Feedback—Your FAQs Answered

Any thoughts on juicing? My husband (he has type 2 diabetes) and I generally have fresh juice in the mornings. We have noticed that his sugar readings are higher than usual and I am wondering if the juice is having an adverse effect. Many websites seem to indicate that diabetics shouldn't juice because there is no fiber to slow the assimilation of the sugar.
GI Group dietitian Kate Marsh says: ‘Definitely moderation when it comes to drinking juice – although many juices have a low GI, they also have a relatively high GL due to the amount of fruit it takes to make a glass of juice. I suggest making a combined fruit and vegetable juice as there is obviously less sugar/carbs in the vegies. Alternatively, dilute the fruit juice with water or mineral water. Remember it’s all too easy to overdo the calories (kilojoules) with juice – a serving is a small glass which if you measure it out is just ¾ of a cup (7 fl oz/200 ml).’

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What should the daily glycemic load be held below for a diabetic?

As we said in November GI News, we recommend you use the GI, rather than GL so we don’t suggest a GL number to shoot for. This is because a low GL diet can either be low GI and high in carbohydrates; or high GI and low in carbohydrates, and have similar effects on blood glucose levels, but significantly different effects on blood fats and insulin sensitivity. Emphasis on GL could easily lead to an unhealthy diet based on too few carbs. If you concentrate on foods/meals with a low GL, you could well end up eating a diet that is too low in carbs and too high in saturated fat. Fatty meats like salami and bacon and cheese after all have a low GL. If you choose healthy low GI foods – at least one at each meal – chances are you’re eating a diet that not only keeps blood glucose within the healthy range, but contains balanced amounts of carbohydrates, fats and proteins.

With the festive season upon us, do you have some tips for people with diabetes to help us stick to our healthy eating and exercise routines at family and social events when overindulgence is the order of the day?
Christmas, birthdays, entertaining, celebrations, parties – all of these events have one thing in common: food, and in particular, food that’s out of your control. The key is to try to keep your celebratory eating distinct from your regular meals rather than letting the entire Christmas period become a time of gorging and indulgence. And let people know if you don't want food as gifts, especially chocolates, lollies. Here are some tips from dietitian Kaye Foster-Powell for successful socialising.

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When you are the host:
I would like to make some low GI bran muffins, but I don't know what type of flour to use (that I can buy at the grocery store). Any suggestions?
To date there are no GI ratings for refined flour whether it’s made from wheat, soy or other grains. What we do know, however, is that bakery products such as scones, cakes, biscuits, donuts and pastries made from highly refined flour whether it’s white or wholemeal are quickly digested and absorbed. What should you do with your own baking? Try to increase the soluble fibre content by partially substituting flour with oat bran, rice bran or rolled oats and increase the bulkiness of the product with dried fruit, nuts, muesli, All-Bran or unprocessed bran. We don’t have a plain bran muffin recipe, but there are numerous muffin recipes in Jennie Brand-Miller's GI books and most contain some bran. The ‘Mixed Berry Muffins’ pictured here from The Low GI Diet Cookbook are delicious and have about a cup of bran in them as do the low GI ‘Oat & Apple Muffins’ (recipe below) from The New Glucose Revolution.

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photo: Ian Hofstetter

You need:
½ cup All-Bran™ cereal, ⅔ cup 1% milk, ½ cup self-rising flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon mixed spice, ½ cup unprocessed oat bran, ½ cup raisins (or sultanas), 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced, 1 egg, lightly beaten, ¼ cup honey (pure floral if possible), ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

To make:
Combine the All-Bran and milk in a bowl and let stand for 10 minutes. Sift the flour, baking powder, and mixed spice into a large bowl. Stir in the oat bran, raisins, and apple. Combine the egg, honey, and vanilla in a bowl. Add the egg mixture and All-Bran mixture to the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. Do not over mix. Spoon the mixture into a greased 12-hole muffin tray. Bake in a moderate oven (180°C/350°F) for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned and cooked through. Serve warm or cold. Makes 12 muffins

Do you have any prepared menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner?
When it comes to menus one size doesn’t fit all, so we don’t have them on our site at this stage. There are menus with an emphasis on low GI foods designed for people with specific needs from diabetes and heart disease, to PCOS, weight loss or wanting to follow a vegetarian diet in Jennie Brand-Miller’s GI books. For example, if you are just after some low GI healthy eating plans, you might like to check out Low GI Eating Made Easy, which includes the top 100 low GI foods and ways to enjoy them. Or the New Glucose Revolution Life Plan where dietitian Kaye Foster-Powell provides four typical healthy low GI menus for ‘EveryBody’, ‘BiggerBodies’, ‘BusyBodies’ and ‘KidsBodies’. There are vegetarian and vegan menus created by dietitian Kate Marsh in The Low GI Vegetarian Cookbook and a 12-week weight loss plan in The Low GI Diet. If you have special dietary needs, we suggest you consult a registered dietitian. He or she will have the letter RD (US/Canada) or APD (Australia) after their name.

How many carrots does it take? When you test GI do you use 50 g weight or 50 g as a unit of energy i.e. 50 g of CHO = 200 Kcals. If so, how do you test carrots? You must leave fibre out, so that seems like an awful large bunch of carrots to make someone crunch through.
Great question. When we test at SUGiRS, we calculate the quantity of a particular food necessary to deliver 50 grams of digestible carbohydrate (we don’t count the grams of fibre in this). If this represents an unreasonably large amount of food, we scale down everything by half and test a 25 gram carbohydrate portion. In fact, all the fruits and many vegetables, including carrots have been tested in this way, including carrots. In the case of carrots, the subjects ate about 350 g cooked carrots (about 3–4 large carrots). It was a large portion but manageable! In the case of raw carrot juice, they consumed about 350 ml (easy!). The resulting GI values (41 and 43 respectively) show that carrots, cooked or raw, have a low GI. Because all fruits and vegetables (bar potatoes!) are valuable additions to the diet, we don’t dwell on their GI. With the exception of potatoes, we recommend you eat them all to your heart’s content.

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