5 July 2005

GI News - July 2005

Welcome to the First Issue of GI News
Each month GI News will bring you up to date on the latest glycemic index research from around the world. Add this site to your favourites and check it at the beginning of the month for our regular features including:

  • Food for Thought
  • GI News Briefs
  • GI Values Updates
  • Low GI Food of the Month
  • Low GI Recipe of the Month
  • New Books
We welcome feedback—it is your chance to ask your questions or have your say! We hope that you enjoy this first issue of our newsblog and look forward to welcoming you back to our website each month. To subscribe to our newsletter, simply click on the "SUBSCRIBE" link in the right-hand column. Your email address will be kept strictly confidential.

Jennie Brand-Miller

In This Issue

Food for Thought
GI News Briefs

  • Reducing the Risk of Metabolic Syndrome
  • They Ate Plenty of Satisfying Foods and Lost Weight
  • The Type of Carb Can Tip the Scales
  • This for That
GI Values Updates
  • Dried Dates
  • Potatoes
Low GI Food of the Month—Quinoa
Low GI Recipe of the Month—French Toast with Berry Compote
New Books—Low GI Eating Made Easy

Food For Thought

‘We urgently need nutrition messages that fire the imagination and encourage even unmotivated people to adopt effective dietary strategies that reduce the risk of chronic disease,’ writes Prof. Jennie Brand-Miller in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2005; 81: 949–50).’ She points out that during the past two decades when low-fat diets and plenty of cereal foods were actively promoted, the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes has soared and the overweight are the majority in industrialised nations.

‘The new Dietary Guidelines in the US sensibly give greater emphasis to increasing wholegrain foods as opposed to refined grains,’ she says. But, they still don’t come to grips with the fact that most individuals will simply choose to ignore that advice (it’s been around for over 50 years). Furthermore, there are clear advantages to eating low GI foods, even when the diet is high in fibre. Many so-called wholegrain breads and breakfast cereals produce as much postprandial glycemia as their white counterparts.

If the experience in Australia and more recently the UK is anything to go by, many people warm to the low GI message according to Prof. Brand-Miller. They don’t find it a difficult concept to understand at all. They are making the switch to low GI carbs and finding that a low GI diet is easy to live with, flexible, fits in with family and friends and reduces hunger even during weight loss.

The research shows that a low GI diet will:

  • Lower day-long blood glucose and insulin levels
  • Maximise the oxidation (burning) of fat
  • Help control hunger
  • Reduce risk of diabetes, heart attack, stroke and some cancers

Prof. Jennie Brand-Miller is Professor of Human Nutrition at the University of Sydney and author of a number of books on the glycemic index including The New Glucose Revolution and The Low GI Diet.

GI News Briefs

Reducing the Risk of Metabolic Syndrome
The scientific benefits of eating low GI foods as part of a balanced diet are becoming increasingly clear according to Dr Gary Frost, head of the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics at Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust. Hammersmith researchers found that eating just one extra low GI item per meal can reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome. They measured the blood glucose levels of nine people on normal diets, and then put them on a low GI diet involving replacing one low GI item per meal for two weeks. When the readings were taken again eight out of nine had lower blood glucose readings. According to Dr Frost, ‘Any diet measure that was going to be successful needed to be realistic and manageable. The low GI diet (has) the potential to have a huge impact because of its simplicity.’
—Reported in the British Journal of Nutrition(2005) 93, 179–182

They Ate Plenty of Satisfying Foods and Lost Weight
‘A diet focused on glycemic index may be easier to follow than diets restricted in either fat or carbs’ reports David S. Ludwig, MD, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics at Children's Hospital, Boston in a small study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.’ And there seems to be an additional benefit in reducing the risk of chronic disease.’ In a 12-month study he found that 11 obese 30-year-olds on a “slow carb” diet lost similar amounts of weight weight to 12 of their obese peers on a conventional low-fat diet. But they also lowered their risk of heart disease. They didn't avoid fats or carbs. They didn't count kilojoules/calories or eat prepackaged foods. The key was eating plenty of satisfying foods that the body can't quickly convert into sugar—what are called slow or low GI carbs.
—Reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (1 May 2005)

The Type of Carb Can Tip the Scales
Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) analysed the eating habits of 572 people in Central Massachusetts and found a clear link between the intake of certain carbohydrate foods and higher body mass index (BMI). They found that people who ate more refined grains, starchy vegetables, white flour and similar carbohydrates were significantly heavier than people who ate foods with ‘good carbohydrates’ such as wholegrains, non-starchy vegetables, nuts and seeds. It wasn’t the total amount of carbohydrates that made the difference, it was the type of carbohydrates eaten that tipped the scales. “There are many factors involved in obesity, but our study found a clear association with eating certain carbohydrates and body weight,” said Yunsheng Ma, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine at UMMS.

Photo: Ian Hofstetter, The Low GI Diet Cookbook
—Reported in the American Journal of Epidemiology (15 February 2005; vol 161: pp 359–367)

This for That!
‘The simple change from white bread to lower-GI bread within a high carbohydrate diet could reduce the risk of diabetes,’ according to Australian researchers writing Diabetes Care. For many people, just swapping ‘bread type may be a more acceptable dietary change than one requiring a whole new eating pattern.’ The researchers who included Allison Hodge of the Cancer Council in Victoria, followed the diets and health records of more than 36,000 men and women in Australia for four years. They found white bread was the food most strongly related to diabetes incidence—participants who ate the most white bread (more than 17 slices per week) had the highest risk of diabetes.
—Reported in Diabetes Care (November 2004; vol 27: pp 2701–2706)

GI Values Update

Update on Dried Dates
It would appear that the GI value of dried dates could vary significantly depending on the variety (and there are approximately 600 varieties). When dried dates were first tested their GI value was 103. This high value was puzzling and was rechecked a number of times. It may be that the amount of carbohydrate per serve on the packaging label was incorrect. A team in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at UAE University has recently tested the khalas variety of dates and found that the average GI value was 39.

