1 November 2018

GI News - November 2018

GI News

GI News is published online every month by the University of Sydney, School of Life and Environmental Sciences and the Charles Perkins Centre, and delivered to the mailboxes of our 97,000 subscribers. Our goal is to help people choose the high-quality carbs that are digested at a rate that our bodies can comfortably accommodate and to share the latest scientific findings on food and diet with a particular focus on carbohydrates, dietary fibres, blood glucose and the glycemic index.

Publisher:
Professor Jennie Brand-Miller, AM, PhD, FAIFST, FNSA
Editor: Philippa Sandall
Scientific Editor/Managing Editor: Alan Barclay, PhD, APD, AN
Contact GI News: glycemic.index@gmail.com

Sydney University Glycemic Index Research Service
Manager: Fiona Atkinson, PhD, APD, AN
Contact: sugirs.manager@sydney.edu.au

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FOOD FOR THOUGHT

A TASTE OF HONEY 
To make honey, bees collect nectar from nearby flowering plants; transform it by combining it with specific substances of their own; and deposit it, dehydrate it, store it and leave it in honeycombs to ripen and mature. That’s where we come in. Ancient rock art in Spain shows our forebears braving wild bees to steal their honeycomb; Éric Valli’s photos document Nepal’s Gurung tribesmen harnessed to cliff-hugging bamboo ladders to relieve Himalayan cliff bees of their honeycomb; and on YouTube, there are numerous videos depicting Hadza men following a honeyguide bird to a hive then smoking out the stinging bees before helping themselves to the honeycomb. The take-home: honey has long been highly desirable and Homo sapiens goes to great lengths to get it.

Toasted crumpet, honey, ricotta, banana, walnuts

What’s in honey? Honey, which provided our ancestors with a tasty source of calories from carbohydrates (all sugars), also has traces of bee larvae which add some fat, protein, vitamins, and minerals to the nutritional mix. Today, we know that honey also contains antioxidants.

The sweetness comes mostly from fructose, glucose and sucrose, plus small amounts of maltose, trehalose, turanose (varies depending on nectar source). Most honeys have more fructose than glucose – typically 38 per cent fructose to 30 percent glucose – but that’s not set in stone. It all depends on where the bees have been buzzing, which is also why sweetness can vary: some are equal in sweetness to regular granulated sugar; others are up to 50 per cent sweeter. To achieve consistent sweetness and flavour, most commercial honeys are blended from a mixture of honeys derived from different hives and different floral sources.

What about GI? We are often asked whether honey is a better sweetener choice than regular sugar when it comes to blood glucose levels. Again, it depends very much on what blossom the bees were buzzing around, gathering nectar. While most commercial blended varieties have an effect greater than or equal to that of sugar, some honeys have a low glycemic index. The range of glycemic-index values from all the honeys that have been tested over the years runs from GI 32 up to GI 87 and you can check them out on the database at www.glycemicindex.com. When the University of Sydney Glycemic Index Research Service tested pure wildflower (single floral) honeys—red gum, yellow box, ironbark, and others—produced by allowing bees access only to some types of gum trees (eucalypts), they found that these honeys all have a low glycemic index (GI 35 to 53). We would like to think it’s possible that all pure wildflower honeys have only modest glycemic effects, but there hasn’t been sufficient testing around the world. We do know that Romanian locust honey appears to have the lowest glycemic index value of all the honeys tested to date (GI 32).

Why all the differences in glycemic impact from one honey to another? To maintain a consistent flavor in commercial honeys, some of the more pungent components are removed. We suspect that these removed components are physiologically active and work to slow down absorption into the small intestine. For example, Australian wildflower honeys might contain alpha-glucosidase inhibitors that bees have extracted from the eucalypt flowers. We know that these potent inhibitors exist in many plants, and, indeed, some diabetic medications (e.g., acarbose) are based on pure forms of these inhibitors.

In addition, it appears that the higher the fructose content, the lower the glycemic index is. Five German honeys with fructose content ranging from 38.5 to 43.5 per cent not only had a low glycemic index, but also had a low insulin index – this is a relative ranking of the effect of 240 calories/1000 kilojoules of food on blood insulin concentrations over a two-hour period.

Read more: 

WHAT’S NEW?

HONEY LABELLING – AND MISLEADING LABELLING 
Winnie the Pooh had no problems when he wanted a jar of honey. The jar very clearly said “HUNNY” (spelling wasn’t his strong suit), and that is exactly what was in it. These days many jars on supermarket shelves might say “honey” on the label, but what’s inside is in fact honey blended with another sweetener such as corn syrup or rice syrup. The honey has been adulterated and the product labelled in a false and misleading way.

Hunny
It’s perfectly legal for producers and food companies to market honey blended with other sweeteners, but if they do (usually to cut costs), they are required to label it as a blend – e.g., “blend of honey and corn syrup” or “blend of corn syrup and honey” depending on which ingredient is predominant. If they don’t, they can be prosecuted and fined by the appropriate food regulatory authorities. But of course, the regulatory authorities have to find the adulterated products first. Here in Australia they are on the case. Recent research by Mark Taylor and Xiaoteng Zhou at Macquarie University suggests that many commercial honey brands have been adulterated to increase honey volume and boost profits.

“Honey adulteration is nothing new,” they report in their “Honeygate” story in The Conversation. “It has been on the rise since the 1970s when cheap high-fructose corn syrup became widely available ... Some operators adulterate honey with rice sugars that enable them to circumvent the C4 test. Some rice syrup producers openly advertise the fact that their products will not cause adulterated honeys to fail the C4 test. Honey can be adulterated either during or after production. Inadvertent adulteration might happen through overfeeding of sucrose to bees during periods when food sources are limited, or at harvest time. This practice, if done occasionally, can protect colonies at times of low food availability. But if used injudiciously it can also filter through into the finished product.”

Read more: 

IS MANUKA HONEY REALLY A ‘SUPERFOOD’ FOR TREATING COLDS, ALLERGIES AND INFECTIONS? 
Manuka honey isn’t a panacea or a superfood. But it is grossly underutilised as a topical treatment for wounds, ulcers and burns, particularly in the face of the looming global superbug crisis write Nural Cokcetin (Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Technology Sydney) and Shona Blair General Manager, ithree institute, University of Technology Sydney in The Conversation. Here’s their report. 

Manuka Honey
Manuka honey is often touted as a “superfood” that treats many ailments, including allergies, colds and flus, gingivitis, sore throats, staph infections, and numerous types of wounds. Manuka can apparently also boost energy, “detox” your system, lower cholesterol, stave off diabetes, improve sleep, increase skin tone, reduce hair loss and even prevent frizz and split ends. Some of these claims are nonsense, but some have good evidence behind them.

Honey has been used therapeutically throughout history, with records of its cultural, religious and medicinal importance shown in rock paintings, carvings and sacred texts from many diverse ancient cultures. Honey was used to treat a wide range of ailments from eye and throat infections to gastroenteritis and respiratory ailments, but it was persistently popular as a treatment for numerous types of wounds and skin infections.

Medicinal honey largely fell from favour with the advent of modern antibiotics in the mid-20th century. Western medicine largely dismissed it as a “worthless but harmless substance”. But the emergence of superbugs (pathogens resistant to some, many or even all of our antibiotics) means alternative approaches to dealing with pathogens are being scientifically investigated. We now understand the traditional popularity of honey as a wound dressing is almost certainly due to its antimicrobial properties. High sugar content and low pH mean honey inhibits microbial growth, but certain honeys still retain their antimicrobial activity when these are diluted to negligible levels.

Many different types of honey also produce microbe-killing levels of hydrogen peroxide when glucose oxidase (an enzyme incorporated into honey by bees) reacts with glucose and oxygen molecules in water. So, when honey is used as a wound dressing it draws moisture from the tissues, and this reacts to produce hydrogen peroxide, clearing the wound of infection. The antimicrobial activity of different honeys varies greatly, depending on which flowers the bees visit to collect the nectar they turn into honey. While all honeys possess some level of antimicrobial activity, certain ones are up to 100 times more active than others.

How is manuka different to other honey? Manuka honey is derived from the nectar of manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) trees, and it has an additional component to its potent antimicrobial activity. This unusual activity was discovered by Professor Peter Molan, in New Zealand in the 1980s, when he realised the action of manuka honey remained even after hydrogen peroxide was removed. The cause of this activity remained elusive for many years, until two laboratories independently identified methylglyoxal (MGO) as a key active component in manuka honey in 2008. MGO is a substance that occurs naturally in many foods, plants and animal cells and it has antimicrobial activity. The activity of manuka honey has been tested against a diverse range of microbes, particularly those that cause wound infections, and it inhibits problematic bacterial pathogens, including superbugs that are resistant to multiple antibiotics. Manuka honey can also disperse and kill bacteria living in biofilms (communities of microbes notoriously resistant to antibiotics), including ones of Streptococcus (the cause of strep throat) and Staphylococcus (the cause of Golden staph infections). Crucially, there are no reported cases of bacteria developing resistance to honey, nor can manuka or other honey resistance be generated in the laboratory. It’s important to note that the amount of MGO in different manuka honeys varies, and not all manuka honeys necessarily have high levels of antimicrobial activity.

