Dr Alan Barclay
Low GI foods and drinks help kids keep in shape
While it’s common knowledge that adults around the world are piling on the pounds, we sometimes overlook the fact that our children live in exactly the same obesogenic environment and that they too are increasing in girth at a faster rate than they are increasing in stature. Here in Australia, for example, 1 in 4 children aged 5-17 years were classified as overweight or obese in Australia's most recent national nutrition survey.
A new systematic review and meta-analysis of low glycemic index and load diets in children has shown how consuming low GI/GL meals and snacks can help children prevent weight gain.
The researchers identified six studies that included 213 children aged from four to seventeen and found that kids can reduce their average energy intake at the next meal by approximately 600 kilojoules (145 calories) by choosing healthy low GI alternatives.
The authors report that: “The underlying mechanism regarding the relationship between GI and energy intake is glucostatic hypothesis. In this theory, decrease and increase in blood glucose level is the main determinant of hunger and satiety, respectively. L[ow] GI foods provided sustained blood glucose levels. Thus, feelings of hunger are delayed following an L[ow] GI meal compared with an H[igh] GI meal.” This new level 1 evidence (the highest) builds on results from the recent Diogenes study that found that a higher protein, low GI diet is the best eating pattern for longer term weight maintenance in children aged from five to eighteen.
Most kids like to graze on small meals and snacks throughout the day. By providing healthy low GI snacks between meals you can help your children reduce their overall kilojoule/calorie intake at their main meals. Healthy low GI snacks for children include:
The GI Symbol, making healthy low GI choices easy choices
- Fresh fruit (apples, grapes, pears and other temperate fruits) and fruit salad
- Canned/bottled fruit
- Dried fruit (apple, apricots, dates, peaches, pear, prunes)
- Fruit and nut mix
- Reduced or low fat plain milk
- Reduced or low fat flavoured milk (e.g., Milo)
- Reduced or low fat yoghurt (plain or with fruit)
- Low GI bread (Burgen, Tip Top 9 Grain or Mission corn tortilla all carry the GI Symbol) with a favourite spread or topping (e.g., hummus)
- Raisin toast with a scrape of jam
- Wholegrain crackers and crispbreads
- Muesli bars (e.g., Uncle Toby's Crunchy or Chewy varieties)
- A small bowl of breakfast cereal (Kellogg’s Sustain or All Bran Fibre Toppers) with reduced or low fat milk
For more information about the GI Symbol Program
Dr Alan W Barclay, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer
Glycemic Index Foundation (Ltd)
Phone: +61 (0)2 9785 1037
Mob: +61 (0)416 111 046
Fax: +61 (0)2 9785 1037