberries horizontally and place them in a mixing bowl. Add the amaretto, mix well.
Spoon an equal amount of the strawberries into 4 individual dessert cups, top with the toasted almonds and serve immediately.

Per serving
Energy: 403kJ/96cals; Protein 2g; Fat 4g (includes 0g saturated fat and 0mg cholesterol); Available carbohydrate 12g; Fibre 3g

Cut back on the food bills and enjoy fresh-tasting, easily prepared, seasonal, satisfying and delicious low or moderate GI meals that don’t compromise on quality and flavour one little bit with our Money Saving Meals mushroom recipe from The Low GI Guide to Gluten-free Cooking by Dr Kate Marsh and colleagues (Hachette Australia and Da Capo US). And the Prawn laksa from Catheine Saxelby's and Jennene Plummer's Zest (Hardie Grant). The books are available from bookshops and online; eBook editions available from Amazon and iTunes etc.

Portobello pizzas with parmesan crumb.  
It’s mushroom foraging time in Australia! Of course, most of us buy our mushrooms in the produce market – but if you think a trip to the countryside for a bit of foraging sounds fun, join up with a group (with an expert leader!), grab your basket and head out into the fresh air. Makes 6

2–3 tablespoons olive oil
6 portobello (or field) mushrooms, wiped, stems removed and chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 small red capsicum, finely chopped
400g/14oz can diced tomatoes
400g/14oz can lentils, drained
small bunch basil leaves, washed and torn
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup grainy or wholemeal) breadcrumbs (GF)

Portobello pizzas with parmesan crumb

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF. Grease an oven tray with a little of the olive oil. Brush some olive oil over the base of the mushrooms and place them on the tray.
Heat the remaining oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add the chopped mushroom stems, onion, garlic and capsicum. Reduce the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until the onions are soft and golden. Stir in the diced tomatoes, then add the lentils and basil and stir gently until the mixture is well combined and heated through. Season with pepper and set aside.
Combine the Parmesan and breadcrumbs. Spoon the lentil and tomato mixture into the mushroom ‘cups’ and top each with about 1/3 cup of the breadcrumb mixture.
Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until the topping is crisp and golden and the mushrooms are cooked through.

Per serve
1171kJ/278cals; 14g fat (includes 4g saturated fat); 6g fibre; 13g protein; 23g carbohydrate

Prawn laksa.  
Prawns are cooked when they are opaque and orangy pink. Allow 2–3 minutes for small prawns and about 5 for larger ones. Make sure the curry paste you use is gluten free and has no added wheat starch. We used light coconut milk, but you can substitute with coconut flavoured light evaporated milk if you wish. Serves 6

¼ cup Thai red curry paste, or to taste! (GF)
2 x 375ml cans light coconut milk
2 cups water
1 cup low-salt chicken stock (GF)
500g (1lb 2oz) green prawns, peeled, deveined, tails intact
250g (8oz) rice stick noodles
1 cup bean sprouts
2 green onions (shallots), sliced
sliced chilli, coriander leaves and lime wedges to serve

Prawn laksa

Heat a large saucepan on high. Cook the curry paste, stirring, for 1 minute until fragrant. Stir in the coconut milk, water and stock. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 2 minutes.
Add the prawns and simmer gently for 2–3 minutes, stirring occasionally until cooked.
Divide the noodles, sprouts and prawns between 4 bowls. Pour on the soup.
Serve topped with the green onion, sliced chilli and coriander leaves and a lime wedge on the side.

Per serve

1840kJ/440cals; 14g fat (includes 6g saturated fat); 6g fibre; 33g protein; 40g carbohydrate

Busting Food Myths with Nicole Senior

Nicole Senior

Myth: You should eat according to your blood type.   
Fact: Your blood group has nothing to do with your ability to digest food, or what diet best suits you.
Genetic variation between individuals is the reason why some people don’t do as well on certain diets, and why some people don’t respond in the same way to dietary change in scientific studies. This has been known for decades and started the new scientific frontier of nutrigenetics: designing diets and eating plans according to your genetic make-up. Geneticists who work in nutrigenetics say the blood-type diet is silly: it’s the equivalent of reading tea leaves to determine what to have for dinner. This is because there are hundreds of known polymorphisms (genetic variations) that influence diet and health, and none of them relates to blood type. For example, there are polymorphisms (variants) that affect how your LDL or ’bad’ cholesterol responds to eating fat; others affect how homocysteine levels respond to a vegetarian diet lower in vitamin B12.