Manuka honey and wound healing Honey has ideal wound dressing properties, and there have been numerous studies looking at the efficacy of manuka as a wound dressing. Apart from its broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity, honey is also non-toxic to mammalian cells, helps to maintain a moist wound environment (which is beneficial for healing), has anti-inflammatory activity, reduces healing time and scarring, has a natural debriding action (which draws dead tissues, foreign bodies and dead immune cells from the wound) and also reduces wound odour. These properties account for many of the reports showing the effectiveness of honey as a wound dressing. Honey, and in particular manuka honey, has successfully been used to treat infected and non-infected wounds, burns, surgical incisions, leg ulcers, pressure sores, traumatic injuries, meningococcal lesions, side effects from radiotherapy and gingivitis.

What about eating manuka honey? Most of the manuka honey sold globally is eaten. Manuka may inhibit the bacteria that cause a sore (“strep”) throat or gingivitis, but the main components responsible for the antimicrobial activity won’t survive the digestion process. Nonetheless, honey consumption can have other therapeutic benefits, including anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and prebiotic (promoting the growth of beneficial intestinal microorganisms) properties. Although, these properties are not solely linked to manuka honey and various other honeys may also work.

What doesn’t it do? There is a commonly touted belief that eating manuka (or local) honey will help with hay fever because it contains small doses of the pollens that are causing the symptoms, and eating this in small quantities will help your immune system learn not to overreact. But there’s no scientific evidence eating honey helps hay fever sufferers. Most of the pollen that causes hay fever comes from plants that are wind pollinated (so they don’t produce nectar and are not visited by bees). There is some preliminary work showing honey might protect from some side effects of radiation treatment to the head and neck that warrants further investigation. But other claims honey has anti-cancer activity are yet to be substantiated.

There isn’t any robust scientific evidence that manuka lowers cholesterol, treats diabetes or improves sleep. Although one interesting study did show honey was more effective than cough medicine for reducing night time coughs of children, improving their sleep (and their parents’). Manuka honey wasn’t used specifically, but it may well be as helpful.

Claims that anything helps to “detox” are innately ridiculous. Similarly “superfood” is more about marketing than much else, and the cosmetic and anti-ageing claims about manuka are scientifically unfounded.

Final verdict If consumers are buying manuka honey for general daily use as a food or tonic, there is no need to buy the more active and therefore more expensive types. But the right kind of honey is very effective as a wound dressing. So if manuka is to be used to treat wounds or skin infections, it should be active, sterile and appropriately packaged as a medicinal product. The best way to ensure this is to check the product has a CE mark or it’s registered with the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (marked with an AUST L/AUST R number).

Read more: 
HOW HONEY HELPED TO MAKE US HUMAN 
Alyssa Crittenden is an anthropologist who studies the evolution of human behavior as it relates to nutrition and reproduction. She has worked with the Hadza who live in northern Tanzania near Lake Eyasi – one of the world’s last remaining hunting and gathering populations — since 2004. In this issue of GI News, we reprint a piece she contributed to GI News in January 2013 on the evolution of the human diet.
Alyssa Crittenden
The ethnographic cross-cultural evidence of honey consumption, combined with depictions of honey hunting portrayed in rock art around the world, suggest that honey has long been a part of human history. Early humans, and their expanding brains, would have greatly benefited from consuming honey and bee larvae because the human brain needs glucose to fuel the high metabolic demands of neural development and function. The Paleolithic diet likely included meat, plant foods, and honeycomb – one of the sweet secrets to human evolution.

Honey and bee larvae are important foods consumed by many populations of hunters and gatherers worldwide. Foragers in Latin America, Asia, Australia, and Africa include honey and bee larvae as major components of their diet. The Hadza hunter-gatherers, an ethnic group that has traditionally subsisted from hunting and gathering, even list honey as their number one preferred food item!

The Hadza consume honey and larvae of both stingless bees and stinging bees, including the African killer bee. The Hadza locate the hives with the assistance of a wild African bird, the aptly named honey guide (Indicator indicator). The honey guide bird and the Hadza honey hunter communicate back and forth through a series of whistles and the bird guides the honey hunter, tree by tree, to the bee hive. Once the honey hunter has located the hive, he pounds wooden pegs into the trunk of the tree, climbs to the top where the hive is located, chops into the tree to expose the hive, and smokes it out by placing burning brush into the opening. Smoking the hive acts to pacify the bees by dulling the senses of the guard bees who protect the opening of the hive. The bees see the smoke as a habitat threat and focus on collecting enough honey to rebuild their hive elsewhere. This allows the hunter to collect the honeycomb without being stung by the killer bees. The honey guide bird patiently waits outside of the hive and as the honey hunter obtains his honeycomb prize, the honey guide bird is rewarded with its delicious prize – wax from the comb and bees.

Read more: 
HONEY HUNTING WITH HONEYGUIDES 
Writing in Evolution and Human Behaviour, Yale anthropologist Brian Wood and his co-researchers describe the evolution of the mutually beneficial relationship between the honeyguide bird and the hunter-gatherer in Africa investigate the origin of this special relationship. “We propose that in a first, commensal phase, honeyguides preyed upon the bee nests and discarded honeycomb that hominins made available through their honey hunting,” he writes. “In a second, mutualistic phase, honeyguides evolved the habit of actively leading hominins to bee nests. Finally, in a third phase of manipulative mutualism, hominins began to actively change the payoffs received by honeyguides – either by actively ‘rewarding’ them or by reducing their immediate payoff. The Hadza we observed did not actively reward honeyguides, but such may occur in other contexts ... Based on within-species mtDNA variation scientists conservatively estimate that I. indicator is at least 3 million years old. We think it is reasonable to assume that an initial commensal association between hominins (Ardipithecus ramidus or an Australopithicine) and honeyguides arose in the Pliocene.”

Honeyguide bird
[ The Pliocene Epoch is the epoch in the geologic timescale that extends from 5.333 million to 2.58 million years BP. It is the second and youngest epoch of the Neogene Period in the Cenozoic Era. The Pliocene follows the Miocene Epoch and is followed by the Pleistocene Epoch. Wikipedia ]

Read more: 

PERSPECTIVES WITH DR ALAN BARCLAY

SHOULD YOU BE EATING THAT, IT’S FULL OF SUGAR? 
Honey is classified as a free sugar by the World Health Organisation: “Free sugars include monosaccharides and disaccharides added to foods and beverages by the manufacturer, cook or consumer, and sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates.

A teaspoon of honey
This is because, like all available carbohydrates (sugars and starches), honey provides a fuel for bacteria in our mouths that may cause tooth decay. Also, while it provides small amounts of the minerals potassium, calcium and magnesium, honey is more energy dense than table sugar (sucrose), providing 94 kilojoules (23 Calories) in a level teaspoon compared to table sugars 67 kilojoules (16 Calories). So, despite popular perception, the typical honey that you will find in your local supermarket is not really any better than table sugar from a human nutrition perspective anyway. However, it does have a unique flavour and texture that makes it ideal for use in a range of delicious recipes.

It’s important to remember that the WHO Guidelines recommend that we consume less than 10% of energy from free sugars each day. They do not say that we need to completely avoid all free sugars, or foods and drinks that contain free sugars. For a typical adult consuming 8,700 kJ (2,080 Calories) each day, 10% of energy from free sugars is less than 54g of free sugars, or approximately 13 level teaspoons a day. It’s important to note that these guidelines are for the total day’s food and drink intake – not for individual foods or beverages. Evidence-based guidelines for individual foods or drinks are yet to be developed.

There is no need to obsess over every gram of sugars in foods or drinks to achieve the WHO recommendation – focus on the major dietary sources instead. Simply saving sugar sweetened drinks ((soft drinks such as soda pop or fizzy drink), cordials, energy and sports drinks), cakes (including muffins, scones and cake-type desserts) and confectionery (lollies, sweets or candy; chocolate) for special occasions (parties, religious festivals) will help most people to achieve this goal based on recent national dietary surveys.

Even people with diabetes do not need to completely avoid sugars – they too simply need to follow the WHO Guideline and aim to consume less than 10% of energy from free sugars like the rest of us. The reason why is simple – essentially all available carbohydrate (starches and sugars) is eventually digested, absorbed and metabolised into glucose – the sugar in blood that is characteristic of diabetes. And much of the excess protein that we eat can also be converted to glucose in our liver and released into our blood. So simply avoiding free sugars won’t necessarily improve blood glucose levels – the amount and type (quality) of starch and protein also matters. Finally, a diet proportionately high in saturated fat increases insulin resistance, which in turn affects blood glucose levels. In other words, it’s the whole diet that matters when it comes to optimal blood glucose management – focusing on a single ingredient/nutrient isn’t enough.

