1 December 2012

GI News—December 2012


  • Dr Alan Barclay on why healthy low GI food doesn't need to cost more; 
  • Eating carbs mostly AFTER 5pm: are there benefits?   
  • What would batman eat? Helping kids make healthier choices;   
  • Kids prefer a colourful range of food on the plate;  
  • Low GI emergency pantry;
  • Coffee sobers you up: Nicole Senior investigates;
  • Six recipes to enjoy including three fruity desserts for festive fare.
In Food for Thought Prof David Katz suggests we ‘embrace health as a kind of wealth. Investing in health and treating it as something of great and universal cultural value – something we raise our kids to aspire to as they aspire to being rich – is a true, potential game-changer for the future of food, ourselves, and our planet. 

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 smb.ginewstech@sydney.edu.au

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Food for Thought

Embrace health as a kind of wealth.   
Heading into the festive season, we are bombarded with ideas for a ‘cracking’ Christmas feast which mostly seems to involve spending a lot of time, money and calories on a day’s good cheer. We thought that it might be timely to ponder Dr David Katz’s comment that the truly great hope for the future of food involves treating health more like wealth. The following is reproduced with his very kind (as ever) permission. 

Dr David Katz
Dr David Katz

‘In the beginning food was money and money was food. Food was the first currency, and modern currency is spoken of in terms of food – we are “breadwinners,” we “make dough,” and we “bring home the bacon.” We respect how money will affect the quality of our lives, but overlook it with regard to food. We invest in wealth, but generally, not health. Our time horizon for money is distant; for food, it’s only as far away as our next donut. We measure the value of food as calories per dollar, an obsolete metric in an age of epidemic obesity and caloric excess.

None of this is all that hard to fix. Our culture could embrace health as a kind of wealth. A cultural commitment to investing in health could be the normal expectation for any responsible adult. Experts who provide guidance toward better choices – dietitians, health coaches, and other qualified experts – could be valued universally as we value financial planners and investment counselors. And financial rewards for choosing better nutrition, courtesy of those with skin in the game, could put a high polish on the already luminous prize.

Food is a product of culture. The inertia of culture makes it tougher to turn than the Titanic. But the looming collisions (diabetes, obesity etc) are cause to get the job done -- and we can. The best way to predict the future ... is to create it. Unlike genes, culture is a medium of our devising. We created it – and we can update it. And by so doing, we can create the more nourishing future of food we would all like to predict.

So here’s a thought for the festive season and new year – investing in health and treating it as something of great and universal cultural value – something we raise our kids to aspire to as they aspire to being rich – is a true, potential game-changer for the future of food, ourselves, and our planet.

About Dr David Katz
Known internationally for expertise in nutrition, weight management, and chronic disease prevention, Katz is the founding director of Yale University's Prevention Research Center. He is the editor-in-chief of the journal Childhood Obesity, President-Elect of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, founder and President of the non-profit Turn the Tide Foundation, and a blogger/medical review board member for The Huffington Post.

What’s New?

Eating patterns in Canada – culture seems to count when it comes to obesity. 
Quebec has the lowest combined rates of overweight and obesity of any Canadian province. It now turns out that it is also the one province in Canada that truly maintains a true and distinct eating Culture (that is culture with a capital C). According to the 15th edition of Eating Patterns in Canada, Quebec households are less calorie conscious than other Canadians and take great pleasure in eating. The vast majority (82%) feel that it is important to enjoy full and regular meals each day, which compares to 60% of western Canadians and 63% of Ontarians. They are also less likely to skip meals. While some believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day it is lunch and dinner that are of most significance. Most of these meals are prepared at home, with 6 out of 10 lunches and 6.5 out of 10 dinners in Quebec households being made from scratch. They also enjoy dessert with dinner more often – about 112 times a year compared with about 89 times in Atlantic Canada, 57 in Ontario and 55 on the west coast. And they are the least likely to snack.

