News Briefs

Every step you take…
In a five-year Australian study of nearly 600 adults averaging 50 years of age published in the British Medical Journal, walking more steps (the participants wore pedometers) was associated with reductions in body mass index, waist to hip ratio, and insulin sensitivity (a measure of type 2 diabetes risk). Sedentary people who increased their daily steps to 10,000 over the five year span saw improvement in their insulin sensitivity by three times compared to those who took only 3000 steps for five days a week. Past research has shown that walking more can decrease the risk of becoming overweight and developing insulin resistance. But the study is the first to suggest that increasing the actual number of steps you take can make a difference in your diabetes risk, researchers said.

Pedometer with 10,000 steps

How many steps should you take? According to a 2008 study on walking and maintaining a healthy weight, men ages 18–50 should take 12,000 steps a day. For men 50 and up, you'll need 11,000 steps a day. Women ages 18–40 need to take 12,000 steps a day, whereas women ages 40–50 should take 11,000 steps a day. Women in their 50s should take 10,000 steps a day, and women 60 and older should take 8000 steps a day. A rough estimate of how far you need to walk: depending on your stride, the average person takes about 1000 steps for every 0.8 kilometer (or about a half mile). To walk 11,000 steps is roughly equivalent to 8.8 km (5.5 miles).

Beat metabolic syndrome with a low GI diet
The bottom line from a cross-sectional analysis of the association of dietary GI and GL with the metabolic syndrome reported in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association and in the an accompanying editorial is that using the GI as intended – to choose the lowest GI food within a food group/category as part of a healthy, well balanced diet (moderate in carbohydrate) – may reduce the risk of developing the metabolic syndrome (large waist circumference, high blood glucose and triglyceride levels, and low HDL (Good) cholesterol levels), which in turn is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

Cinnamon/cassia and BGLs
A daily dose of two grams of cinnamon/cassia (Cinnamomum cassia, Holland and Barrett Ltd, UK) for 12 weeks was associated with improved blood pressure measures and BGLs in people with type-2 diabetes, reports a clinical study from Imperial College London. ‘The two gram dose of cinnamon (cassia) administered in our study was safe and well tolerated over the 12 weeks of treatment,’ wrote Dr Rajadurai Akilen and his co-workers in Diabetic Medicine. ‘The sustainability and durability of the effect of cinnamon has not been tested, nor has its long-term tolerability and safety, both of which will need to be determined. However, the short-term effects of the use of cinnamon for patients with type 2 diabetes look promising.’

The researchers report that the cinnamon supplement over the 12 weeks was associated with a reduction in HbA1c (glycated hemoglobin) levels from 8.22 to 7.86% in the cinnamon group compared with an increase in the placebo group from 8.55 to 8.68% and a mean decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure of 3.4 and 5.0 mmHg, respectively.

Pedometer with 10,000 steps

GI Group: In recent years, lab research has suggested that cassia cinnamon, which contains around 5% of coumarin, may make body cells more sensitive to insulin. Small studies in healthy people and people with diabetes have also shown that Cinnamomum cassia can reduce the blood glucose rise after eating. But the jury is still out – some results have been promising but it’s too early to say that cinnamon cassia definitely does have beneficial health effects for people with type 2 diabetes. We covered the story in GI News in April 2009

Green tea and BGLs
Research from Lund University, Sweden and published in the Nutrition Journal suggests that drinking a cup of green tea rather than water after eating (white bread in the study) could boost feelings of fullness, but found no evidence to support previous suggestions that it may moderate insulin sensitivity or glucose levels. You can read the whole article HERE

Vinegar and BGLs
A recent paper in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports that the BGL benefit of adding vinegar to a meal (as in a dressing with your salad) is more pronounced after a high GI meal than a low one. Read more about it on Catherine Saxelby’s website HERE.

Produce stories from our favourite food and nutrition websites that caught our eye and we think may catch yours. Fish is the flavour of the month in February.

#1 Paprika festival Ian and Liz Hemphill of Herbie’s Spices went in search of Hungary’s best paprika recently and spent five rainy days in the Hungarian countryside visiting farms and factories and attending the Kolosca Paprika Festival, where groups of locals cooked up wonderful paprika-spiced specialties. ‘Our favourite,’ writes Liz, ‘was this simple but fabulous catfish soup. It’s a good fish, firm fleshed and not too bony. You might find it in Australia called silver cobbler, or just cobbler, or you could use ling.’ Check out Liz’s catfish soup HERE.

# 2 En papillote ‘There’s something delightful about receiving a parcel, ‘ writes Inside Cuisine’s Rebecca Varidel. ‘It’s the child-like discovery process in the opening of the parcel that delights and enchants us. This holds true also for food. Cooking in parchment paper, en papillote in French or al cartoccio in Italian, was one of the earliest cooking techniques that I experimented with as a child. Perhaps I was enchanted (then as now) with the hidden treasures of aromas and taste. When the best of the season’s ingredients are folded in a pouch (of parchment, bag or aluminium foil) and then baked, the flavour is captured within and released as the parcel is opened.’ Check out Rebecca’s fish en papilotte (with step-by-step photos) HERE.