1 July 2009

GI News—July 2009


  • Adding years to your life and life to your years
  • The real deal on sugar and sweeteners
  • Prof Trim on what drives us to drink
  • Which foods are best for heart disease?
  • Spotlight on psyllium
  • Super foods or super expensive foods?
  • Money-saving low GI recipes
‘10 years younger in 10 days’ promises the TV show. Of course we know that they are talking about looking younger, and we take it with a pinch of salt or three. But it is possible to turn back the clock, although it takes a bit more effort than a brief stint on a reality TV show. In Food for Thought, dietitian Giselle Brand, who is passionate about helping people ‘add years to their life and life to their years,’ looks at what we need to do to reduce the risk of chronic disease and really enjoy the ‘golden years’.

Good eating, good health and good reading.

GI News Editor: Philippa Sandall
Web Design and Management: Scott Dickinson, PhD


Anonymous said...


I would appreciate your reading this article and your opinion of same. Having followed the belief of Canola oil being perhaps a second best choice to Olive oil I now feel not so sure. Am I better using only olive oil. Who are we to believe?
Thank you for your informative news letter and as I value the opinion of all your contributors I look forward to reading your reply. Sincerely Diana Burgess

GI Group said...

We have passed the link on to one of our dietitians and will post their comments on it asap. Dietitian Nicole Senior's book, Eat to Beat Cholesterol, devotes a whole chapter to healthy fats and oils (and what to choose). She recommends we enjoy a combination of both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats and oils and that we let taste be our guide and choose the oil that best suits the dish.

LPG said...

I am writing to you from USA. I came across your website and am hoping it will help me.
I am 47,66 inches tall, and up to a year ago I was in good health, though over weight at 170 lbs. Last July I had to have emergency back surgery and since then the weight has just been adding up.
Are the books mentioned on your website and articles available here in the States?
Any recommendations would be extremely appreciated.

Cordially, Laura P.

GI Group said...

Hi Laura, We hope you are on the road to recovery after that back injury. Yes, all the books are available in the US and Canada. Our North American publisher is Da Capo Lifelong Books which is part of the Perseus Group. They have been completely adapted for the US market (measures etc). Sometimes the title is slightly different, but the content is the same. We are informed that they are in all major bookstores and of course on Amazon -- just Google Jennie Brand-Miller. Good luck and let us know if you have any problems tracking them down.

GI Group said...

Nicole Senior responds to Diana's canola question:
Hi Diana,

I think this is another example of scaremongering. The overwhelming evidence supports the use of canola as a healthy oil to enjoy as part of a healthy diet.

Canola oil is safe to eat and moreover recommended by nutritionists and health experts including the Heart Foundation. I would disagree with your statement that olive oil is the best oil. There is no one best oil as we require a combination of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated oils to obtain our requirements for polyunsaturated essential fatty acids (olive oil is monounsaturated). Prudent health advice has always been to consume a variety of healthy oils including canola, olive, sunflower etc.

Dr Spreen seems a dubious source of nutrition and health information – evidenced by his preference for butter, lard and palm oil! All of these are actively discouraged by government nutrition recommendations and heart health organisations. And flaxseed oil? You can’t use it in cooking and have to keep it in the fridge because it spoils so easily – hardly a suitable or practical alternative to canola.

There are several key errors of fact in this article:

“So a little genetic manipulation by some plant breeders in Canada” Canola was developed through conventional plant breeding and NOT genetic manipulation - i.e. the girl part of the plants (stigma) were rubbed together with the boy parts (stamen), similarly to how home gardeners propagate plants in their garden shed.

..”mid-1980s was looking for a new, inexpensive oil to increase production of processed foods”. This is also not correct. The USA, home of the soybean industry has (and back in the 1980s, had) enough cheap oil available - they did not need another.

“So far, no studies have been conducted to test the effect of canola oil on humans."
This is also not correct There are many studies with thousands of subjects using canola oil, mostly around its cardiovascular benefits. Go to http://www.canolacouncil.org/canolabib/default.aspx for a list.

Canola based spread was used in the very famous Lyon Heart Study – an oft-quoted study used to support the power of dietary change (and specifically a Mediterranean style diet) in the secondary prevention of CHD. Go to http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4655 for a review of this study.

This article is another example of the adage “you can’t believe everything you read on the internet”.

You might be thinking, why would someone spread this kind of misinformation? They may lack the nutrition and food science knowledge required to critically analyse what they are told, or they may just be well meaning people with a hankering for conspiracy theories.

Call me cynical, but I think the mighty dollar is the root of it. The fats and oils market is competitive and there is always some who will profit from suspicion created about a competitor oil in the market.

Canola is one of many healthy oils we can choose from. Use a variety of different oils for health and enjoyment.

libby@lowgicooking.com said...

I wanted to ask a question about sweet dessert wine. My understanding was the sweet dessert wine was sweet because there is a high residual sugar content. According to this article, anywhere from 3-28% sugar content. This is because there is so much sugar in the initial juice that the fermentation of the yeast doesn't eat it all up, leaving sweet fruit juice behind. I ask this because of the comment in your June recipe, and also because I want to make sure I get this right. My understanding would be that dessert wine would have a GI similar to sweet fruit juice. I'll look forward to your thoughts, thanks! Here is the link: http://wine.lovetoknow.com/wiki/Dessert_Wine

GI Group said...

Libby, the sugar content of sweet wines varies over a 10-fold range

Dry white wine = 0.6%
Medium dry = 3.4%
Sweet dessert wine (eg late harvest reisling, sauternes) = 5.9%
Sweet sherry = 6.9%
Port = 12% Sweet Vermouth = 16%
Liqueurs (eg ccuracao = 28%

The GI would vary too – but in the case of the first three above, the GI would be difficult to measure because there is so little carbohydrate.

The GI of the others might be comparable to fruit juice – as far as we are aware, they’ve never been tested.