Prof Arya Sharma
Prof Arya Sharma

Prof Arya Sharma says: ‘While I am generally cautious about inferring cause-and-effect, I am also the first to support any move to improving eating culture. Improving eating culture in the rest of Canada requires a discussion of ‘values’ – and apparently, Quebecers place a higher value on home cooking, regular eating, and finding pleasure in food than the rest of us. Changing this culture will take more than taxing and banning foods. Indeed, I am confident that changing culture will eventually change consumer behaviour, which in turn will ultimately change supply. No easy task – but perhaps worth a wider discussion. In the mean time, perhaps more of us should enjoy our desserts.’
15th edition of Eating Patterns in Canada (EPIC)

Eating carbs mostly AFTER 5pm at dinner reduces diabetes and cardiovascular risks.  
Eating carbs mostly at dinner (rather than throughout the day) could benefit people suffering from severe and morbid obesity according to new research published in two papers in Obesity and in Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases.‘The idea for this research came about from studies on Muslims during Ramadan, when they fast during the day and eat high-carbohydrate meals in the evening, that showed the secretion curve of leptin was changed,’ explained Prof. Madar.

Ramadan feast

Here's what the researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem did. They randomly assigned 78 police officers to either the carbs-mostly-at-dinner diet or the control carbs-throughout -the-day diet for 6 months and measured the effects on the secretion of leptin, considered to be the satiety hormone, whose level in the blood is usually low during the day and high during the night; ghrelin, considered the hunger hormone, whose level in the blood is usually high during the day and low during the night; and adiponectin, considered the link between obesity, insulin resistance and the metabolic syndrome, whose curve is low and flat in obese people. The results showed that eating carbs mostly at dinner led to changes in daylight hormonal profiles in favor of the dieters whose:

  • satiety hormone leptin’s secretion curve became convex during daylight hours with a nadir in the late day hunger hormone 
  • ghrelin’s secretion curve became concave, peaking only in the evening hours 
  • curve of adiponectin, considered the link between obesity, insulin resistance and the metabolic syndrome, was elevated. 
At the same time this dietary pattern led to lower hunger scores, and better anthropometric (weight, abdominal circumference and body fat), biochemical (blood glucose, blood lipids) and inflammatory outcomes compared to the control group. So much for the 'no carbs after 5pm brigade'.

A diet rich in slowly digested carbs reduces markers of inflammation in overweight and obese adults.  

Dr Marian Neuhouser
Dr Marian Neuhouser

Among overweight and obese adults, a low glycemic load diet rich in slowly digested carbohydrates significantly reduces markers of inflammation associated with chronic disease, according to a new study by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center published in Journal of Nutrition. In the study, the 80 participants (half normal weight and half overweight) completed a 28-day high glycemic load diet and 28-day a low glycemic load diet in random order. The diets were identical in carbohydrate content, calories and macronutrients. ‘This finding is important and clinically useful since C-reactive protein is associated with an increased risk for many cancers as well as cardiovascular disease,' said lead author Dr Marian Neuhouser. It also modestly increased blood levels of a protein hormone called adiponectin, which plays a key role in protecting against several cancers, including breast cancer, as well as metabolic disorders such as type-2 diabetes, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and hardening of the arteries.

Higher dietary glycemic load diet linked to worse colon cancer survival.  
Lifestyle has been shown to play an important role in the development of colorectal cancer. Risk factors, such as obesity and physical activity have been shown to directly influence insulin levels and recent studies have shown a direct link between host factors that lead to hyperinsulinemia and cancer recurrence and mortality in colorectal cancer survivors; however, the influence of glycemic load and other related dietary intakes have on the survival of colon cancer patients is unknown. Researchers have now identified a link between higher dietary glycemic load and total carbohydrate intake and increased risk of cancer recurrences or death among stage 3 colon cancer patients, a finding that suggests that diet and lifestyle modification can have a role in improving patient survival, according to a study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Kid stuff.  


#1 What would Batman eat? Having trouble getting your child to make healthier eating choices at their favorite fast food restaurant? Priming them with the simple phrase: ‘What would Batman eat?’ may be the answer! In a recent field study by Brian Wansink and colleagues published in Journal of Consumer Research, 22 children in a summer camp were asked if they would like French fries or apple slices with lunch. On one day, they were shown pictures of real or fictional role models and asked what the role models would choose, before making their own decision. The use of this simple prime increased the amount of children who selected apple slices from 9.1% to 45.5%! Making the connection between eating healthy and being an admirable adult clearly helps children to make healthier eating decisions. So, next time you are at a fast food restaurant, be sure to ask them ‘What would Batman eat?’

