Food for Thought

A high carb diet: is it still the ideal public health message?
The proportion of people with excess body fat has doubled in the last two decades despite all our efforts to slim down. Between half and two-thirds of adults in developed nations are classed as overweight or obese. Men are worse off than women, and our children are affected, too – approximately one in four weigh much more than they should for their age and height. Even our pets are suffering – over quarter of all cats and dogs are classed as overweight and many have diabetes as a result. The food industry has met our demand for ‘diet’ and ‘lite’ foods, low fat foods, sugar substitutes, fat substitutes – you name it, they made it. But this has not stemmed the obesity epidemic. Indeed, some experts feel the food industry and its advertising are partly to blame.

Millions of people around the world are following carbohydrate-modified diets for weight loss as well as general health. And certainly both high protein and low GI diets have caught the public’s attention if diet book sales are anything to go by. With obesity and diabetes reaching epidemic proportions, what’s the best way to lose weight?

Earlier this year, the results of the largest weight loss study ever carried out indicated that a low fat dietary intervention was not a magic bullet for preventing weight regain (JAMA 2006; 295: 39). In contrast, recent studies published in JAMA, The Lancet, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, American Journal of Epidemiology and International Journal of Obesity, suggest low GI diets have specific beneficial effects over and above that of the conventional low fat diet. But not all studies have been consistent. Are some individuals more likely to see benefits of low GI diets than others? How do high protein diets compare with those that focus on carbohydrate quality, ie. the GI?

Explore the question of carb quantity or quality with some of the world’s leading researchers at a one-day forum in Sydney on September 2 including:
Professor Jennie Brand-Miller

‘Carbohydrates, the Glycemic Index and Health’
Click HERE for registration or more information