1 March 2014

GI News—March 2014


  • New GI value for corn syrup;   
  • Why high fibre foods are not necessarily low GI;  
  • Indigenous health and why bush food is really, really good;  
  • David Katz: Fathoming the calorie;  
  • Nicole Senior bites into apples in Taste of Health, and Anneka Manning whips up a batch of bircher muesli with apples;
  • Emma Sandall's Pilates pointers. 
GI News 
Editor: Philippa Sandall
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Food for Thought

Fathoming the calorie. 
‘I have some trouble fathoming our constant questioning of the calorie: Is a calorie really a calorie? Do calories really count? After all, a calorie is a precise and specific unit of energy, or heat. Namely, it is the heat required to raise the temperature of 1 cubic centimeter of water at sea level 1 degree Celsius. The measure we more routinely apply to food, the kilocalorie, is exactly 1,000 times as much,’ writes Dr David Katz.

Dr David Katz
Dr David Katz

‘The quantity of calories we consume matters and it's the principal determinant of what we wind up weighing. The evidence that quantity matters is clear, consistent, and in my view, irrefutable. Fed an excess of calories, even if mostly from high-quality protein, people gain weight. Assigned to a calorie deficit, people lose weight—even if the calories are mostly from Twinkies. Calories count. But of course, quality matters too, and it matters on both sides of the energy-balance equation.

Calories go out in three ways: we burn them to survive (resting energy expenditure); we burn them to work (physical exertion); and we waste them (thermogenesis or heat loss). The quality of the fuel we consume can affect both resting energy expenditure, and thermogenesis. Is this surprising? Not at all. We can make fire with wood, or coal; coal burns hotter. Protein, fats, and low-glycemic foods seem to burn a bit "hotter" than simple and refined carbohydrates, a fact corroborated by a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Quality matters considerably more, in my opinion, to the calories that come in. We all know the food industry's most famous threat: "betcha' can't eat just one!" Of course, it wasn't intended as a threat, but in an age of epidemic obesity, isn't it exactly that? Foods can, indeed, be processed into virtual irresistibility based on detailed studies of brain function, imaging of the human appetite center in the hypothalamus. And they can be processed into marvelously efficient calorie delivery systems: energy dense, nutrient dilute, low in volume.

Calorie rich, nutrient poor foods

Wholesome, nutritious foods have the opposite effect. Among their many virtues, they minimize the number of calories it takes to feel full, due to many attributes, among them: high volume, high fiber, low-glycemic index/load, nutrient density, energy dilution, flavor simplicity, etc. The following tips are as much about finding health as losing weight, so they are advisable whether or not you have weight to lose.

  • To control weight, you must control calories—quantity matters. Period! 
  • The best way to control quantity is by improving quality. One of the many virtues of wholesome foods is that they help us fill up on fewer calories. Eat lots of simple foods that are close to nature. 
  • More of the right kinds of fat can be helpful. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are generally good for health and may help with portion control in the right context. An example of that context is the Mediterranean diet. 
  • Protein is satiating. Up to a point, more high-quality protein can be helpful. Think lentils, beans, meats, fish, eggs. 
  • Lower glycemic load can be helpful. This does not require cutting carbs indiscriminately, but it does mean avoiding or limiting foods made with refined starches and added sugars. 
  • Foods can be high in calories, and still help control total calorie intake—if they are rich in nutrients, and help confer a lasting feeling of fullness. We have such evidence for walnuts and almonds. 
  • While the source of calories may influence how many are burned, this is a trivial effect compared to that of…exercise! If you really want to burn more calories, you will get far more out of changing what you do with your feet than by changing what's at the end of your fork.  
This edited extract is reproduced with Dr David Katz permission. It first appeared in Eat+Run In Dr Katz latest book (with Stacey Colino), DISEASE PROOF, he shares the very skill set on which he and his family rely to enjoy lifestyle as medicine.

What's new?