Colourful plate of food

#2 Should you plate food for your child the same way you do for yourself? In Brian Wansink and colleagues' study in Acta Paediatrica, pre-teen children and adults were shown 48 different photographs and asked for their preferences based on different dimensions of food presentation. These included the number of components and colors on the plate, the position of the main component, crowded plate versus an empty plate presentation, organizational levels and design. The results suggest amazing opportunities to encourage more nutritionally diverse diets among children. While adults prefer three components and three colors on their plates children preferred seven components and six colors, more than double the adult preference of three!

#3 Is childcare ‘making kids chubbier’? A Canadian study which followed children from 1.5 to 10 years old reports they were 65% more likely to become overweight if cared for in a nursery-style setting, than those cared for by a parent, and who had little exposure to other forms of childcare. Before you start feeling even guiltier as a working parent with a child in child care, check out what NHS Choices has to say. ‘…this interesting study raises more questions than it answers. It is unclear why childcare arrangements would be associated with weight gain, and the study cannot show a cause and effect relationship between centre-based childcare and obesity. The researchers speculate that some childcare centres may have ‘obesogenic’ features (those that promote weight gain). It’s also worth bearing in mind that the study was performed in Canada, and it may be that the results cannot be translated to the UK, or other countries. However, it serves to highlight the importance of good diet and plenty of physical activity for all children, regardless of where they are looked after.’

Get the Scoop

Preparing for an emergency is the smart thing to do. 

We originally ran this story early in 2011 after the catastrophic earthquake and aftershocks in Christchurch (NZ), the big freeze in Europe, blizzards in the US and disastrous floods in Australia, Brazil and Sri Lanka. Super-storm Sandy and its aftermath reminds us that you can be without electricity or gas for several weeks. It’s vital to have ready-to-eat food on hand to keep everyone fighting fit until the disaster has passed. And this is where canned foods come to the fore, enabling you to whip up a variety of healthy, tasty low GI meals in minutes. Opt for low(er) salt/sodium products when there is a choice and check use-by dates. Drain canned foods and rinse if you have clean water. Tip: Make sure you have a can opener! Because you can’t depend on refrigeration after cans or jars have been opened, buy sizes that you and your family can consume at one sitting. Here are our 10 top pantry picks.

  1. Canned beans, chickpeas and lentils and bean dishes such as chilli beans, refried beans, lentil and pea and ham soups – OK cold but quickly heated on a camp stove 

  2. Canned fish –such as tuna, salmon, sardines, crabmeat, prawns, mackerel, herrings 

  3. Canned meats and meat dishes such as chilli beef and beans, ravioli, spaghetti Bolognese and broths (OK cold but quickly heated on a camp stove) 

  4. Cans,  jars or tubs of fruit in natural juice; dried fruit such as apple, apricots, dates, peaches, pears, prunes, sultanas, fruit and nut mixes, fruit straps 

  5. Cans and jars of vegetables such as artichoke hearts, asparagus, bamboo shoots, beetroot, cabbage/sauerkraut, capsicum, carrots, corn kernels, mushrooms, peas, tomatoes 

  6. Nuts (not salted) and nut/seed mixes 

  7. Dry cereals such as fruit and nut muesli (natural or toasted), muesli bars 

  8. Grainy crackers and crispbreads, oatmeal biscuits and shelf stable flat breads and wraps such as white corn tortillas and reduced-carb wraps 

  9. Powdered milk, small containers UHT milk, 

  10. And if you have a heating source such as a camp stove or gas bottle barbecue, you can expand your options to include foods that don’t need much water to cook such as instant noodles and ready to eat basmati brown rice 

What to drink? Bottled water, single-serving-sized juice that doesn't need to be refrigerated, diet soft drinks.

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.

This December, we bring back an old favourite from Johanna’s kitchen as she hasn’t had time to create something special for us – she is out there on the front line helping survivors of super-storm Sandy in New Jersey.