Who discovered blood types? Austrian Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1901 and this allowed the first safe blood transfusions. He received a Nobel prize for his work in 1930. Blood types A, B, AB and O are distinguished by the different combinations of antigens on the surface of your red blood cells and antibodies in your plasma. For example, blood type A has A antigens on the surface of the red blood cells and B antibodies in the plasma. Somebody with blood group B has B antigens on the surface of their red blood cells and A antibodies in their blood plasma. If you receive the wrong blood type as a transfusion, antigens on the surface of the donor red blood cells will react with the antibodies in your plasma and clump together, impairing circulation and may even kill you.

How blood type relates to the food you should eat is where the creativity comes in: Proponents of blood-type diets say blood type also correlates with a number of characteristics affecting digestion – for example, type O produces more stomach acid and therefore can more easily digest meat, and type As should be vegetarian because they produce less acid. Even if type Os did produce a bit more acid – and this is a very big ‘if ’ – it would make negligible difference to the ability to digest meat. Although acid is a big help, it is protein-digesting enzymes from the pancreas that do all the heavy lifting when it comes to protein digestion. Millions of people take medications to significantly reduce acid production because of acid reflux, yet they can still digest meat.

The bottom line: I can understand the attraction to a diet that claims we fall into distinct ‘types’ which each require a specific dietary approach. It just seems to make sense. But just because it sounds plausible, doesn’t mean it is. There is no scientific foundation to eating according to your blood type. However, if you want to know more about ‘nutrigenetics’, type it into your favourite search engine – and see your own doctor before embarking on any genetic testing. Nicole Senior is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and Nutritionist and author of Food Myths released on February 1 and available in bookshops and online and from www.greatideas.net.au

GI Symbol News with Dr Alan Barclay

Dr Alan Barclay
Build yourself up with high quality low GI foods.  
With the constant focus on overweight/obesity in the media it is easy to forget that in many parts of the world – including the developed world – there are people living amongst us that are either malnourished and/or underweight. For example, a recent study found that just over 40% of Australian adults aged 65 + living in the community were either at risk of malnutrition or malnourished. At the other end of the lifespan, we sometimes overlook the fact that while 1 in 4 children are overweight or obese, the other 75% are not, and need high quality foods and drinks to help them reach their full genetic potential (optimal height and weight).

Physically active children and adolescents who are growing rapidly often find it hard to find a range of nourishing foods for meals and snacks that they can enjoy, and too often fill themselves up with what many people call ‘junk food’ – nutrient poor, energy dense foods and drinks. There are of course a wide range of healthy low GI foods and drinks that can be enjoyed as either main meals or snacks to help you gain weight (either lean muscle mass or fat, depending on your individual goals). Here are some of our favourite tips for quality weight gain making the most of healthy low GI foods and foods that carry the GI Symbol:

Meats and alternatives  
Lower fat options

  • Add cooked lean meats, poultry or seafood, lentils, split peas, or ‘soup mix’ to home-made, canned or packet soups. 
  • Whip up scrambled eggs or omelets with quality meats e.g. leg ham, tuna, canned or smoked salmon 
  •  Enjoy hard boiled eggs as a nutritious snack.  
Higher fat options
  • Fry meats, poultry or seafood in a high quality vegetable oil (soy, peanut, sesame). 
  • Add nuts and/or seeds (pumpkin/sunflower/sesame) to your cereals and salads. 
  •  Enjoy a handful of nuts as a quick snack.  
Dairy foods and alternatives  
Lower fat options
  • Make milk shakes with skim milk/powder, plus flavourings (e.g. Milo), malt, reduced or low fat yoghurt, fruit, honey or use pre-prepared varieties such as Sustagen. 
  • Mix skim milk powder into mashed Carisma or lower GI potatoes or into eggs before scrambling. 
  • Custard, egg custard, creamed rice and junket can all be made with low fat milk and some reduced or low fat versions are available commercially. 
  • Enjoy a small tub of low or reduced-fat yoghurt such as Brownes Fresh ‘n Fruity as a quick snack.  
Higher fat options
  • Use whole or full cream milk, soy drinks and other dairy products and alternatives. 
  • Add grated cheese, cream or sour cream to sauces, soups, vegetables, potatoes, baked beans or scrambled eggs. 
  • Add regular cream or ice-cream to milkshakes. 
  • Have regular custard, egg custard, creamed rice or junket with full-cream or reduced-fat milk. 
  • Enjoy a slice or chunk of cheese or a small tub of full cream yoghurt as a quick snack. 
Breads, cereals, and grains  
Lower fat options
  • Enjoy a quality breakfast cereal like Kellogg’s Guardian or Sustain or Morning Sun Muesli with an enriched low fat milk and serve with a little sugar (e.g. Logicane), wildflower honey or pure maple syrup. 
  • Try multigrain muffins, raisin toast, or wholegrain crackers topped with honey, 100% fruit jam, quality cold meats (tuna, salmon, leg ham) or reduced fat cheeses. 
  • Use sauces and chutneys on sandwiches. Uncle Toby’s Crunchy or Chewy muesli bars are great for snacks.  
Higher fat options
  • Use full cream or reduced-fat milk on quality breakfast cereals. 
  • Add cream to cereals and serve porridge with butter, quality margarine (low in saturated and trans fat) or cream. 
  • Try multigrain muffins, raisin toast, or wholegrain crackers with butter/quality margarine/cream and 100% fruit jam/quality (low in saturated and trans fat) peanut butter or wildflower honey. 
  • Boost the calorie content of your sandwiches by using generous serves of butter or quality margarine plus cheese, meat, eggs, fish, or quality peanut butter. 
  • Try doubling up the fillings (peanut butter and jam).
  • Choose fried rice and noodles or add butter or quality margarine to rice or pasta. 
  • Snack on grainy crackers or crispbreads spread with quality peanut butter, cheese, quality cold meat or 100% fruit jams. 
Fruits and vegetables  
Lower fat options
  • Dried fruit is an excellent high calorie snack and many varieties are low GI (apple, apricot, dates, prunes). 
  • Add fresh apples, pears, most stone fruits or canned, stewed or dried fruit to breakfast cereals, yoghurt and puddings.  
Higher fat options
  • Have cream or regular ice cream with your favourite fruits. 
  • Try fresh vegetables spread with peanut butter, cream cheese, or dips (hummus). 
  • Stir or deep fry your vegetables in quality oil (soy, peanut, sesame). 
  • Add cheese, sour cream or butter/quality margarine to steamed or baked vegetables. 
  • Use olive-oil based dressings (vinaigrette) on salads and in sandwiches.  
The GI Symbol, making healthy low GI choices easy choices

