GI Q&A with Prof Jennie Brand-Miller
If carbohydrates increase my blood glucose level, wouldn’t a low carbohydrate diet make better sense for better blood glucose?
In theory, a low-carbohydrate diet seems a logical choice if your aim is simply to reduce blood glucose levels. But presumably your goal is optimum health, with not just good glycemic control, but reduced risk of chronic disease. If so, low-carbohydrate diets have little to offer. In practice, they are difficult to sustain over the long term because carbohydrates are part and parcel of our Western diet. In fact, there is strong evidence to suggest that moderate- to high-carbohydrate diets are better for your health and easier to sustain.
Low-carb diets come in many forms and more research is needed before we can be sure that they are safe over the long term. We do feel people should be wary of the more extreme low carb diets that are based on the concept of avoiding carbohydrate-based foods – restricting even fruits and vegetables. Chances are they are high in saturated fats and a recipe for ill-health in the long term.
The South Beach Diet, on the other hand, recommends less carbohydrate (about 30–40 percent instead of 55 percent) and more protein (25–30% instead of 15%) and good fats such as olive oil. It includes advice about quality of carbohydrate (low versus high GI) and type of fat (unsaturated versus saturated). If you enjoy this way of eating, then there’s nothing really wrong with it. But over time, you may find yourself yearning for higher carb foods like bread and potatoes.
You can find the answers to over 100 FAQs about blood glucose levels in:
What Makes My blood Glucose Go Up and Down. It’s available from bookstores and Amazon:
New GI values with Fiona Atkinson
If you like to nibble on a savoury snack occasionally ...
Here at SUGiRS we have just tested Smith's Grain Waves Original Flavoured Wholegrain Chips. Here’s what we found:
GI testing by an accredited laboratory
- GI 51, available carbs per serving 18g and GL 9.
- According to the ingredient label they contain (in descending order): corn, wheat, oats, vegetable oil (100% high oleic sunflower oil), rice, sugar and salt.
- A standard 28 g serving of 12 ‘chips’ according to the nutrition information panel provides: 569kJ (135 calories), 2g protein, 6g fat (incl. 1g sat fat), 18g carbs, 1.7g fibre and 122mg sodium.
Dr Alexandra Jenkins
Glycemic Index Laboratories
36 Lombard Street, Suite 100
Toronto, Ontario M5C 2X3 Canada
Phone +1 416 861 0506
Research Manager, Sydney University Glycemic Index Research Service (SUGiRS)
Human Nutrition Unit, School of Molecular and Microbial Biosciences
NSW 2006 Australia
Phone + 61 2 9351 6018
Fax: + 61 2 9351 6022
See The New Glucose Revolution on YouTube