What about the sugars in fruit? Fresh, canned and dried fruits and fruit juices are all sources of sugars and energy, and in theory, if consumed in excess, may contribute to weight gain and tooth decay. The reality is, however, that many people struggle to consume the minimum two serves a day according to recent dietary surveys, and the best available scientific evidence for whole fruit and juice do not show an association with weight gain. Both whole fruits and juice can contribute to tooth decay, however.

While limiting our daily free sugars intake to less than 10% of total energy is wise, it does not mean we cannot still enjoy foods and drinks that contain sugars – what we consume, how much we consume, and how frequently we consume foods and drinks that contain sugars is what really counts. History has proven that prohibition doesn’t work. Be mindful instead.

Listen to Alan talk about sugars on Sydney radio station 2GB (Note: there is an advertisement at the beginning of the segment).

Dr Alan Barclay  
Alan Barclay, PhD is a consultant dietitian and chef (Cert III). He worked for Diabetes Australia (NSW) from 1998–2014 . He is author/co-author of more than 30 scientific publications, and author/co-author of  The good Carbs Cookbook (Murdoch Books), Reversing Diabetes (Murdoch Books), The Low GI Diet: Managing Type 2 Diabetes (Hachette Australia) and The Ultimate Guide to Sugars and Sweeteners (The Experiment, New York).

Contact: You can follow him on Twitter or check out his website.

KEEPING IT GREEN – EATING FOR BODY AND PLANET

PALM OIL: FRIEND OR FOE? 
Palm trees are often associated with tropical beaches, sunsets and vacations, so you may be surprised to learn some species produce an oily fruit, from which we extract palm oil. Oil from oil palms (Elaeis guineensis, and Elaeis oleifera) is the world’s cheapest and most popular vegetable oil. Its neutral flavour and aroma, long shelf life and good shortening properties make palm oil a common ingredient in many food products such as biscuits and chips. Palm oil is also very versatile and used broadly across personal care products such as laundry detergents, toothpaste and cosmetics, and is also used in plastics and biofuels. In the EU and USA, if palm oil is used it must be listed in the ingredients list but in Australia it can fall under the more generic ‘vegetable oil’ label or technical names like Palmitate, Sodium Laurel Sulphate or its botanical name E. guineensis. You may be consuming more palm oil than you realise.

Palm fruit
Does palm oil impact the environment? On the plus side, palm oil production is the most efficient of all oil crops. One acre of oil palm can produce up to eight times more than other oil crops. This is an environmental benefit, however there are significant down sides. There are millions of hectares of available cleared land suitable for sustainable palm oil production in Indonesia. However, businesses can make extra income from selling cleared timber to help offset the costs of establishing a palm oil plantation and deforestation is common adverse environmental result. This occurs in countries like Indonesia and Malaysia where most of the world’s palm oil is produced. The United Nations Environment Program estimates 7 million hectares of forests are cut down every year – a massive area roughly the size of Portugal. Deforestation destroys the habitats of animals such as orang-utans, rhinos, tigers and elephants. The slash and burn method is the fastest and cheapest method to clear land; sadly many animals lose their homes or are burned alive. Displaced animals often wander back into plantations where they may be stolen by poachers or killed by plantation workers that consider them to be pests. Burning forests also releases carbon dioxide into the air, contributing to global warning. The bad news is forests in Malaysia and Indonesia often sit on carbon rich peat lands and release even more carbon into the atmosphere when burned – an environmental double whammy.

Unfortunately eliminating palm oil from the food supply won’t stop deforestation. Palm oil production generates more oil than any other major oil crop: 6 times more oil than rapeseed (canola) and 10 times more oil than soy. If we switch to another oil this will worsen the deforestation issue. Palm oil also generates much needed income for some of the poorest people in the world, therefore ceasing production would have economic ramifications.

Is palm oil good or bad for our health? Palm oil is not a healthy choice. Palm oil contains a mixture of fats, of which roughly 50% is saturated fat. This type of fat increases the “bad” LDL cholesterol in the blood, which is a risk factor for heart disease. The Heart Foundation recommends that less than 10% of your total daily energy intake should come from saturated fat. However, trans fats are even worse and many (cheap) replacements for palm oil are partially hydrogenated and contain trans fats. Trans fats increase “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, but also reduce the “good” HDL cholesterol. Palm oil is not a nutritional superstar, but at least it doesn’t have trans fats and it contains less saturated fat than coconut oil and butter. The best oil choices for health are more unsaturated oils vegetable oils such as olive oil and canola oil, however these are more expensive and do not provide the same technical properties as palm oil.

The most sustainable choice While it is not realistic to stop using palm oil, we should encourage food companies to choose more ethically and sustainably produced palm oil. There is Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) that does not involve clearing land where there are high concentrations of endangered species or vulnerable ecosystems. Some companies are making steps in the right direction toward being CSPO by being members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

Palm oil in a nutshell: 

  •  Palm oil is the most commonly used oil in the world, but its production contributes to global warming, deforestation and threatens endangered animal species. 
  • If using packaged products, look for Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO). 
  • For good health, choose products that contain healthier oils like olive, canola or sunflower oil. 
 Thanks to Rachel Ananin AKA TheSeasonalDietitian.com for her assistance with this article.

 Nicole Senior    
Nicole Senior is an Accredited Nutritionist, author, consultant, cook, food enthusiast and mother who strives to make sense of nutrition science and delights in making healthy food delicious.   Contact: You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or check out her website.

GOOD CARBS FOOD FACTS A TO Z

Honey
Honey is made by bees after gathering nectar from flowers. It’s a beautiful image and a lovely example of the generosity of Mother Nature (or the greed of man, depending on your world view). It’s also a great example of how food can be regional. Much like winemakers talk of the “terroir’ (soil, climate, topography) influencing the characteristics of wine, the characteristics of honey are influenced by the flowers within gathering distance of the hive.

Honeycomb with bees
Honey, as they say, is “so hot right now” due to the trend of growing your own food. From the mega-trend of growing veggies and herbs in your backyard or balcony is emerging the DIY apiculture (bee-keeping) movement. There are now services such as Sydney’s Urban Beehive that will install a hive at your place and help keep your buzzing friends healthy, happy and producing your own honey “à la maison”. And there is this book for beginners on the subject. Small scale beekeeping is also being encouraged to help save our honey bees, which are under threat from all sides: primarily from colony collapse disorder, but there are other problems as well such as varroa mite and in Australia the risk of Asian bees breeching our borders. Suffice to say we’re all in trouble if the bees disappear because of their pivotal role in pollinating food crops.

From a health perspective, overall, honey is no better than table sugar and nutritionally they are very similar. However, don’t give honey to babies under 12 months. Why? It can become contaminated with the bacteria clostridium botulinum, and children under the age of 12 months are particularly sensitive to the toxin produced by the bacteria – botox (yes, the same one used in facial injections for anti-aging treatments).

The clever thing about honey is that besides tasting wonderful it has all kinds of medicinal uses. It’s great for soothing sore throats (traditionally mixed with lemon juice), more effective than over-the-counter medicines for children’s coughs, and special “active” honeys such as Manuka from New Zealand are used to treat wounds.

In terms of culinary uses, the options are many and varied, but sometimes the simple things are the best. Fresh wholegrain toast with honey is a reliable classic, as is porridge with a golden drizzle. Personally, I think peanut butter is wonderful with honey on toast. Chinese honey soy chicken is a lovely dalliance between sweet and savoury and exemplifies how honey goes so nicely with meats of all kinds: honey glazed ham is but one famous example. Naturally honey is gorgeous in baked goods and delicious in hot or cold drinks such as smoothies, cordials, teas and coffee. And here’s one out of the box: it’s delicious with cheese. “The lovely Spanish tradition of eating cheese with honey is worth adopting. Mel y mato is a popular Catalan dessert of ‘mato’, a fresh unsalted cheese made from cow’s or goat’s milk (you can substitute ricotta but it won’t be so good) with a dribble of honey ‘mel’ in Catalan.” – Claudia Roden, The Food of Spain. – Thanks to dietitian Nicole Senior for this report.

Honey nutrition facts

IN THE GI NEWS KITCHEN

SPEAKEASY’S HONEY ROASTED BABY CARROTS WITH HOUSE LABNE, HAZELNUT PRALINE, AND FRESH HERBS 
Speakeasy Bar is a warm and welcoming communal space in Bondi Beach that serves simple and delicious food (mostly tapas-style share plates) inspired by Asian and Mediterranean dishes. They use honey from local beekeepers in Bellingen in northern NSW. Serves 4 as a share plate.