New GI Symbol

For more information about the GI Symbol Program
Dr Alan W Barclay, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer
Glycemic Index Foundation (Ltd)
Phone: +61 (0)2 9785 1037
Mob: +61 (0)416 111 046
Fax: +61 (0)2 9785 1037
Email: alan@gisymbol.com
Website: www.gisymbol.com

GI Update

Prof Jennie Brand-Miller answers your questions.  

Prof Jennie Brand-Miller

Why Sheri can't stop talking about how low GI changed her life ...
I am always delighted when people take the time to tell me about their GI success stories. As I say when I reply to them: ‘it really makes my day’. Choosing low GI carbs, the ones that produce only small fluctuations in your blood glucose and insulin levels, can help you feel fuller for longer and increase your energy levels, making weight loss achievable and sustainable. This month in GI Update, I am sharing Sheri’s story with GI News readers with her kind permission.

‘I tried for years to lose weight but I just kept gaining until I heard about low GI. I changed my eating habits a little over 6 months ago, and now I can't stop talking about how low GI changed my life! Since I started eating healthier and cleaner and having five small meals a day instead of three large meals, I feel like I've gotten my life back. Here are just some of the changes I’ve noticed.

  • I no longer have migraines. I went from suffering with 2–3 migraines a week to only having the occasional migraine.
  • My menstrual cramps have been greatly reduced.
  • I am finally able to sleep all through the night.
  • I’m happier and have more energy.
I could go on, but you get the idea. I feel indebted to you all for providing me with information about Low GI because I truly believe it has given me back my life. I’m 27-years-old and for so long I felt the way I imagine people in their sixties feel. I finally feel young and healthy and it’s wonderful.

I’ve lost 20 pounds and lots of inches. In January I started training for a 5K and now I work out every day for nearly an hour. Before I started eating the low GI way, I never would have had enough energy to run, lift weights, and do Pilates. Thank you!’

And thank you Sheri for sharing your story.

New GI values from SUGiRS.  
Low GI Green Island Rice Rice is the most important staple food in Mauritius – a country with the world’s second highest incidence of diabetes. Since 1987, the prevalence of diabetes has increased by more than 60%. Almost one in two Mauritians aged from 25 to 74 is either diabetic or pre-diabetic. Green Island Rice promotes and facilitates rice farming in Mauritius. Now low GI long grain Green Island Rice will be sold in a supermarket near you from July 2012 (if you live in the USA, Europe and Australia).
  • Green Island Rice – GI 48, available carbs (per 1/3 cup cooked rice) 15g (1 diabetic exchange)
For more information you can check out their website HERE.


GI testing by an accredited laboratory North America
Dr Alexandra Jenkins
Glycemic Index Laboratories
20 Victoria Street, Suite 300
Toronto, Ontario M5C 298 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

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