Diabetes: We are in it together. 
Living in a household implies sharing duties and responsibilities but it could also imply sharing your diabetes. A research team from the McGill University Health Centre has shown, through combined analyses of several studies, evidence that spousal diabetes is a diabetes risk factor. These findings, in BMC Medicine, have important clinical implications since they can help improve diabetes detection and motivate couples to work together to reduce the risk of developing the condition. ‘We found a 26% increase in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes if your spouse also has type 2 diabetes,’ says senior author of the study, Dr. Kaberi Dasgupta. ‘Changing health behaviour is challenging and if you have the collaboration of your partner it's likely to be easier.’

Senior couple

Looks like it was too many calories after all. 
‘O stop, stop. This is too much!’ cried the Mole in ecstacies on hearing that Rat’s fat, wicker luncheon-basket was packed with cold chicken plus ‘coldtongue-coldham-coldbeef-pickledgherkinssalad-frenchrolls-cresssandwiches-pottedmeat-gingerbeer-lemonade-sodawater’ And from Trevor J Carden and Timothy P Carr’s analysis in Nutrition Journal using USDA loss-adjusted food availability data, too much is what many of us have been eating. They report that total energy availability in the US food supply increased 10.7% from 1970 to 2009.

The findings are based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Loss-Adjusted Food Availability Database and its Nutrition Database for Standard Reference. Those resources, rich in data about Americans’ eating patterns over the years, show that the energy (calories) available from protein, carbohydrates and fat increased 4.7 percent, 9.8 percent and 14.6 percent, respectively. ‘It is a misconception that fructose is a unique contributor to obesity,’ said Carr, who chairs UNL’s Department of Nutrition and Health Sciences. ‘Fructose turns out to be a relatively small contributor to the overall food supply.’ In 1970, fructose availability was 63.2 grams per day. It has fluctuated in the years since, but stood at 62.4 grams in 2009. ‘We conclude that increased total energy intake, due to increased availability of foods providing glucose (primarily as a starch in grains) and fat to be a significant contributor to increased obesity in the U.S.’

From 1970 to 1999, they found carbohydrate made the greatest contribution to the increased energy availability of the US diet, whereas the fats/oils category was a more important contributor to the energy increase after 1999. ‘This apparent replacement of carbohydrate with fats/oils may have been due to increasing popularity of diets lower in carbohydrate and higher in fat, thus accounting for the greater net accumulation of energy from fat versus carbohydrate.’

Does substantial progressive weight gain precipitate type 2 diabetes? 
This is a common notion, but a small prospective cohort study in PLOS Medicine suggests it is possibly more complex. Dorte Vistisen and Kristine Færc and colleagues analyzed data from participants of the Whitehall II cohort, a group of London-based civil servants who have been followed for more than a decade, to see what changes in body weight and other parameters had occurred in people in the years before they were diagnosed with diabetes. 6,705 participants were free of diabetes when they entered the study and are included in the analysis. They were tested for diabetes every 5 years, and 645 of them were subsequently diagnosed with the disease. Going back to measurements of body mass index which were recorded regularly, the researchers used a statistical method to identify patterns of change in BMI among individuals who went on to develop diabetes. They identified three very clear groups in 632 of the participants with diabetes:

  • 606 participants were ‘stably overweight’, and showed little change in their BMI over the years before they were diagnosed with diabetes. 
  • 26 participants were persistently obese for the entire time they participated in the study, in some cases for 18 years before they developed diabetes. 
  • 15 participants had gained weight continuously in the years before diagnosis. 
Because the three distinct patterns of obesity development were accompanied by different changes over time in insulin resistance and other risk factors for heart disease and diabetes, the authors conclude that ‘type 2 diabetes is a not a single disease entity.’ 
Bush food is really, really good.  
# Long yam. In the second of the thirty short films being made by Darwin-based record company Skinnyfish with Indigenous musicians to spread health messages in remote communities, a child shows us a long yam (Dioscorea transversa), one of the traditional staples Indigenous women have gathered for thousands of years in The Top End. Long yam is nutrient dense and a good source of fibre, vitamins and minerals. It is also has a low GI value (GI 37) making it a very good choice of starchy carbohydrate for people with diabetes or pre-diabetes who need to manage their blood glucose levels. You can view ‘Bush Food Is Really, Really Good’ HERE.