HONEY ROASTED BABY CARROTS WITH HOUSE LABNE, HAZELNUT PRALINE, AND FRESH HERBS

2 bunches baby (Dutch carrots), scrubbed
¼ cup (60ml) honey
Juice 1 orange
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon paprika
1–2 teaspoons ground cumin
Pinch salt

To serve
½ cup labne
1 tablespoon crumbled hazelnut praline
Picked leaves fresh herbs such as dill, mint and coriander
½ small Spanish onion, thinly sliced in rings and marinated in lemon vinaigrette

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. • Combine the honey, orange juice, olive oil, paprika, cumin and salt in a mixing bowl and toss carrots to coat well with the marinade. • Place the carrots in an oven roasting tray, pour over the marinade and cover with foil. Cook for 20 minutes or longer depending on thickness of the carrots. Serve the carrots with a dollop of labne and the fresh picked herbs and marinated onion rings. Sprinkle over the crumbled hazelnut praline.

Per slice 
Energy 970kJ/ 230Cal; protein 4g; fat 10g (includes 3g saturated fat; saturated : unsaturated fat ratio 0.4); available carbohydrate 31g (includes 30g sugars; 1g starches); fibre 6g; sodium 175mg; potassium 450mg; sodium : potassium ratio 0.4

ANNEKA MANNING: BAKECLUB 
ANNEKA MANNING
Anneka Manning is an author, food editor, cooking teacher, home economist, mother of two and the founder of BakeClub. With over 27 years' experience, she specialises in teaching the ‘why’ behind the ‘how’ of baking, giving home cooks the know-how, understanding and skill to bake with confidence and success, every time. She has written and contributed to a number of books, including The Low GI Family Cookbook (Hachette), Mastering the Art of Baking (Murdoch Books) and BakeClass (Murdoch Books).

ANNEKA MANNING’S BANANA BREAD This recipe is a favourite in our house and I love it as much as the kids do. It includes many ingredients such as pure floral honey, bananas, buttermilk and oat bran, that are perfect for ‘better-for-you’ baking. Makes 20 pieces • Preparation time: 15 minutes • Baking time: 45–50 minutes

BANANA BREAD
Melted unsalted butter, to grease
100g (3½oz) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup single-origin floral honey
2 eggs
2 large very ripe bananas (about 400g/14oz)
⅓ cup buttermilk
1¼ cups wholemeal spelt flour
½ cup unprocessed oat bran
1½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Grease a 21 x 11cm/8 x 3in (base measurement) loaf pan with melted butter and line the base and the two long sides with a piece of non-stick baking paper. • Combine the butter and honey in a large mixing bowl and beat with electric beaters until well combined and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition until well combined. • Peel and mash the bananas and stir into the mixture with the buttermilk using a spatula or large metal spoon to combine well. • Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon together into a mixing bowl and return any husks to the bowl. Add the oat bran and stir to combine. Add to the banana mixture and use a large metal spoon or spatula fold in until just combined. • Spoon into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon. Bake in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Stand in the pan for 5 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool. • Store the banana bread in an airtight container in a cool place (but not in the refrigerator) for up to 3 days. • To freeze, wrap individual slices in plastic wrap and then seal in a freezer bag or airtight container before freezing. Alternatively, pack slices in an airtight container and interleave with freezer wrap or non-stick baking paper). Thaw the slices at room temperature or toast straight from the freezer.

Per slice
Energy 500kJ/ 120Cal; protein 2g; fat 5g (includes 3g saturated fat; saturated : unsaturated fat ratio 1.5); available carbohydrate 16g (includes 10g sugars; 6g starches); fibre 2g; sodium 94mg; potassium 111mg; sodium : potassium ratio 0.8

COPYRIGHT AND PERMISSION

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Nutritional analysis To analyse Australian foods, beverages, processed products and recipes, we use FoodWorks which contains the AusNut and Nuttab databases. If necessary, this is supplemented with data from www.calorieking.com.au or http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/search.

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1 October 2018

GI News - October 2018

GI News

GI News is published online every month by the University of Sydney, School of Life and Environmental Sciences and the Charles Perkins Centre, and delivered to the mailboxes of our 97,000 subscribers. Our goal is to help people choose the high-quality carbs that are digested at a rate that our bodies can comfortably accommodate and to share the latest scientific findings on food and diet with a particular focus on carbohydrates, dietary fibres, blood glucose and the glycemic index.

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FOOD FOR THOUGHT

TOPPING UP THE TANK
It’s often said that we run on fuel just as a car runs on petrol. In fact we burn a mix of three key fuels that we get from the foods and drinks we consume. Nutrition scientists call these fuels “macronutrients” because our bodies need lots of them. They provide us with energy (calories or kilojoules) along with vitamins and minerals and phytonutrients. They are (in alphabetical order): 

  • Carbohydrates (sugars and starches) from fruit, vegetables, legumes, grains, some nuts and milk. These foods give us much more than energy, they provide us with the fibre, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients we need. – 1 gram of carbohydrate contains 4 calories or 17 kilojoules. 
  • Fats from nuts, seeds, oils, avocados, fish, meat, dairy foods and coconuts provide us with the fatty acids that are part of our cell membranes and they help us absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. – 1 gram of fat contains 9 calories or 37 kilojoules. 
  • Proteins from dairy foods, eggs, fish, meat, chicken, legumes, nuts and grains. These are the body builders. They maintain our body tissues and help us meet our needs for certain vitamins (especially B vitamins) and minerals (especially iron, zinc and calcium from dairy foods if you eat them). – 1 gram of protein contains 4 calories or 17 kilojoules. 
Our fuel mix changes at different stages of our lives. A growing baby has different needs from a toddler, a teenager, a sedentary adult, a very active adult, an elderly person, or someone with a chronic condition such as diabetes.

Mother’s milk provides the perfect mix of nutrients—carbs, fat, protein and many vitamins and minerals—for our babies to grow and thrive and that’s all they need (or baby formula) for the first six months of life. But after infancy, we have considerable flexibility in our fuel mix options because we are omnivores. Our diet is not limited to One Size Fits All. It doesn’t need to; it never has because we evolved to be adaptable. That’s what made us successful in populating the planet and thriving in very different parts of the world with very different food supplies.

Enjoying food at the meal table

These days, our tastes and our family and cultural background play a large part in what we eat and like to eat. Remember, it’s the overall quality and quantity of the foods we consume – what we put on our fork or pick up with our fingers or chopsticks is what really matters. That means building healthy eating habits and being a good role model for the kids – they are watching us more carefully than we will ever know.
–Reproduced from The Good Carbs Cookbook (Murdoch Books) with permission.

WHAT’S NEW?

FOUR LANDMARK STUDIES 

WHAT MAKES MICE FAT? 
Since food consists of fat, protein and carbs, it has proven difficult to pinpoint exactly what aspect of the typical diet leads to weight gain. Part of the problem is that it is very difficult to do studies on humans where what they eat is controlled for long enough periods to work out what are the most important factors, however studies on animals that are similar to us can help point us in the right direction.

Mouse diets

Scientists from the University of Aberdeen and the Chinese Academy of Sciences have undertaken the largest study of its kind looking at what components of diet – fat, carbohydrates or protein – caused mice to gain weight. The study was published in the journal Cell Metabolism and includes 29 different diets that vary in their fat, carbohydrate (in particular sugars) and protein contents.

The mice were fed these diets for three months, which is equivalent to nine years in humans. In total over 100,000 measurements were made of body weight changes and their body fat was measured using a micro MRI machine.

Professor John Speakman, who led the study, said: “The result of this enormous study was unequivocal – the only thing that made the mice get fat was eating more fat in their diets. “Carbohydrates including up to 30% of calories coming from sugar had no effect. Combining sugar with fat had no more impact than fat alone. There was no evidence that low protein (down to 5%) stimulated greater intake, suggesting there is no protein target. These effects of dietary fat seemed to be because uniquely fat in the diet stimulated the reward centres in the brain, stimulating greater intake. A clear limitation of this study is that it is based on mice rather than humans. However, mice have lots of similarities to humans in their physiology and metabolism, and we are never going to do studies where the diets of humans are controlled in the same way for such long periods. So the evidence it provides is a good clue to what the effects of different diets are likely to be in humans.

Read more: 

HOW SLEEP LOSS MAY CONTRIBUTE TO WEIGHT GAIN
Epidemiological studies have shown that the risk for obesity and type 2 diabetes is elevated in those who suffer from chronic sleep loss or who carry out shift work. Other studies have shown an association between disrupted sleep and adverse weight gain, in which fat accumulation is increased at the same time as the muscle mass is reduced – a combination that in and of itself has been associated with numerous adverse health consequences.

In a new study, researchers at Uppsala University now demonstrate that one night of sleep loss has a tissue-specific impact on the regulation of gene expression and metabolism in humans. This may explain how shift work and chronic sleep loss impairs our metabolism and adversely affects our body composition.

The researchers studied 15 healthy normal-weight individuals who participated in two in-lab sessions in which activity and meal patterns were highly standardised. In randomised order, the participants slept a normal night of sleep (over eight hours) during one session, and were instead kept awake the entire night during the other session. The morning after each night-time intervention, small tissue samples (biopsies) were taken from the participants' subcutaneous fat (fat under the skin) and skeletal muscle. These two tissues often exhibit disrupted metabolism in conditions such as obesity and diabetes. At the same time in the morning, blood samples were also taken to enable a comparison across tissue compartments of a number of metabolites. These metabolites comprise sugar molecules, as well as different fats and amino acids (building blocks of proteins).