Flourless chocolate hazelnut cake.
This cake isn’t an Italian recipe at all, but it was a huge hit in my household one Christmas in Friuli. It is built around rich and nutty tasting ingredients that melt in your mouth. White flour is replaced by fibre-rich, vitamin-and mineral-dense ground hazelnuts. The lasting mouth feel is the result of the primarily unsaturated fat in the nuts. This cake stands proudly on its own – no frosting or ice cream can add to its most satisfying taste. If you must, try just a slight dusting of powdered sugar on the top of the cake. Because of the amount of sugar, the GI will be moderate. Enjoy it for dessert when entertaining and special occasions like birthdays. It will feed a crowd. And if you are worried about the calories, just have a sliver instead of a slice! Serves 12

3½ cups ground roasted hazelnuts (approx. 375 g/13 oz)
1½ cups sugar
2 tbsp vanilla essence
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa (approx. 70 g/2½ oz)
12 egg whites

Flourless chocolate hazelnut cake

Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Coat a spring-form pan with vegetable spray.
Mix the hazelnuts, sugar, vanilla and cocoa in a medium sized bowl. Beat egg whites until stiff and dry. Gently fold them into the chocolate nut mixture.
Pour the batter into the greased pan. Bake for 40–50 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool before serving.

Per slice (when cut into 12 slices)
Energy: 1402 kJ/ 334 cals; Protein 9 g; Fat 20 g (includes 2 g saturated fat and 0 mg cholesterol); Carbs 34 g; Fibre 5 g

What about those 12 egg yolks? Here are some ideas from the ever-amazing chef and food writer Kate McGhie:

  • Make mayo/hollandaise 
  • Whisk through pasta (carbonara or alfredo) or stir fries 
  • Poach the yolk and then chop and use in salads (potato is excellent) or on asparagus with salmon and a lemon-oil dressing 
  • Use in custard or lemon curd. 
  • Freeze. I pop a yolk into each cavity of an ice block tray, add a pinch salt for savoury use or sugar for sweet and freeze. When frozen I pop them into a freezer bag.
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 packed with fresh produce including these side dishes for festive fare – Sweetcorn and coconut salad from Kate McGhie’s Cook: recipes, stories and kitchen wisdom  and Kate McIntosh’s Sweet potato and pistachio quinoa.

Sweetcorn and coconut salad. 
A simple corn salad is ramped up with lively flavours and an unexpected burst of chilli heat. You can make this a day in advance and store, covered, in the fridge says Kate McGhie. Serves 4–6

3 cups fresh corn kernels
2½ cups milk
1 tsp butter
2 small red chillies, finely chopped
½ tsp ground cumin
2cm (1in) piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
pinch turmeric
2 tbsp shredded coconut
6 sprigs coriander (cilantro), roughly torn

Corn on the cob

Place the corn and milk in a pan and simmer for 45 minutes or until reduced by three-quarters. Season to taste with a little salt if you wish.
Melt the butter in a pan and swirl the chillies, cumin, ginger and turmeric. Add to the corn mixture with the coriander and coconut. Stir well, cook for 2 minutes more and serve warm or cooled.

Per serve (for 6 people)
Energy: 760 kJ/200 cals; Protein 7 g; Fat 6 g (includes 4 g saturated fat and 14 mg cholesterol); Carbs 23 g; Fibre 3 g

Sweet potato and pistachio quinoa.
This dish can be served warm with lamb, chicken or fish such as mackerel and swordfish or served cold as a salad says Kate McIntosh. Serves 4–6 as a side dish

1 orange-fleshed sweet potato (about 400 g), peeled and cut into 2cm (3/4in) dice
200g (7oz) quinoa
3 cups light chicken stock (low sodium)
3 tbsp pistachios, chopped quite finely
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
2 tbsp chopped coriander
2 tbsp chopped parsley
rind only 1 preserved lemon, finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Sweet potato and pistachio quinoa  

Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF ).
Roast the diced sweet potato for about 20 minutes or until tender
Cook the quinoa following the packet instructions in 3 cups (750 ml) chicken stock, then drain.
For a warm dish, heat a large pan, add all ingredients and stir over low heat until warmed through. If serving cold, simply toss all ingredients together and season to taste.

Per serve (for 6 people) 
kJ/Cal 1269/302; Protein 8 g; Fat 12 g (includes saturated 2 g) Carbohydrate 38 g; Fibre 5 g

Three fruity desserts for festive fare  ...