Girl with bush food

Sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas), are commonly called a yam in the US and Canada, but botanically they aren’t yams at all. They are the tuberous roots of a vine from the morning glory family (Convolvulaceae) and the varieties tested so far have moderate (GI 61) and high GI values (GI 75).

# Why bush food is really, really good. In the 1980s, Professor Jennie Brand-Miller analysed the nutrient composition of Aboriginal bush foods. ‘We looked at the protein, carbohydrate, fat and fibre content and built a database of the Indigenous diet,’ she says. ‘We also found that many of the foods tended to be low GI.’ when she and her co-authors published the results in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, they made the point that their findings ‘are consistent with the hypothesis that carbohydrate in traditional diets is slowly digested and absorbed and may once have been protective against diabetes’.

Tables of composition of Australian Aboriginal foods

# Living off bush food back in 1948. Having Tables of composition of Australian Aboriginal foods is not the same as having actual nutritional detail about typical traditional diets. The first major study was in 1948, when Margaret McArthur and her colleagues observed the daily activities of families of nomadic Aborigines in Groote Eylandt, Bickerton Island, Port Bradshaw, Yirrkala and Oenpelli, Northern Territory over several months.

Discussing their findings in Nutrition studies (1948) of nomadic Aborigines in Arnhem Land, northern Australia they write: ‘It is not known to what extent these observations reflect conditions which prevailed before the traditional way of life of the Aborigines was disturbed by Europeans. The normal food intake of Aboriginal communities was never a constant quantity. Living as they did from the natural products of the country through which they moved, they had little control over the supply of food, which varied from season to season and from year to year. Nevertheless, the Aborigines did not wander aimlessly about the countryside looking for food. As is evident from this study, they applied knowledge and skills accumulated over countless centuries. The women knew the ecosystems in which food was to be found and the type of food they would find in each; the men knew when and where to hunt game, fish and turtle ... With only a few exceptions, the diets which were recorded at four camps in Arnhem Land – from the beginning to the end of the dry season of the monsoonal climate – were well balanced in protein, fat, carbohydrate and crude fibre, and were comparable to international dietary recommendations in energy, iron, calcium and ascorbic acid.’

New GI values. 
Corn syrup  (dark) Here we are talking about the regular corn syrup that is very popular in the US, not high fructose corn syrup. It is about half as sweet as regular granulated sugar but it has the same number of calories per level teaspoon = 16 (= 67 kilojoules).
  • Glycemic index = 90 
  • Available carbohydrate per level teaspoon = 4g 
  • Glycemic load  per 1 level teaspoon = 4 
  • Glycemic load per 1 level 15-ml tablespoon = 11 
  • Glycemic load per 1 level Australian 20-ml tablespoon = 14 
How farming reshaped our genomes 
David Katz questions recent epidemiologic study on sugar
Sweet and sour: The media decided fructose was bad for America; but science had second thoughts 
Gregory Hand asks the question: If fast food is addictive, cheap and available and almost all of us eat it, then why aren't we all obese?

Nicole's Taste of Health

“She’ll be apples” is a quaint Australian turn of phrase meaning everything will be all right, and it appears when it comes to our health, apples really live up to it. It has become an emblem for healthy eating, representing all that is nutritious, simple and good, overcoming its morally dubious (remember the Garden of Eden) past and now carries an impressive health halo.
Believe it or not, there are more than 6000 named varieties of apple! What a wonder; and surely there’s a variety for everyone. I’m a Jazz fan myself; the Jazz apple variety that is, and I really enjoy a Pink Lady as well. I have fond memories of picking Roman Beauties from a local orchard as a teenager. If these names mean nothing to you, that’s because there are so many different varieties around the world and because our choices are now limited due to large scale production of a limited number of commercially grown varieties. I can’t say I’ve seen Roman Beauties since. To get more novelty in your apple eating, shop in farmers markets, buy direct from the orchard, or grow your own.