The tissue samples revealed that the sleep loss condition resulted in a tissue-specific change in DNA methylation, one mechanism that regulates gene expression. DNA methylation is a so-called epigenetic modification that is involved in regulating how the genes of each cell in the body are turned on or off, and is impacted by both hereditary as well as environmental factors, such as physical activity.

“Our new findings indicate that sleep loss causes tissue-specific changes to the degree of DNA methylation in genes spread throughout the human genome. Our parallel analysis of both muscle and adipose [fat] tissue further enabled us to reveal that DNA methylation is not regulated similarly in these tissues in response to acute sleep loss,” says Jonathan Cedernaes who led the study. “It will be interesting to investigate to what extent one or more nights of recovery sleep can normalise the metabolic changes that we observe at the tissue level as a result of sleep loss. Diet and exercise are factors that can also alter DNA methylation, and these factors can thus possibly be used to counteract adverse metabolic effects of sleep loss,” he says.

Read more: 
AN INSIDE LOOK AT PROBIOTICS 
Every day, millions of people take probiotics – preparations containing live bacteria that are meant to fortify their immune systems, prevent disease or repair the adverse effects of antibiotics. Yet the benefits of probiotics have not really been medically proven. It is not even clear if probiotic bacteria really colonize the digestive tract or, if they do, what effects these have on humans and their microbiomes – the native bacteria in their guts. In two back-to-back reports published in Cell, researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science show – in both mice and in humans – that a probiotic preparation of 11 strains of the most widely used probiotic families may sometimes be less-than-beneficial for the user and their microbiome.

Microbiome

To explore how probiotics truly affect us would turn out to be an “inside job”: For the first study, 25 human volunteers underwent upper endoscopy and colonoscopy to sample their baseline microbiome composition and function in different gut regions. Fifteen of those volunteers were then divided into two groups: The first were administered the 11-strain probiotic preparation, and the second were given placebo pills. Three weeks into the four-week treatment, all participants underwent a second upper endoscopy and colonoscopy to assess their response to the probiotics or placebo, and they were then followed for an additional two months.

The researchers discovered that probiotics’ gut colonization was highly individual. However, they fell into two main groups: The “persisters” guts hosted the probiotic microbes while the microbiomes of “resisters” expelled them. The team found they could predict whether a person would be a persister or resister just by examining their baseline microbiome and host gene expression profile. Persisters, they noted, exhibited changes to their native microbiome and gut gene expression profile, while resisters did not have such changes.

“Our results suggest that probiotics should not be universally given to the public as a ‘one size fits all’ supplement,” says Dr Eran Elinav. “Instead, they could be tailored to each individual and their particular needs. Our findings even suggest how such personalization might be carried out.” Dr Eran Segal continues: “These results add to our previous ones on diet that had revealed a similar individual response to foods, and which have highlighted the role of the gut microbiome in driving very specific clinical differences between people.”

In the second study, the researchers addressed a related question that is of equal importance to the general public, who are often told to take probiotics to counter the effects of antibiotics: Do probiotics colonize the gut following antibiotic treatment, and how does this impact the human host and their microbiome? The researchers administered wide-spectrum antibiotics to 21 human volunteers, who then underwent an upper endoscopy and colonoscopy to observe the changes to both the gut and its microbiome following the antibiotic treatment. Next, the volunteers were randomly assigned to one of three groups. The first was a “watch and wait” group, letting their microbiome recover on its own. The second group was administered the 11-strain probiotic preparation over a four-week period. The third group was treated with an autologous fecal microbiome transplant (aFMT), made up of their own bacteria that had been collected before giving them the antibiotic.

Probiotics, after the antibiotic had cleared the path, could easily colonize the human gut - more so than in the previous study in which antibiotics had not been given. To the team’s surprise, the probiotics’ gut colonization prevented both the host gut’s gene expression and their microbiome from returning to their normal pre-antibiotic configurations for months afterward. In contrast, autologous FMT resulted in the native gut microbiome recolonizing and the gut gene expression profile returning to normal within days. “These results,” says Elinav, “reveal a new and potentially alarming adverse side effect of probiotic use with antibiotics that might even bring long-term consequences. In contrast, personalized treatment – replenishing the gut with one’s own microbes – was associated with a full reversal of the drugs’ effects.”

Since probiotics are among the world's most traded over-the-counter supplements, these results may have immediate, broad implications. “Contrary to the current dogma that probiotics are harmless and benefit everyone,” says Segal, “we suggest that probiotics preparations should be tailored to individuals, or that such treatments such as autologous FMT may be indicated in some cases.”

Read more: 
PREVENTING DIABETES 
The PREVIEW diabetes prevention learning module provides an up-to-date, evidence-based and easy-to-use interactive summary of healthy eating, physical activity and psychology for the prevention of type 2 diabetes and is freely available here.

PERSPECTIVES WITH DR ALAN BARCLAY

DIETS: LET’S BREAK THE 50-YEAR FAD CYCLE 
Overweight and obesity is a global phenomenon, with the World Health Organisation estimating in 2016, that 1,900 million adults and 380 million children have a body mass index (BMI) greater than 25 kg/m2. The causes are multifaceted and complex. In 2007, the Foresight Programme of the UK Government Office for Science published an obesity system map, developed through a multi-stakeholder process.

Obesity system map

This qualitative, conceptual model has 108 variables, some of which are measurable (eg, the ambient temperature of the indoor environment), and others that are more difficult to quantify (eg, desire to differentiate food offerings). The relationships between the variables are illustrated with more than 300 solid or dashed lines to indicate positive and negative influences. All the variables are interconnected, some with large numbers of inputs and others with large numbers of outputs. The connections give rise to feedback loops with as few as two variables (eg, a affects b which in turn affects a) or involving as many as 16 variables.

At the core of the map is “energy balance” (energy intake versus energy expenditure). 

The highest quality (Level 1) scientific evidence from randomised controlled trials in humans shows quite clearly that in the long-term (more than 2 years), the macronutrient composition (ie, fat, carbohydrate or protein) of the diet doesn’t matter – with respect to body weight, it’s total energy intake (kilojoules/calories) that ultimately counts. Despite this, most purveyors of popular diets continue to focus on single nutrients or ingredients as the cause of all our current lifestyle-related ailments, and most state of course that all you need to do to solve the problem is to avoid them. If only it was that simple …

We have a really good recent example of the lack of success of the one-nutrient-at-a-time approach – the vast variety of low fat diets contrived in the final quarter of the 20th century. Low fat diets (in contrast to traditional low-fat eating patterns as enjoyed by certain ethnic groups for hundreds of years) did not deliver the improvements in health that were expected by their original proponents.

Present day narrative suggests that in an academic showdown spanning both sides of the Atlantic in the 1960s and 70s, “anti-fat” scientist Dr Ancel Keys defeated “anti-sugar” scientist Dr John Yudkin, and the low-fat message was enshrined in Dietary Guidelines worldwide, paving the way for low-fat variants of all of our favourite foods for the next quarter of a century. In the mean-time we all gained more weight and developed type 2 diabetes. Again, if only it was that simple …

Not everyone agreed with Keys hypotheses, and as characteristic of scientific research, academic debate continued. Mindful of this, the very first edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans published in 1980 included a range of practical advice to help people choose a healthful pattern of eating. There was a chapter on how to “Avoid too much fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol” and also one on how to “Avoid too much sugar”, thus addressing both Keys’ and Yudkin’s concerns. Dietary Guidelines from 1980 onwards have always included practical advice on reducing saturated fat and added sugars. The problem is, the average person didn’t know about the Dietary Guidelines as they were a government publication in a pre-internet world. Needless to say, they would not have been on the best seller list in the local bookstore back in 1980. Even today few people have actually read them despite their being freely available over the internet.

In the 1970s and 80s, low-fat diet books by Nathan Pritikin in the USA and Ross Horne in Australia (an engineer and a pilot respectively) made the best seller lists. They had both experienced dramatic health improvements when they started consuming a low-fat diet. There were many other similar titles as the publishing industry caught and rode the wave. Devout followers of the various low-fat gurus sought low-fat foods in their local supermarkets and food industry caught on, producing low-fat versions of all of our favourite foods, often replacing the fat with dietary fibres (eg, gums), maltodextrins, starches, added sugars and refined proteins. The rest, as they say, is history …

Sadly, history has a bad habit of repeating itself. With respect to fad diets, the cycle appears to last around 50 years. Here’s a snapshot of the past 50 years.
  • High fat, low carbohydrate diets were fashionable in the early 1970s thanks to Dr Atkins’ and his Diet Revolution: The High Calorie Way to Stay Thin Forever 
  • Low fat, high carbohydrate diets came into fashion in the early 1980s, thanks to Nathan Pritikin’s The Pritikin Promise: 28 Days to a Longer Healthier Life and Ross Horne’s The New Health Revolution, and stayed with us for around 20 years 
  • Low carbohydrate, high protein diet variants came back in vogue in early 1999 with the release of Dr Atkins New Diet Revolution, and The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet in 2006. 
  • Low sugar diets became popular in the mid-noughties, and low carbohydrate (starches and sugars) diets have been popular in more recent years. Indeed, extremely low carbohydrate/high fat diets are now in vogue, with ketogenic diets rapidly gaining in popularity – last popular back in 1971 ... 
When you break it down and do the math it’s pretty simple – there are 3 macronutrients:

50 years/3 macronutrients = new focus for fad diets every 15–20 years. 