Mango, passion fruit and lime fruit salad.  
Kate McIntosh’s dessert is absolutely delicious and truly made in minutes. Serves 2
2 medium ripe mangoes, peeled and cut into dice (about 2 cups mango dice)
2 ripe passion fruit

½ cup (125 ml) mango puree
pinch of ground ginger
1 lime, juiced

Mango, passion fruit and lime fruit salad

Combine the mango puree, ginger and lime juice in a small bowl to make the dressing.
Place the mango dice into a serving bowl. Scoop out the passionfruit pulp and seeds and add to the mango dice, then gently stir through the mango-lime dressing.

Per serve 
700 kJ/167 calories; 3 g protein; 0.6 g fat (includes 0 g saturated fat); 33 g carbohydrate; 6 g fibre

Baked spiced pears with zabaglione sauce.  
Johanna Burani’s pears with cinnamon and cardamom are a marriage made in culinary heaven. Serves 4

2 ripe Bosc pears
2 tbsp sugar, divided
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp marsala wine

Baked spiced pears with zabaglione sauce

Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF).
Peel, halve and core the pears. Place them cut side down in a rectangular baking pan with just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan.
Combine 1 tablespoon of the sugar with the spices, and sprinkle half of this mixture over the pears. Bake the pears for 5 minutes in the preheated oven. Turn the pear halves over, sprinkle with the remaining sugar-spice mixture and continue to bake for another 5 minutes. Pears are done when they are easily pierced by a fork but still hold their shape. Large pears may take a little longer to cook. Remove from the oven, place in individual dessert dishes and set aside.
To make the sauce, combine the egg yolk and remaining tablespoon of sugar in a very small saucepan and mix vigorously for at least 5 minutes with a wooden spoon. Slowly add the marsala and mix well. Heat over low heat stirring constantly for approximately 1 minute or until the mixture thickens WITHOUT COMING TO A BOIL. Pour the sauce over the pear halves and serve warm or at room temperature.

Per serve (Serving size: ½ pear with 2 tbsp of sauce) 
Energy: 416 kJ/ 99 cals; Protein 1 g; Fat 2 g (includes less than 1 g saturated fat and 55 mg cholesterol); Carbs 21 g; Fibre 2 g

Easy mango crumble.  
You can use fresh in season or canned or frozen mango cheeks or slices in Catherine Saxelby and Jennene Plummer’s deliciously versatile recipe (from Zest). It also works with other summery fruits and other nuts like pistachios or macadamias. Serves 4–6

100g (3½oz) almond bread or biscotti, roughly crushed
½ cup rolled oats
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp wheatgerm
2 x 400g (14oz) cans mango slices in syrup, drained, (reserve 2 tbsp of the syrup), or 8 frozen or fresh mango cheeks
1 tbsp chopped pistachio nuts
2 tbsp maple syrup low fat vanilla yoghurt and maple syrup to serve

Easy mango crumble

Preheat oven to 180ºC (350ºF).
Combine the crushed almond bread, oats, brown sugar, wheatgerm and the 2 tablespoons of reserved mango syrup in a large mixing bowl.
Cut mango into chunks and arrange in a shallow ovenproof dish. Scatter over the crumble mixture and bake for 20–25 minutes until the topping is crisp and golden. Serve with yoghurt and a drizzle of maple syrup.   

Per serve
Energy 1260 kJ/ 300 cals; 17 g fat (includes 6 saturated fat g); 2.5 g fibre; 7 g protein; 28 g available carbohydrate

Busting Food Myths with Nicole Senior

Nicole Senior

Myth: Coffee sobers you up. 
Sorry, the only thing that sobers you up if you have drunk too much alcohol is TIME. It’s not a question of having a cup of strong black coffee to wake you up, nor a cold shower. It’s a question of getting the alcohol out of your body. And that takes time. If you have a large glass (250ml) wine, you need to allow about three hours for your body to break down the alcohol. So imagine how long a night on the town takes …

Man drinking lots of coffee

In fact, there are no hard and fast rules about how long the alcohol will stay in your body—it depends on your age and weight, whether you’re male or female, what sort of metabolism you have, how much food you’ve eaten, the type of alcohol over what period of time, how stressed you are and whether you are on any medication.