There is a substantial and growing body of scientific evidence showing that eating apples regularly can help protect against diabetes and cardiovascular disease via their ability to lower cholesterol and blood glucose levels. But wait, there’s more: there is promising basic research in animals and in cell studies demonstrating apple phytochemicals can also prevent cancers. And the wonders don’t stop there: apples may help with weight control. Studies have shown that eating an apple prior to a meal can help reduce the total energy intake of the meal by up to 15%. This is likely due to its low GI and high fibre content taking the edge of your hunger. Wow; what a great all-rounder. Apples are good sources of vitamin C and fibre, and rich in phytochemicals, including flavonoids (catechins, flavonols, quercetin) and phenolic acids (quercetin glycosides, catechin, epicatechin, procyanidins) that provide important antioxidant properties. And while the so-called exotic super fruits are winning all the plaudits, apples are the everyday hero containing the highest levels of antioxidants of all the commonly eaten (and more affordable) fruits.

While an apple is the perfect portable, sweet, juicy and healthy snack, the genius is in its versatility. Juiced, grated, dried, baked, stewed or pureed, it is just at home with sweet or savoury accompaniments: anything from roast pork and apple sauce to baked apple with raisins. A favourite snack of mine is fresh apple and raw almonds, or sliced apple and peanut butter on wholegrain toast, or a tart green apple (such as a Granny Smith) with cheese. And grated apple in Bircher muesli makes even a weekday breakfast a special occasion. Cooked apples work beautifully with cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg and their acidity balances well with the creaminess of natural yoghurt and ice cream. And there’s a good reason why ‘apple and walnut’ rolls off the tongue: because it’s so good rolling onto the tongue!

I’ve heard some people complain about apples being kept in cold storage, but I’d say there are way more important issues with food to be concerned about: world hunger, food waste, and the demise of cooking skills, just to name a few. If we want apples all year, then we have to put some away. This idea of preserving the harvest for the off season is not new, but because it’s now being done on a large scale we feel sceptical and uneasy. Worry not: keeping apples in cold storage can minimise nutrient losses, and preserve (or in some cases increase!) antioxidant levels. Although apples look fabulous on show in a bowl, store them in the fridge to keep them fresh and crisp and preserve their antioxidants. Apples that have gone floury have not been stored correctly. Cut apples will brown when exposed to the air but you can delay this by coating cut apple in lemon juice, which adds a nice tart flavour in a fruit salad too. Apples are fabulous so enjoy them regularly and ‘she’ll be apples’.

Buon appetito!

Nicole and Finn

Nicole Senior is an Accredited Nutritionist, author and consultant who strives to make healthy food taste terrific. You can follow her on Twitter or Facebook or checkout her website

In the GI News Kitchen

Family Baking, Anneka Manning, author of Bake Eat Love. Learn to Bake in 3 Simple Steps and founder of Sydney’s BakeClub, shares her delicious ‘better-for-you’ recipes for snacks, desserts and treats the whole family will love. Through both her writing and cooking school, Anneka teaches home cooks to bake in practical and approachable yet inspiring ways that assure success in the kitchen.

 Anneka Manning
Toasted almond and blueberry muesli. 
Serve with milk and a dollop of Greek-style yoghurt for a satisfying and tasty breakfast that will take you through to lunchtime without the need to nibble. Recipe copyright Anneka Manning.

Makes 12 serves
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 50 minutes

3 cups rolled oats
½ cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
½ cup sunflower seeds
1 cup shredded coconut
100g (3½oz) natural almonds, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup unsweetened apple juice
2 tablespoons (40ml) single-origin floral honey
½ cup dried blueberries (see Baker’s Tips)
¼ coarsely grated apple per person, to serve

Almond and blueberry muesli
Photography by Georgie Esdaile

Preheat oven to 160°C (320°F). Line a large oven tray with non-stick baking paper.
Combine the oats, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut, almonds and cinnamon in a large bowl. Pour over the apple juice and stir until evenly combined. Spread evenly on the oven tray and then drizzle evenly with the honey.
Bake in preheated oven for 50 minutes, stirring about every 10 minutes, until evenly toasted and crisp (the muesli will crisp further once cooled). Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Stir in the blueberries.
Serve with milk, yoghurt and apple or the fresh fruit of your choice.

