1 October 2019

GI News - October 2019

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

FIVE THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT PROCESSED FOODS 
These days, processed food seems to be associated with either “junk food” or food additives – things that many people would rather avoid if they could. Prof Jennie Brand-Miller reminds us that food processing is nothing new. It’s something our paleolithic (stone age) ancestors were doing long before the agricultural revolution some 12,000 years ago. Just imagine all the trial and error that went into discovering how to leach toxins from plant foods. Perhaps, we should see food processing as an example of human creativity at its best she suggests.

FOOD PROCESSING IS NOTHING NEW
Stone-grinding of seeds and leaching of toxins from plant foods have been practised for thousands of years. Many fruits dried naturally on the bush or tree (think dates, figs and sultanas) making them ‘shelf stable’ for years. We know that Australia’s Indigenous people for example collected one particular variety in large quantities, mashed and shaped them into a ball and placed them high up in a tree to protect them from animals. These energy-dense snacks were a safe and reliable treat during the following season. In “Transforming the Inedible into the Edible,” Anna Teuchler, Asa Ferrier and Richard Cosgrove describe how the Indigenous people in far northeast Queensland leached the toxins from rainforest tree nuts, a dietary staple, several thousand years ago (see Read More).

IT EXTENDS SHELF LIFE 
Anyone who farms even on a small scale in their backyard knows that fruit and vegetables are seasonal. They ripen in gluts and we give half away. But being the creative creatures that we are, we developed ways to extend the storage life of most foods. Sun drying of fruit, fish and seaweeds, pickling of vegetables in vinegar and brine and salting of meat, were early processing techniques. We also learned that nitrate salts added to meat gave them not only longer storage life, but a nice pink colour and delicious flavour as well. Hams, bacon and salami are still on the menu made using age-old techniques of processing.

Dried fruit
IT KILLS BACTERIA 
In time, we learned to bottle fruit and vegetables, cooking them first, sealing them carefully and raising the temperature as high as possible to kill bacteria and fungi that would inevitably contaminate fresh food. Eventually, the food industry took over from the homemaker, developing more reliable sterilisation techniques that prevented the growth of botulinum spores. Botulism was a dreaded phenomenon – just a single lick of the finger was enough to poison violently and often kill.

IT HELPS US AVOID WASTE
The chemical and physical processes that are used by the food industry are more often than not identical to those we use in the kitchen – heating, toasting, blanching, boiling and freezing, just on a much larger and more efficient scale. Without modern methods of processing that permit long-term storage, we would otherwise waste a huge proportion of any seasonal harvest. The excess food would be thrown away, causing surges in pests like locusts, mice and rats and creating smelly streets full of vermin and garbage. And food scarcity, vitamin deficiency and even death in winter and spring were not uncommon.

IT EXPANDS OUR DIETARY CHOICES 
Finally, where would we be without the creativity of those early farmers who milled wheat and other grains into flours to make delicious breads, cakes and biscuits? Dairy farming also made use of lactating cows (and goats, sheep and camels), who were capable of producing more than enough milk for ¬their offspring. This highly nutritious product gave rise through natural selection to whole populations with the ability to digest lactose, the sugar in milk. And it wasn’t long before early farmers processed excess milk into forms that could be stored and accessed in times of scarcity (think cheese and other fermented dairy products), even by those with lactose intolerance. How dull our diet would be without yogurt, feta, parmesan and the hundreds of other soft and hard cheeses we enjoy throughout the year.

WHAT ABOUT ADDITIVES?
In Australia, we have a relatively short list of permitted food additives that are governed by strict food laws. They are permitted in specific foods in specific quantities (not any food, nor any quantity). They must serve a technological need and must have been assessed for safety in much the same way as all drugs. Like sun drying, a preservative lengthens the shelf life of a food. The majority of food additives are identical to substances that occur in nature and serve the same purpose (e.g. lecithin in eggs is an emulsifier than keeps water and fats in a stable emulsion). Only flavours consisting of thousands of molecules have not been through the rigorous testing of other food additives. The same applies to the natural flavours we leverage in herbs and spices.

Read More:

WHAT’S NEW?

PLANT PROTEIN LINKED TO LONGER LIFE 
Greater consumption of plant-based proteins such as those found in cereals and legumes is associated with lower mortality risk, according to an observational study in JAMA Internal Medicine. Roughly 70,000 people aged 40 to 69 in Japan completed food frequency questionnaires. During a mean 18 years’ follow-up, 18% died.