  • Khalas dried dates GI 39 (average)
—Reported in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2003) 57 427–430 (Miller CJ, Dunn EV, Hashim IB. The glycaemic index of dates and date/yoghurt mixed meals. Are dates ‘the candy that grows on trees’?)

The Popular Potato
Roots and tubers are the third largest carbohydrate source in the world with potatoes the most popular—half of all root crops consumed. The yearly per capita consumption of potatoes in the US has more than doubled since 1970. In fact, Americans, for example, consume more potatoes than any other vegetable.

The GI value of potatoes can vary significantly depending on variety and cooking method (GI 56 to 89) according to University of Toronto researchers reporting in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. Their study found that precooking and reheating potatoes or consuming cold cooked potatoes (such as potato salad) reduces the glycemic response. The highest glycemic index values for potatoes were found in potatoes that were freshly cooked and instant mashed potatoes.
  • Boiled red potatoes served cold GI 56
  • Roasted California white potatoes GI 72
  • Boiled Prince Edward Island potatoes GI 72
  • Baked US Russet potatoes GI 77
  • Instant mashed potato GI 88
  • Boiled red potatoes served hot GI 89
—Reported in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2005;105:557-562 (Fernandes G, Velangi A, Wolever T. Glycemic index of potatoes commonly consumed in North America)

Low GI Food of the Month

GI 51
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a small, round, quick-cooking grain somewhat similar in colour to sesame seeds. It’s a nutritional powerpack—an excellent source of low GI carbs, fibre and protein, and rich in B vitamins and minerals including iron, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc. You can also buy quinoa flakes and quinoa flour, but GI of these products has not yet been published.

Photo: Ian Hofstetter, The Low GI Diet Cookbook
Health and organic food stores and larger supermarkets are the best places to shop for quinoa. You may find it’s a little more expensive than other grains. The wholegrain cooks in about 10–15 minutes and has a light, chewy texture and slightly nutty flavour and can be used as a substitute for many other grains. It is important to rinse quinoa thoroughly before cooking—the grains have a bitter-tasting coating designed by nature to discourage hungry hordes of birds.

  • Substitute quinoa for rice, couscous, cracked wheat or barley in soups, stuffed vegetables, salads, stews and even in a ‘rice’ pudding.
  • To serve four as side dish, rinse 1 cup of quinoa. Drain, place the grains in a medium-sized pot with 2 cups of water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat, cover and leave to barely simmer until all the water is absorbed.
  • For a richer flavour, toast quinoa (but don’t let it burn) in a dry pan for a minute or two before cooking as above.
  • Check out Rebecca Wood’s Quinoa the Supergrain: Ancient Food for Today for plenty of recipes and meal ideas using quinoa.
—From Low GI Eating Made Easy

4 July 2005

Low GI Recipe of the Month

French Toast with Berry Compote
Serves 4
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 10–15 minutes

Photo: Ian Hofstetter, The Low GI Diet Cookbook
Enjoy this berry compote from The Low GI Diet Cookbook using your favourite mix of fresh or frozen berries—strawberries, blackberries, blueberries or boysenberries. Berries don’t ripen once they’re picked, so choose carefully – the deeply coloured ones tend to be the sweetest and have the most flavour.

200 g (7 oz/1 cup) mixed berries
2 eggs
2 tablespoons low fat milk
4 slices fruit-and-muesli bread or fruit loaf
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

1. Put the berries in a small saucepan and gently heat until the berries are warm and have softened.
2. Meanwhile, break the eggs into a flat-bottomed dish, add the milk and whisk with a fork to combine. Add the slices of fruit bread and coat well, on both sides, with the egg mixture.
3. Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat and dry-fry 2 slices of the eggy bread for about 3 minutes on each side, or until brown. Repeat with the remaining 2 slices. Cut the bread in half and serve topped with the warm berries and 2 teaspoons of the maple syrup drizzled over the top of each.

Nutritional analysis per serve
890 kJ (215 Cal), 4 g fat (saturated 1 g),
7 g protein, 37 g carbohydrate, 4 g fibre,
140 mg sodium

Berries are best eaten as soon as possible after purchase. If you need to keep them for a day or two, minimise mould by taking them out of the container and placing them on a couple of layers of paper towel. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator. Don’t wash them until you’re ready to use them.

The Low GI Diet Cookbook will be published in:
Australia: September 2005 (Hachette Livre Australia)
UK: January 2006 (Hodder Mobius)
USA: November 2005 (Marlowe & Company)

New Books

Low GI Eating Made Easy
Want to eat a healthy, low GI diet but don’t know how to select the right foods? This handy guide takes the hard work out of shopping, listing the GI for more than 100 foods and highlighting low GI alternatives, so you can make the right choices.

Three million people worldwide have already discovered The New Glucose Revolution’s tremendous health benefits, which include losing weight, gaining better blood glucose control, helping with diabetes, increasing energy levels and improving heart health. This guide is the key to those healthy benefits, helping you to navigate the supermarket aisles with ease and making low GI foods work for you—every day, every meal.

Low GI Eating Made Easy will be published in:
Australia: July 2005 (Hachette Livre Australia)
New Zealand: August 2005 (Hachette Livre New Zealand)
UK: December 2005 (Hodder Mobius)
USA: January 2006 (Marlowe & Company)