Downing a mug of coffee may be the worst thing you can do, according to a Temple University study (in mice) published in Behavioural Neuroscience. In the laboratory, caffeine made ‘drunk’ mice more alert but did not reverse the learning problems caused by alcohol, including their ability to avoid things they should have known could hurt them. The same results have been found in people who combine caffeine-loaded energy drinks with alcohol: the caffeine makes them more alert but their judgment is still impaired by the alcohol. In effect, the caffeine-alcohol combination makes you feel like you can, but actually you can’t: the potential for injury and misadventure is obvious.

The good news is that another study (in rats this time) has shown that a cup of coffee and an aspirin may help with the sore head the next day.

Key info: Coffee may make you feel more alert when you have drunk too much – but it doesn’t help you make better decisions or drive safely. Only time breaks down alcohol in the body.
Hungry for more? See http://rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov and http://www.drinkaware.co.uk/alcohol-and-you/health.

Nicole Senior is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and Nutritionist and author of Food Myths available in bookshops and online and from www.greatideas.net.au

GI Symbol News with Dr Alan Barclay

Dr Alan Barclay

Put your money where your mouth is 
This is a popular challenge in a variety of situations, but I have rarely heard it in the context of what we actually do put in our mouths. As Dr David Katz points out in Food for Thought ‘We respect how money will affect the quality of our lives, but overlook it with regard to food’.

‘Healthy food costs more’ is a popular tabloid headline along with hard-luck stories such as ‘I can’t afford healthy food’. But healthy food does not cost more. Not if you make the most of the inexpensive, filling and healthy staples that our parents and grandparents enjoyed. This includes naturally low GI foods like traditional oats; legumes such as beans, chickpeas and lentils (dried or canned) and split peas (channa dal), grain foods like barley (pearl), burgul, pasta, noodles and low or lower GI rices; starchy veggies like carrots, potatoes (Carisma and other lower GI varieties), taro, yams, parsnips and sweet corn; fresh green and salad veggies and fruit in season; and dairy foods like milk and yogurt (or the calcium enriched soy alternatives). For frugal low GI food know how, check out websites like food cents and Money Saving Meals (which has recipes packed with low GI ingredients).

And cooking healthy food doesn’t have to take longer. Check out Jamie’s 15-Minute Meals. This man knows how to make the most of a can of beans or a packet of pasta to create meals that will have the family coming back for more and the kids eating their greens. Possibly.

We do appreciate that some healthy low GI foods such as bread can cost a little more than the high GI alternatives. This is because the quality of the ingredients usually needs to be higher in order for the product to have a low GI, and processing techniques may also be different. However, quality really counts when it comes to your daily bread because for many of us, it is the number one source of glycemic carbohydrate in our diet. This is partly because it is such a versatile product – we can eat it for breakfast, use it to make sandwiches for lunch, and serve it with dinner all of which makes choosing a lower GI bread one of the easiest ways of lowering the overall glycemic impact of our diet. I realise for families, it's tempting to take advantage of supermarket price wars that drive prices down on staples like bread, but the cheap white stuff on offer is going to drive those BGLs up, and is not a good long-term investment.

So, invest your hard-earned cash in your health and buy healthy, low GI food and a low GI bread (it will also keep you feeling fuller for longer). In Australia and New Zealand, it is easy to find low GI breads – simply look for those that carry the GI Symbol:

  • Bürgen® Soy-Lin GI 52 
  • Bürgen® Pumpkin Seeds GI51
  • Bürgen® Rye GI53 
  • Bürgen® Fruit & Muesli GI53 
  • Bürgen® Wholemeal Seeds GI39 
  • Bürgen® Wholegrain & Oats GI51 
  • Cripps 9 Grain Sandwich GI53 
  • Tip Top Original 9-grain GI53 
  • Tip Top 9 Grain Wholemeal GI53 
  • Tip Top 9 Grain Mini Loaf Original GI53 
  • Tip Top 9 Grain Pumpkin Seeds GI53 
  • Tip Top 9 Grain 9 Seed GI53 
Burgen breads

If you don't have the GI Symbol to guide you, look for quality breads like authentic sourdoughs, dense grainy breads and pumpernickel or rye bread. 

