Professor Jennie Brand-Miller answers your questions
I have read that we should be basing our diet mostly on plant foods for good health. But I have also read that a moderate protein diet will keep us feeling fuller for longer and help us maintain a healthy weight. What plant foods have protein and which ones are low GI?
Protein is found in many plant foods, and the good news is that many are low or lower GI foods – check the GI Database (www.glycemicindex.com) for your favourites. To give you an idea how much protein you can get from plant foods, I have selected the following foods (with their sample serving sizes) from The Shopper’s Guide to GI Values – 2011 Australian edition.
Breakfast cereals, breads and grains
- ½ cup (150g) baked beans in tomato sauce (GI 49) provides around 7g protein
- ½ cup (130g) canned, drained cannellini beans (GI 31) provides around 8g protein
- 2/3 cup (125g) cooked red lentils (GI 26) provides around 9g protein
- 1 cup (180g) cooked split peas (GI 25) provides around 12g protein
- 1 cup (170g) cooked soy beans (GI 18) provides around 23g protein
- 100g (3½oz) tofu (raw) provides around 12g protein (GI not relevant)
- 1 cup (250ml) So Natural light soy milk (GI 44) provides around 5g protein
Nuts and seeds
- ¾ cup (30g) Kelloggs Special K original (GI 56) provides around 6g protein
- ¾ cup (45g) Kelloggs All-Bran (GI 44) provides around 7g protein
- ¼ cup (30g) raw traditional rolled oats (GI 57) provides around 3g protein
- 1 slice (35g) Tip Top 9-grain Original bread (GI 53) provides around 4g protein
- 1 slice (40g) Burgen Soy-Lin bread (GI 52) provides around 6g protein
- 1 cup (170g) cooked brown rice (GI 59–86, so check the tables and choose a low GI one) provides around 5g protein
- 1 cup (170g) cooked basmati rice (GI 58) provides around 4g protein
- 1 cup (180g) cooked pasta (GI 35–54) provides around 7g protein
- 1 cup (180g) cooked fresh rice noodles (GI 40) provides around 3g protein
- 1 cup (180g) cooked soba/buckwheat noodles (GI 46) provides around 9g protein
- 1 cup (190g) cooked pearl barley (GI 25) provides around 6g protein
- 1/2 cup (90g) cooked Nature First Organic quinoa (GI 53) provides around 4g protein
New GI Values from SUGiRS
- A small handful (30g/1oz) of most nuts or seeds will deliver around 5g protein (GI not relevant)
‘Be Natural’ low GI breakfast cereals
SUGiRS tested these Be Natural breakfast cereals with water (after all, you can't ask volunteers to chow down dried cereal). The serving sizes used are those recommended by the manufacturer. Served with a little reduced fat milk or a dollop of fat-free yoghurt, the GI would be a little lower.
- Be Natural Cashew, Almond, Hazelnut & Coconut Muesli GI 54 – 27g available carbs and 5g protein per 2/3 cup (45g) serving
- Be Natural Multi-Grain Porridge GI 53 – 22g available carbs and 4.8g protein per sachet (40g) serving
- Be Natural Pink Lady Apple & Flame Raisin Muesli GI 51 – 31g available carbs and 4.3g protein per 3/4 cup (45g) serving
Pizza is basically a flat bread (the crust) with toppings. That's why it's great to see a low GI grainy crust (it's over to YOU to choose the healthier toppings on offer). We have to say there was no shortage of volunteers when GI Labs in Toronto were testing Naked Pizza’s Original grainy pizza crust. Co-founder Jeff Leach says they set out ‘to create a better-for-you pizza without additives and with fewer calories, more protein and fibre and less fat that people can enjoy as part of a healthy lifestyle.’ The multigrain crust includes 10 grains and seeds plus prebiotic fibre from agave plants and added probiotics (for digestive health). A gluten-free crust is also available. ‘Our number one seller is the Superbiotic, followed by the Mediterranean and then the Omnivore,’ says Jeff.
Remember: pizza is for sharing! That means enjoy a slice or two with friends or family: don't eat the whole pizza on your own.
- 1 slice medium-sized Naked Pizza Original crust GI48 – 9g available carbs, 5g fibre and 3g protein plus sauce, cheese and toppings
You can read more about Naked Pizza (what’s on the menu, what's in it and where you can buy it) HERE.
GI testing by an accredited laboratory
Dr Alexandra Jenkins
Glycemic Index Laboratories
20 Victoria Street, Suite 300
Toronto, Ontario M5C 298 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