So it’s protein’s turn for the hit list next. Veganism or test-tube meat anyone?

Let’s break the cycle. Diets don’t work. Instead, opt for what we know works for long-term health and wellbeing.
  • Enjoy a healthful pattern of eating that suits your cultural, family and personal food preferences and budget 
  • Be as physically active as you can every day 
  • Find ways to deal with stress, and 
  • Get a good night’s sleep. Eight hours. 
Read more: 


Dr Alan Barclay  
Alan Barclay, PhD is a consultant dietitian and chef (Cert III). He worked for Diabetes Australia (NSW) from 1998–2014 . He is author/co-author of more than 30 scientific publications, and author/co-author of  The good Carbs Cookbook (Murdoch Books), Reversing Diabetes (Murdoch Books), The Low GI Diet: Managing Type 2 Diabetes (Hachette Australia) and The Ultimate Guide to Sugars and Sweeteners (The Experiment, New York).

Contact: You can follow him on Twitter or check out his website.

KEEPING IT GREEN – EATING FOR BODY AND PLANET

THE ETHICS OF MEAT
The fairy tale farm evokes images of pigs rolling in muddy pig pens, cows grazing in green pastures and hens happily sitting on eggs in wooden hen houses. While this may have been the scene in the 1890s, the reality today is not so pretty. Increasing demand, corporatisation of agriculture and the expectation of low prices has encouraged the intensive production of animal products, along with a decline of our humanity and compassion for animals.

Free range pigs

Many of us are blissfully ignorant of how our meat, milk and eggs get to the shops but there has been a shift in our attitudes and preferences. Social media, vegan activism and a growing awareness of animal welfare have helped to fuel the rise of flexitarianism, or eating less meat, as well as a rise in ethical claims on food such as ‘free-range’, ‘organic’ and ‘cruelty free’. Here we take a look at the main welfare issues within animal farming and how industries are responding with more ethical alternatives. 

  • CONFINEMENT – Chickens and pigs are commonly kept in cages or crates with little room to turn around. Lack of exercise weakens their bones and as chickens are grown unnaturally fast, broken bones are a common issue. Free-range chickens and ‘sow-stall free pork’ offers a more ethical alternative. 
  • DENIAL OF NATURAL BEHAVIOURS – chickens instinctively like to run around, roost, and dust bathe and all these behaviours are denied or severely curtailed in intensive farms. Free range farming allows chicken to engage in their natural behaviours. Similarly, pigs like to root around outside with their specially adapted snouts, and free-range farming allows them to do this. 
  • UNWANTED CHICKS AND CALVES – Only female chickens lay eggs, yet 50% of chicks born are males. Shockingly, male chicks are killed, either gassed or – horrifyingly - thrown alive into grinding machines. Similarly, dairy cows only produce milk if they have recently given birth so most calves are slaughtered, except for a small number of female calves that are raised to produce milk themselves. 
  • PAINFUL PROCEDURES – For a variety of reasons, intensive farming often involves hurting animals. Farmers may trim chicken beaks, dock horns, castrate pigs, lambs and calves, clip teeth, dock tails, ring noses, remove horn buds. These painful procedures are usually done without anaesthetic. 
Ethical farming meat, egg and dairy farming are more labour intensive and therefore more expensive. In the case of milk, organic milk from smaller farms with kinder practices can cost double the amount of conventionally produced milk. This is out of reach for many. Another issue is the limited supply of more ethical products. While the situation is changing, ethically produced meat is still harder to find. How we can increase the supply is to demand it, and the food supply will gradually change to give us what we want.

How to be an ethical omnivore 
  • Enjoy a plant-based diet and when you eat your ‘just enough’ amount of animal products, choose the most ethical options available to you – a win for the animals and you! Eating just enough animal foods, and perhaps less than you do now, will reduce the cost impact as well. 
  • Choose organic, free range, cruelty free or humane choice meat and dairy. Organic farming standards include welfare for farm workers and animals. 
  • Choose wild, game meats – such as rabbit, kangaroo, venison (deer) that are free to roam before slaughter (and also have a smaller environmental footprint). 
  • Support smaller organic/biodynamic farms – as they use kinder and more environmentally sustainable production methods. 
  • Dine at ethical eateries – Support restaurants that use higher welfare animal ingredients – e.g. cage-free eggs. There are online directories such as Choose Wisely in Australia that help locate ethical eateries near you. 
  • Eat nose-to-tail and waste nothing – if we’re going to kill animals for food the least we can do is eat everything and not waste it. This means eating all the cuts and not just the popular ones. The bonus is they’re cheaper. 
Thanks to Rachel Ananin AKA TheSeasonalDietitian.com for her assistance with this article.

 Nicole Senior    
Nicole Senior is an Accredited Nutritionist, author, consultant, cook, food enthusiast and mother who strives to make sense of nutrition science and delights in making healthy food delicious.   Contact: You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or check out her website.

GOOD CARBS FOOD FACTS A TO Z

SPELT
Spelt is one of today’s trendy grains with organic cred and a mystical “ancient grains” health halo. An older wheat variety of uncertain parentage – possibly a hybrid of emmer and bread wheat – it was long cultivated in parts of Europe, but fell out of fashion because it is a hulled wheat (meaning it has a tough husk and is harder to process). Today it is back big time and available whole, pearled, cracked, rolled and green or milled to make flour and products such as couscous, pasta, bread and breakfast cereals. In the kitchen you’ll find it’s a very versatile grain with a nutty, al dente texture that happily pairs with robust flavours or substitutes for regular wheat in most recipes. We think it’s a good carb to stock in your pantry and doesn’t need the accompanying hype.

SPELT

Some nutrition and food writers make Very Rash Claims that many people who can’t tolerate wheat can tolerate spelt. There is no evidence for this in peer-reviewed science journals. Spelt is a variety of wheat and it contains gluten (about 80% of its protein is gluten) putting it very much on the Absolutely Avoid List for people with medically diagnosed celiac disease.

Fans like to claim it is nutritionally superior to regular wheat. But when the Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council checked this out recently they found a very mixed bag of research findings. “The nutrient composition of spelt,” they report “appears to vary depending on the variety and the environmental conditions where it is grown. Belgian research examining milled and wholemeal grain samples found that de-hulled spelt contains more copper, zinc, iron, magnesium and phosphorus than soft winter wheat. Another study in Italy showed that spelt contains more protein and soluble fibre than conventional wheat varieties. This research further showed that bread made from wholemeal spelt flour has less total starch and more resistant starch compared with bread made from white flour (milled from both spelt and conventional wheat). However, other research has shown no significant difference between the nutritional content of spelt and (hard red) winter wheat in terms of protein, fibre, vitamin and mineral content. The exception was zinc content, which was found to higher in spelt wheat.”

As for its glycemic index, it hasn’t been GI tested but we would guesstimate pearled spelt to be similar to whole wheat kernels. The GI of other spelt products from breads to breakfast cereals will depend on the product and the amount and type of processing.

Spelt nutrition facts
 Source: USDA National Nutrient Database

IN THE GI NEWS KITCHEN

ALAN BARCLAY: REVERSING DIABETES
The latest research into type 2 diabetes shows that for some people it’s possible to put diabetes into remission and for others they can prevent or at least delay the complications of diabetes. In Reversing Diabetes (Murdoch Books), Dr Alan Barclay explores what these findings mean and includes 70 inspiring, delicious recipes for households large and small. Available from online retailers and bookshops everywhere.

REVERSING DIABETES 
SPELT SPAGHETTI WITH RATATOUILLE 
Use regular wheat spaghetti if that’s what’s in the pantry. To go gluten-free is you need to, substitute with rice or other gluten-free pasta. Serves 2 • Preparation 15 minutes • Cooking 15 minutes

SPELT SPAGHETTI WITH RATATOUILLE

Olive oil spray
1 red onion, roughly chopped
1 eggplant (aubergine), chopped
1 red capsicum (pepper), chopped
2 zucchini (courgettes), chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
250g (9oz) cherry tomatoes, halved
140g (5oz) spelt spaghetti
1 small handful basil leaves, to serve

Spray a large non-stick frying pan with olive oil and place over medium–high heat. Cook the onion, stirring, for 2 minutes or until softened. Stir in the eggplant, capsicum, zucchini and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes. • Stir in the tomatoes and 1 cup water, and cook for a further 2 minutes or until the tomatoes have softened and the other vegetables are tender. Remove the pan from the heat. • While the vegetables are cooking, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and cook the pasta for 8–10 minutes or until al dente. • Drain the pasta, add it to the ratatouille and gently toss to combine. Serve the pasta and ratatouille with the basil scattered over the top.