Per serve 
1230 kJ / 295 calories; 8 g protein; 17 g fat (includes 4.5 g saturated fat; saturated:unsaturated fat ratio 0.37); 26 g available carbs; 5 g fibre

Variation: Almond and blueberry bircher muesli (for 3 serves) – combine 1½ cups of toasted almond and blueberry muesli, ¾ cup natural apple juice, 1/3 cup natural Greek-style yoghurt, and ½ large red apple (such as pink lady), coarsely grated. Cover and place in the fridge for 1 hour or until the muesli has soaked up the liquid and is creamy. Serve topped with yoghurt, coarsely grated apple and coarsely chopped toasted almonds. Keep any remaining muesli covered in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Toasted almond and blueberry muesli
Photography by Georgie Esdaile

Baker’s Tips 

  • Store the toasted muesli in an airtight container or jar for up to 1 month. 
  • You can use ½ cup currants in place of the dried blueberries. 
  • This muesli (without the blueberries) makes a wonderful crumble topping also. Reduce the baking time to 20 minutes and then store in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag in the freezer ready to be sprinkled over fresh seasonal fruit and baked into a crumble.
American dietitian and author of Good Carbs, Bad Carbs, Johanna Burani, shares favourite recipes with a low or moderate GI from her Italian kitchen. For more information, check out Johanna's website. The photographs are by Sergio Burani. His food, travel and wine photography website is photosbysergio.com.


Broccoli rabe tricolore. 

‘Tricolore’ is how the Italians refer to their national flag. It has three colors: green white and red. And those are the colors you will see looking at you from this dish. Broccoli rabe is more popular in the US than it is in northern Italy so when I find it and make it for my friends in Friuli, they devour it! And don’t be fooled: the simplicity of this recipe belies its full-bodied taste. To clean broccoli rabe, cut away about 2cm (1in) from the bottom of the stems and remove any discolored leaves. Makes 4 servings.

1 bunch broccoli rabe, cleaned
4–5 sun-dried tomatoes, cut in thin strips
¼ tsp salt
1½ tbsp good quality olive oil
30g/1oz ricotta salata, shredded

Broccoli rabe tricolore

Place the broccoli rabe in a large sauté pan, add 1 cup water, cover and let simmer for approximately 8 minutes, or until stems are tender. Drain off all the water. Add the tomatoes, salt and oil. Mix well in the pan.
Transfer to serving dish. Top with prepared cheese. May be served warm or at room temperature.

Per serve
Energy: 530kJ/112cals; Protein 6g; Fat 7g (includes 1g saturated fat and 4mg cholesterol; saturated:unsaturated fat ratio 0.17); Available carbohydrate 7g; Fibre 4g

Apple and pear crumble. 
Everyone loves a crumble. BakeClub Anneka Manning’s from The Low GI Family Cookbook is sure to become a family favourite. Serves 6

2 apples (such as Granny Smith, Golden Delicious or Royal Gala)
2 firm ripe pears (such as Williams or Packham)
2 tsp fresh lemon juice

Crumble topping
1/2 cup rolled barley or oats
30g (1oz) plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
30g (1oz) canola or olive oil margarine
1 tbsp (slightly rounded) brown sugar
1/3 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

Apple and pear crumble

Preheat oven to 170ºC (325ºF/Gas 3).
Peel, quarter and core the apples and pears. Cut into thin slices, sprinkle with the lemon juice and toss to coat the fruit. Divide among 6 x 1/2 cup ovenproof dishes. Set aside.
To make the Crumble topping, process half of the rolled barley in a food processor until finely ground and resembling flour. Transfer to a medium-sized bowl. Sift the plain flour, baking powder and cinnamon together into the bowl over the barley ‘flour’. Add the margarine and use your fingertips to rub in until evenly combined. Stir in the brown sugar, pecans and the remaining rolled barley. Sprinkle the Crumble Topping over the fruit in the dishes.
Bake for 30–40 minutes or until the topping is golden and the fruit is tender when pierced by a skewer. Serve the warm crumble with reduced fat yoghurt

Per serve
825 kJ/ 200 calories; 2.5 g protein; 9 g fat (includes 1 g saturated fat; saturated:unsaturated fat ratio 0.13); 25 g available carbs; 4 g fibre

Putting the Fun Back into Fitness

I began Pilates training when I was sixteen. Ballet dancers often do. It becomes apparent, around that age, that if you want to have a successful career, and avoid injury, you need more than a ballet class a day – you need all the help you can get. During my long dancing career I kept up Pilates. Most ballet companies have a fully equipped Pilates studio and often a full-time Pilates teacher. Dancers use the studio to work on their areas of weakness as well as for rehabilitation. Once I hung up my pointe shoes, I gave my body a good rest. I stayed away from studios of all kinds, preferring to throw myself into the water or run along the beach. But it wasn’t long before I found myself back in the Pilates studio.