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.barclay@gisymbol.com
Website: www.gisymbol.com

GI Update with Prof Jennie Brand-Miller

Prof Jennie Brand-Miller answers your questions.


Nutrition recommendations during lactation.
The energy cost of lactation depends largely on how much milk your baby is drinking. Assuming human milk provides about 3 kilojoules per mL, and that you are producing 1 litre a day, that’s a whopping 3000 kilojoules in the milk itself. But there’s a ‘tax’ in making all this milk, so in fact you need to ingest an extra 3700 kilojoules/day. However, most women have stored some extra fat during pregnancy which they want to lose during the first few months of their baby’s life. Allowing for this, the science suggests you need to get about 2000 extra kilojoules a day – about 20 per cent more than usual. Most women just eat more but some women do less physical activity than usual.

Losing weight: If you entered pregnancy being overweight, then now’s a good time to lose those extra kilos. You should do it slowly. Losses of approximately half a kilogram a week do not seem to affect milk production or your baby’s rate of growth. If you started pregnancy underweight, then make sure you eat three meals a day and are not losing weight. If your appetite is poor, then make an extra effort to eat small, energy dense healthy snacks (for example, nuts and dried fruit) between meals. During lactation, you’ll need an extra 15–20 g of protein a day – that’s relatively easy to obtain in our diet.

Nutrients that may be deficient in your diet while breastfeeding include folate, calcium, and vitamins E, D and B6.

  • Folate: You’ll need about 130 micrograms more folate a day than you did pre-pregnancy. While a supplement is not necessary during lactation, make sure you are eating folate-rich foods – leafy green vegetables being one of the richest sources. 
  • Calcium: There’s about 250–300 mg of calcium in a litre of human milk, equivalent to an extra serving of dairy or equivalent per day. 
  • Vitamin D: Human milk provides small amounts of vitamin D, around 50 micrograms per litre. This is drawn from stores in your liver but these are depleted within eight weeks of birth. As it’s near impossible to obtain sufficient Vitamin D just from food (even with the ideal diet) so you need to expose your skin to brief periods of sunlight at appropriate times of the day. 
If you are struggling to find time to eat, preparing a snack and something to drink (a glass of water) ahead of time, so it is ready when you sit down to feed baby, is a good option. It also makes sure you are refuelling and rehydrating as baby takes his or her nourishment from you.

Top 10 breastfeeding snacks 
  1. Wholegrain toast or raisin toast 
  2. Wholegrain sandwiches 
  3. Glass of milk or soy milk or a fruit smoothie 
  4. Yoghurt 
  5. Dried fruit and nut mix 
  6. Wholegrain crispbreads with cheese or avocado and tomato 
  7. Hummus or tzatziki dip with vegetable crudités 
  8. Muesli or porridge with low-fat milk or soy milk 
  9. Small can of baked beans or four-bean mix 
  10. Roasted chickpeas  
This is an edited extract from my latest book (with Dr Kate Marsh and Prof Robert Moses), The Bump to Baby Low GI Eating Plan for Conception, Pregnancy and Beyond (Hachette Australia). You can visit us HERE.

We are delighted to let GI News readers know that a US edition is on the way. The publisher is Matthew Lore of The Experiment. Matthew has published many of our books in the past and we are very happy to be working with him on this. We will keep you posted re publication details.

The Bump to Baby Low GI Eating Plan for Conception, Pregnancy and Beyond

New GI values from SUGiRS: Nudie coconut water.
Coconut water has long been a popular drink (fresh, canned or bottled) in tropical climes, especially in India, SE Asia, Brazil, the Caribbean, Africa and many Pacific islands. It is simply the watery fluid inside the coconut, so it’s a type of juice (but from a nut not a fruit). Like other juices, it is low GI. Compared with say fresh orange juice, it has similar carbs per serving, more potassium, sodium, magnesium and calcium but not as much in the way of vitamin C. SUGiRS recently tested Nudie Coconut Water and here are the (rounded) results:
  • ‘Straight Up’ Nudie Coconut Water (350ml bottle): GI 55, available carbohydrate 18g, fibre 1g, GL 10 
You can check out the nutrition information panel 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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