Per serving 
Energy 1495kJ/ 355Cal; protein 14g; fat 3g (includes 0.3g saturated fat; saturated : unsaturated fat ratio 0.11); carbohydrate 62g; fibre 12g; sodium 30mg; potassium 1085mg; sodium : potassium ratio 0.03  

ANNEKA MANNING: BAKECLUB 
ANNEKA MANNING
Anneka Manning is an author, food editor, cooking teacher, home economist, mother of two and the founder of BakeClub. With over 27 years' experience, she specialises in teaching the ‘why’ behind the ‘how’ of baking, giving home cooks the know-how, understanding and skill to bake with confidence and success, every time. She has written and contributed to a number of books, including The Low GI Family Cookbook (Hachette), Mastering the Art of Baking (Murdoch Books) and BakeClass (Murdoch Books).

SALMON AND ROAST VEGETABLE FRITTATAS
Make sure you roast extra vegetables when making them for dinner for a quick and easy lunch or light meal the next day. Serve with a green salad. Makes: 8 • Preparation time: 15 minutes (+ 5 minutes cooling time) • Baking time: 25 minutes

SALMON AND ROAST VEGETABLE FRITTATAS

Olive oil, to grease (optional)
3½ cups (about 630g) chopped roasted vegetables (see Baker’s Tips)
210g/7oz tin red or pink salmon in spring water, drained and coarsely flaked
½ cup (50g/2½oz) coarsely grated vintage cheddar cheese
⅓ cup chopped chives, flat-leaf parsley and/or basil
6 eggs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F (170°C/325°F fan-forced). Grease 8 holes of a 1/3 cup (80ml) muffin tin with olive oil or line with paper muffin cases. • Place vegetables, salmon, cheese and herbs in a large mixing bowl and toss gently to combine evenly. Spoon the mixture into the muffin holes, dividing evenly. Crack the eggs into a jug, season well with salt and pepper and then use a fork to whisk to combine. Carefully pour into the muffin holes over the vegetable mixture, dividing evenly. • Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes until set and golden. (The eggs will continue to cook in the tin, so it’s ok if the centre is a little soft, just not runny). Stand in the tin for 5 minutes, then use a small palette knife or butter knife to remove the frittatas from the tin. Serve warm or room temperature with a green salad.

Baker’s tips

  • Roasted pumpkin, capsicum, carrots, sweet potato, zucchini, eggplant and mushrooms all work well in these frittatas. 
  • Add chopped fresh herbs such as rosemary, sage or thyme to your vegetables before roasting them for an extra flavour hit. 
  • These frittatas will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. Serve at room temperature or reheat in an oven preheated to 180°C/350°F (160°C/320°F fan-forced) for 5–10 minutes. 
Per serve (one frittata) 
630kJ/ 150 calories; 13g protein; 8g fat (includes 3g saturated fat; saturated : unsaturated fat ratio 0.6); 5g available carbs (includes 2.5g sugars and 2.5g starches); 5g fibre; 340mg sodium

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University of Sydney

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Nutritional analysis To analyse Australian foods, beverages, processed products and recipes, we use FoodWorks which contains the AusNut and Nuttab databases. If necessary, this is supplemented with data from www.calorieking.com.au or http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/search.

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1 September 2018

GI News - September 2018

GI News

GI News is published online every month by the University of Sydney, School of Life and Environmental Sciences and the Charles Perkins Centre, and delivered to the mailboxes of our 97,000 subscribers. Our goal is to help people choose the high-quality carbs that are digested at a rate that our bodies can comfortably accommodate and to share the latest scientific findings on food and diet with a particular focus on carbohydrates, dietary fibres, blood glucose and the glycemic index.

Publisher:
Professor Jennie Brand-Miller, AM, PhD, FAIFST, FNSA
Editor: Philippa Sandall
Scientific Editor/Managing Editor: Alan Barclay, PhD, APD AN
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Sydney University Glycemic Index Research Service
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FOOD FOR THOUGHT

INTRODUCING NEW FOODS TO BABIES: WHEN AND WHAT
Recently, the Trump administration angered health experts around the world with its attempt to weaken a UN resolution encouraging breastfeeding. The US bid to promote the use of formula was unsuccessful and has prompted discussions about the importance of exclusively breastfeeding (if possible) for the baby’s first six months of life, before other foods are introduced. In this edited version of their article in The Conversation, Clare Collins and Jenna Hollis look at current recommendations on introducing new foods to babies.

“Guidelines recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby’s life. But our 2017 study of new mothers in Australia found many were unsure what exclusive breastfeeding meant. The World Health Organisation defines exclusive breastfeeding as feeding only breastmilk and no other foods or drinks, not even water. The definition does allow inclusion of oral rehydration solutions, or drops or syrups for vitamins, minerals, and medicines prescribed by a doctor. Preterm or underweight babies may need extra nutritious fluids, which are administered in consultation between parents and paediatricians.

Some mothers may not be able to breastfeed. Others may choose to move on from breastfeeding. If a baby isn’t breastfed, or is partially breastfed, commercial infant formula should be the only other food given until six months. Breast (or infant formula) feeding is recommended alongside other foods until the baby is 12 months and, for breastfeeding, for as long as the mother and her infant want to keep it going.

Introducing other foods Parents can start introducing other foods from around six months of age. At this age, the baby’s iron stores obtained from their mother will have started to deplete. Pureed meat or legumes and iron-fortified rice cereal, are good sources of iron and are recommended first foods. Next, parents can introduce a variety of vegetables, fruit, and other foods. New foods should be added one at a time. Gradually increase the texture from pureed initially at six months, then to lumpy, and to family food textures at 12 months of age. Take care to still avoid hard foods that don’t break up easily to prevent choking, such as nuts and small, hard pieces of vegetables and fruit.

Infant feeding

Cow’s milk products can be introduced, including full-fat yoghurt and cheese, but cow’s milk shouldn’t be given as the main drink until after 12 months (this is because it contains too much protein and salts). Boiled then cooled tap water can be given from six months and tap water should continue to be boiled first and cooled before given to baby until 12 months.

By 12 months, babies can be offered a variety of nutritious foods that are enjoyed by the rest of the family, except for choking hazards such as nuts.

Why does timing matter? Breastfeeding has many benefits for the mother and baby. It protects babies against infection, obesity, and chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes later in life. Breastmilk has all the energy and nutrients babies need in the first months of life. Even when exclusive breastfeeding doesn’t work out as planned, every extra day a baby receives any breastmilk is beneficial. Breastmilk contains antibodies and helps to mature the infant’s gut.

At six months, babies also need semi-solid foods to help meet their energy needs for growth and development, and specific nutrient requirements. Iron deficiency anaemia is common in infants, mainly due to a low intake of iron-rich foods after six months of age. By six months, babies usually show signs they’re ready for food. These include sitting up, controlling their head, eyeing your food when you eat, and reaching out for food. In the 2016 study of mothers and their children we published, we found babies introduced to semi-solid foods at six months were less likely to experience feeding difficulties than babies who were given them between four and six months of age.”

Nutrition tips for baby’s first year

  • Seek advice on breastfeeding when you need it. 
  • If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. 
  • Focus on developing healthy eating habits as a family. 
Read more about breastfeeding in The Conversation: 

WHAT’S NEW?

YOUR BABY’S THYROID GLAND PLAYS A CRITICAL ROLE IN BRAIN DEVELOPMENT
Adequate concentrations of maternal and neonatal thyroid hormones are essential for fetal neural development and play a key part in regulating fetal growth, brain development, and metabolism. Fetal thyroid function begins at 12–14 weeks gestation; however, maternal transfer of thyroid hormones continues until full-term and has a protective role in fetal neurodevelopment until the first few days of life.

Thyroid
The thyroid gland

Thyroid hormone concentrations in newborn babies are affected by neonatal, maternal, and pregnancy-related factors, including maternal thyroid function and iodine status. Congenital hypothyroidism is defined as inadequate thyroid function in newborn infants and is one of the most readily preventable causes of intellectual disability in children.

A world-first University of Sydney study in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology reveals Australian babies born with moderately high concentrations of a hormone called thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) have a higher risk of poor educational and development outcomes at school age. It suggests that the mother is not consuming enough iodine. This is the first population-based study demonstrating the association between moderately high TSH in infants and their later school age neurodevelopmental outcomes.