Pilate class

The benefit of Pilates It doesn’t matter what your pursuit. Pilates training is going to aid you in everything. Though I no longer need to stand on my toes and turn pirouettes, I still need correct posture – elongation through my spine and a strong core to carry my body healthily in my new activities and everyday life. The fact is, pretty much all bodies need some extra help. With sedentary lifestyles and with the natural quirks, twists and weaknesses that we are born with and accumulate, we have to develop muscles (our core muscles in particular) to support our bodies in correct alignment. Correct alignment brings with it more efficient movement, more mobility and less chance of injury and pain.

What is Pilates? It is a method of training which uses slow eccentric and resistance exercises to recognise and correct physical and structural imbalances. It was developed by Joseph Pilates during World War 1 during his time in internment camps in England. Joseph Pilates, was a gymnast, a diver and a body builder with a deep curiosity for how the body moves and a natural instinct for helping to finding ways to strengthen, stretch and train others. Today’s research on his methodology has since confirmed his principles of correct alignment and movement.

The Pilates class Pilates, like yoga, is task-based. During a class, the teacher describes the exercise or task to you in simple terms. This is called “cueing”. It is through practising the task – such as raising the torso off the floor while keeping heavy in the hips – that the right muscles are engaged and the body elongated. A class usually lasts for one hour and during that time, pretty much the entire body will get worked. Sometimes you use equipment and sometimes not. A basic mat class is one of the hardest, as you are working entirely with your own body weight without help from a machine.

Teachers We all tend to develop a loyalty to one teacher as we become accustomed to them, and they to us. I encourage more diversity, working with other teachers and classes. That way you can never get complacent. You are kept interested through learning new exercises as well as new cues which just might work for you in a better or more understandable way.
Emma Sandall runs Body Playground, an online space for discovering how to put the fun back into your fitness routines. With fellow Body Playground director and Pilates teacher, Peta Green, she has developed a new and expressive style of workout that brings together the technical and fluid aspects of Pilates, yoga and ballet. For tips on stretching or to learn a nice sequence you can do any time, any place, check out Vimeo.

Update with Dr Alan Barclay

Alan Barclay
Dr Alan Barclay

The low down on dietary fibre (part 2)
How do we know a food is high in fibre? On packaged foods it’s easy, just check the nutrition information/facts panel. In the US, dietary fiber must be declared in the nutrition facts panel under the total carbohydrate banner. However, in Australia and New Zealand it is not a mandatory component of the nutrition information panel. Only when a claim is made about fibre, sugar or other carbohydrates (i.e., maltodextrins or starch), must the amount of fibre per serve and per 100g be listed. Because fibre is a “positive” nutrient, most manufacturers like to advise us if their foods contain appreciable amounts to draw our attention to the potential benefits of their product. Nutrition claims about the amount of fibre in food are regulated in most countries. In Australia and New Zealand, for example, to say a food is:

  • A “good source” of fibre, a serving of the food must contain at least 4g of dietary fibre
  • An “excellent source” of fibre, a serve of the food must contain at least 7g of dietary fibre 
  • “Increased” fibre, the reference food must contain at least 2g of dietary fibre per serving; and the food must contain at least 25% more dietary fibre than in the same quantity of the reference food. 
These definitions are not the be all and end all. For example (and incredibly), they actually do not allow a lot of fresh fruits, vegetables or legumes to claim to be a good source of fibre! Apples, apricots, asparagus, avocado, bananas, Brussels sprouts, chickpeas, nashi pears, nectarines, some nuts (including peanuts), onions, oranges, plums, potatoes, and spinach are not eligible to make a fibre claim because of their relatively small serve sizes, which can’t be manipulated in the manufacturing process. Whereas, processed foods, such as biscuits, muesli bars, sweet and savoury snack foods, can be reformulated to comply—often by the addition of pure fibre extracts. The choice of fibre added is very important, as different types of fibres have different health effects.

How can we can incorporate more into our diets? Eating more fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains is of course the best way of meeting your daily fibre requirements. Try to get:
  • 2 + serves of fruit a day. A serve is one medium or 2 small pieces, or a cup of canned fruit. 
  • 5–6 serves of vegetables a day. A serve is one cup of salad vegies, or ½ a cup of other vegies, or legumes 
  • 3–6 serves of wholegrain foods a day. A serve is a slice of grainy bread, ½ a grainy roll, ½ a cup of cooked brown rice, wholemeal pasta, noodles, barley, buckwheat, semolina, bulgur or quinoa, ½–2/3rd cup of breakfast cereal. 
You can also add extra fibre to your meals and recipes by sprinkling on bran flakes, psyllium husks, dried fruit, or nuts and seeds.

High fibre pasta

Are high fibre foods usually low GI? No. High fibre is not a synonym for low GI. Soluble fibres may lower the GI of some foods, but they need to contain appreciable amounts, and the size of the fibre molecules needs to be large enough to have an effect. Insoluble fibres can help slow the rate of carbohydrate digestion or absorption if it is largely intact. Adding highly processed fibre does not have the same effect usually.

The bottom line is simply adding fibre to processed foods to make a fibre claim will not necessarily mean that the food will be low GI. The type and amount of fibre added and how the overall food is processed will determine if the final product is actually low GI.

New GI Symbol

For more information about the GI Symbol Program
Dr Alan W Barclay, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer
Glycemic Index Foundation (Ltd)
Email: alan.barclay@gisymbol.com
Website: www.gisymbol.com

For more information about GI testing in Australia
Fiona Atkinson
Research Manager, Sydney University Glycemic Index Research Service (SUGiRS)
Email sugirs@mmb.usyd.edu.au
Web www.glycemicindex.com

Q&A with Jennie Brand-Miller

Prof Jennie Brand-Miller answers your questions. 


I really want to get my figure back and get into my favourite jeans. Is it OK to go on a diet while breastfeeding my baby girl?
Part of the weight you gained during pregnancy was extra fat stores built up by your body to supply the building blocks of human milk for your newborn. This is why women lose some weight while breastfeeding, although some lose it soon after their baby is born and others not until after they finish breastfeeding. It is actually good to lose this extra weight, particularly if you are planning to have more babies, as gaining a bit with each pregnancy and not losing it can make it much harder to return to a healthy weight later on.

No matter how tempting (and easy) the celebs in women’s magazines make it sound to follow a seven-day/six-week (whatever) miracle diet with the promise of getting your figure back quickly, it’s absolutely not a good idea if you are breastfeeding. Remember, every calorie that your baby needs for the first 4–6 months of life until you introduce solids comes directly from you. Apart from vitamin D, your breasts are providing your little baby with all the building blocks of proteins, fats, carbohydrates and other vital factors she needs to grow and thrive. Here’s a statistic: In these first precious few months, your baby is growing at the fastest rate that she ever will, even faster than in adolescence.

Strict dieting while breastfeeding may affect both your milk production and your energy levels, which are probably already suffering with the demands of a new baby and lack of sleep. It is much better over the first year (it goes faster than you think) to focus on making long-term sustainable changes to your eating and exercise habits – changes you can see yourself maintaining in the long term. This is more important than ever now you are a parent as you want to be a good role model for your child. If you feel you need to lose weight more quickly, have a chat to your doctor and get the help of dietitian who can help you plan a healthy weight loss diet that won’t affect your baby’s vital milk supply.

The Bump to Baby Diet

This is an extract from The Bump to Baby Diet. Six hundred (600) of the 3000 ‘goodie bags’ on offer at Mum’s Big Day Out – Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne (Australia) on 16th March 2014 – will have a free copy of this book thanks to the generosity of Hachette Australia.

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