Congenital hypothyroidism refers to abnormal thyroid function in newborn infants. Globally, about one in 2000 children are born with congenital hypothyroidism each year and the incidence of subclinical thyroid disease is at least ten times higher than overt thyroid disease. If untreated for several months after birth, severe congenital hypothyroidism can lead to growth failure and permanent intellectual disability.

Screening for congenital hypothyroidism in the first days of life, done usually by testing concentrations of neonatal thyroid-stimulating hormone in baby's blood, provides an opportunity to identify infants with abnormal thyroid hormone concentrations. In developed countries, newborn screening of TSH levels and early treatment for congenital hypothyroidism has nearly eliminated intellectual disabilities associated with congenital hypothyroidism. Currently, only newborns with TSH concentrations at the 99.95th percentile of the population range, are diagnosed with congenital hypothyroidism and treated with the hormone thyroxine. At this percentile, blood concentration of TSH usually exceeds 20 mU per litre of whole blood.

The researchers found that infants with a neonatal TSH concentration just lower than the cut-off (20 mU/L blood, a near miss) have an increased likelihood of poor neurodevelopmental outcomes at school age. Said another way, the study reveals a gradual increasing risk of poor educational and development outcomes for newborns with increasing TSH concentrations from the 75th to the 99.95th percentile.

“The results showed a clear dose-response association between neonatal thyroid stimulating hormone and risk of scoring below the national minimum standard for numeracy and reading,” said the University of Sydney’s A/Professor Natasha Nassar, the study’s senior author.

“This study can't prove a cause and effect relationship between thyroid stimulating hormone levels in newborns and educational and development outcomes in school age children, but it suggests an urgent need for prospective studies examining different thyroid hormone thresholds for intervening with thyroxine,” said Dr Bridget Wilcken, Clinical Professor of Paediatrics and Child Health at the Children's Hospital at Westmead. “Given that thyroxine is a relatively safe medication when indicated and properly monitored, this simple intervention may prevent significant learning and developmental problems in a small group of affected children.”

Read more 

ALL ABOUT IODINE 
Iodine is a naturally occurring mineral that is needed by the thyroid gland in order to synthesize thyroxine, an important hormone that regulates metabolism. In babies and young children, thyroid hormones play a key role in physical and mental development. A deficiency of iodine can lead to learning difficulties and affect physical development and hearing. The recommended dietary intake a day for iodine is 150 micrograms for most adults, but this increases to 220 micrograms during pregnancy and 270 micrograms while breast-feeding, as your baby will take the iodine it needs from you.

Iodine  
The mineral iodine

Iodine deficiency
Because Australian and New Zealand soils are low in iodine, the National Health and Medical Research Council and the New Zealand Ministry of Health recommend that all women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or considering pregnancy, take an iodine supplement. However, it’s best to speak with your doctor before taking a supplement, especially if you have a pre-existing thyroid condition.

Though iodine deficiency is not typically a problem in the United States, as most table salt is enriched with iodine, the American Thyroid Association recommends that all women who are pregnant, breast-feeding, or considering pregnancy take an iodine supplement of 150 micrograms each day. Kelp and seaweed supplements are not recommended as they contain varying amounts of iodine and can even cause toxicity (too much iodine). Again, speak with your doctor first.

The best source of iodine in our diet is seafood. We also get iodine from other foods including milk and vegetables, but the amount varies depending on how these foods are grown and processed. In Australia and New Zealand, all salt used for making bread (apart from organic breads) must now be iodised, so bread has become a source of iodine. 
BABY FORMULA CAN CHANGE GUT BACTERIA 
A study of more than 1000 Canadian mothers and their infants in Journal of Pediatrics found exclusive breastfeeding in the first three months of life provided more protection against an infant becoming overweight at one year of age than either partial breastfeeding or formula feeding. This association is partially explained by the influence breastfeeding has on an infant’s gut microbiome say the researchers. “Breastfeeding is one of the most influential factors in shaping the infant gut microbiome,” says Dr. Meghan Azad.

“Our research showed that partial breastfeeding and exclusive formula feeding were associated with a higher microbial diversity at three months of age, meaning more types of microbes were present in the baby’s gut, as well as an abundance of a group of bacteria called Lachnospiracae, which has been associated with infant overweight,” explains Dr. Anita Kozyrskyj. “We also distinguished between partial breastfeeding mixed with formula versus partial breastfeeding mixed with foods,” adds Dr. Jessica Forbes. “We found that breastfed infants supplemented with formula were at increased risk for becoming overweight at one year of age, and had a different microbiota composition than exclusively breastfed infants; whereas breastfed infants supplemented with complementary foods only (no formula) were similar to exclusively breastfed infants with no increased risk.”

 “These results emphasize the importance of breastfeeding as a possible protective factor against infant overweight by modifying the gut microbiome,” says Azad. “They suggest that improved programs and policies to support exclusive breastfeeding could have a meaningful impact on infant health.”

Read more 
MOTHER NATURE KNOWS BEST FOR BABY’S FIRST FOOD 
Mother’s milk provides the perfect mix of nutrients – carbs, fat, protein, vitamins and minerals – for babies to grow and thrive for the first six months of life. Mother Nature made it sweet so it is very appealing to babies. The sweetness comes from a special sugar called lactose only found in milk. Our human milk has one of the highest concentrations of lactose of any mammal coming in at some 7 grams of lactose per 100 millilitres (3½ fluid ounces) which in household measures is little over ⅓ cup. It is about 1½ times that of cow’s milk. Why so much? One reason is probably to satisfy our fast-growing, energy-hungry, glucose-demanding brain. Scans show that a baby’s brain reaches more than half adult size in the first 90 days of baby’s life.

Breast feeding

Mother’s milk also contains special carbs called oligosaccharides (think of them as prebiotics, foods that friendly bacteria in the large intestine chomp on to thrive).

Human breast milk analysis
Source: The Good Carbs Cookbook

MATERNAL NUTRITION IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN WE EVER IMAGINED
The man who transformed our thinking about the causes of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer was Sir David Barker (physician, biologist and epidemiologist). Caroline Fall and Clive Osmond remind us that Barker’s: “‘fetal programming hypothesis’ challenged the idea that these diseases are explained by bad genes and unhealthy adult lifestyles. Instead, he proposed, their roots lie in the early life environment: ‘The nourishment a baby receives from its mother, and its exposure to infection after birth, determine its susceptibility to chronic disease in later life’. By permanently ‘programming’ the body’s metabolism and growth, they determine the pathologies of old age. His now widely accepted ideas stimulated research into the developmental origins of health and disease. To pull back the modern epidemics of chronic disease we should prioritise the health and nutrition of girls, pregnant women and infants.” And he said this over 20 years ago.

“Maternal nutrition is more important than we ever imagined,” says Prof Jennie Brand-Miller. “Life inside the womb is a critical period for metabolic programming that influences a baby’s cell types, cell numbers, body composition, hormonal feedback, metabolic activity, and appetite. Our food supply and dietary recommendations should be based first and foremost on the needs of pregnant women,” she says. “If we cover them, we automatically cover everyone else. They should not be seen as the exception to the rule (and simply recommended nutritional supplements). We now also know that different patterns of growth have long-term effects on the risk of specific diseases. If growth is restricted, there is a higher risk of abdominal obesity, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes as an adult. Over-nutrition, seen for example in maternal diabetes and obesity, is also linked to increased risk of obesity in adult life. The positive news is that we know that interventions in pregnancy are probably more effective than later interventions. So, we have to give Mum and her unborn baby much greater focus.”

Read more 
PLANNED PARENTHOOD TIPS FOR MUM AND DAD 
Improving your own health before conception and providing a healthy environment for your unborn child can go a long way towards ensuring they have the best possible start in life. Here are eight tips from The Low GI Plan for Optimal Pregnancy for improving your health three to six months before conception.
  1. Organise your pre-pregnancy health checks with your doctor. 
  2. Review your medications (including non-prescription medications and supplements) with your doctor. Optimal intakes of iron, folate and iodine is critical. 
  3. If you smoke, do your best to stop. 
  4. Avoid alcohol and perhaps coffee (and other highly caffeinated beverages). 
  5. Ensure your eating habits are healthy. 
  6. Be physically active. 
  7. If you are overweight, improve your diet and activity to achieve gradual weight loss. 
  8. Take folate and iodine supplements 
Read more: 
HEALTHY EAT OUT/TAKE OUT – MEXICAN 
Mexican restaurants are popping up all over. They are ideal for low GI choices because they make great use of beans and corn. They also have small portions such as tacos if you just want a light meal. There are usually plenty of gluten-free and vegetarian choices. Menus often include detailed descriptions of dishes so you know exactly what you are getting (and you can always ask). Good options include:
  • Tacos, burritos and quesadillas with mushrooms or vegetables, fish, seafood, pulled pork, beef, and chicken 
  • Salads and salsas of all kinds 
  • Chargrilled corn 
  • Ceviche bowls with tuna, salmon or kingfish 
  • Share plates with grilled octopus, guacamole, corn tamales.
Burrito