Plant protein
Intake of plant protein was associated with lower total mortality. A similar pattern was seen for cardiovascular (e.g., heart disease and stroke) mortality, but not cancer-related mortality. In contrast, increasing intake of total or animal-based protein was not associated with mortality.

Swapping out 3% of energy from animal protein with plant protein resulted in lower risk for total, cardiovascular, and cancer-related mortality. Risk reductions were even greater when substituting plants for processed meats. The lack of an association between animal protein and mortality might be because animal consumption is generally lower in Japan than in the U.S., and the main animal protein is fish say the authors. They conclude: “Our study suggests that encouraging diets with higher plant-based protein intake may contribute to long-term health and longevity.”

Protein is widely available in our food supply. And while people talk about “protein foods”, no food is all protein and most of us eat a variety of foods containing many different proteins. As Dr David Katz says: “Dietary protein does not require animal foods, and does not require any specific food combinations. Wholesome foods in any balanced, sensible assembly – even a strictly vegan assembly – will readily provide it.”

Plant sources:

  • Beans, chickpeas or lentils (legumes/pulses) 
  • Nuts and seeds 
  • Grains, especially whole grains 
  • Starchy veggies (potato, sweet potato etc.) 
Animal sources:
  • Meat, poultry, and seafood 
  • Eggs 
  • Milk, cheese and yoghurt. 
Read more:

PRODUCT REVIEW

FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT EDIBLE SEAWEEDS 
Two books about edible seaweeds recently arrived on the editor’s desk. Ocean Greens by Lisette Kreischer and Marcel Schuttelaar (The Experiment) explores the world of edible seaweed and sea vegetables and includes 50 vegan recipes. Bren Smith’s Eat Like a Fish (Murdoch Books) is more of a rollicking tale of the adventures of a fisherman turned restorative ocean farmer growing edible algae. They have inspired us to take a closer look at these “vegetables” that are used as ingredients and flavourings in sauces, soups, salads, stews and side dishes and as sources of food additives such as carrageen (a thickener), and agar agar (a gelling agent).

Ocean Greens        Eat Like a Fish

WHAT ARE EDIBLE SEAWEEDS? They are marine algae. There are more than 20,000 species of algae and humans have enjoyed hundreds of them for thousands of years. They have been especially important foods through coastal Asia, in the British Isles, and places as different as Iceland and Hawaii says Harold McGee in On Food and Cooking. There are three broad groups: green, red and brown.
Seaweed salad
WHAT’S IN SEAWEED? Seaweeds absorb nutrients from water. Fresh seaweed is around 70–90% water, 6% protein and 5% carbohydrates (including dietary fibre) and has negligible fat. They are rich sources of some vitamins and minerals. Importantly, they are a good source of iodine, a naturally occurring mineral that is needed by the thyroid gland to synthesize thyroxine, an important hormone that regulates metabolism. They also can absorb toxic metals so they are regularly monitored by Food Standards organisations.

HOW DO YOU PREPARE THEM? Some seaweeds can be eaten raw; others are better cooked, dried, baked or roasted. Here’s what Lisette Kreischer and Marcel Schuttelaar recommend:

  • Fresh seaweed: rinse thoroughly, then gently squeeze out any excess water and pat dry with paper towels. 
  • Dried seaweed: Soak following the packet instructions. It expands considerably when rehydrated. For example, 5g dried wakame equals 40–50g fresh. 
Good Carbs Cookbook author, Kate McGhie, recalls her Mum and Nan often used seaweed as a substitute for lettuce or spinach in salads. They combined it with crisp chopped apple, golden shallots and sometimes shredded cabbage and nuts for contrast all tossed in a tangy dressing. Yotam Ottolenghi is a seaweed fan. “Sea lettuce and aonori (green laver) are the most widely used of the green group – sea lettuce in salads and soups, aonori in powdered form,” he says. “Red algae, meanwhile, tend to have a deeper, sulphur-like aroma. Nori, the most common of these, is the traditional sushi wrapper, while dulse – a purplish leaf that turns green when cooked – develops a distinct aroma of bacon when fried. The generally milder brown algae include in their number kelp, kombu (essential in dashi) and wakame, the vibrant green leaves in miso soup and in salads.”

HOW MUCH SEAWEED SHOULD YOU EAT? The authors of Ocean Greens, Lisette Kreischer and Marcel Schuttelaar, recommend consuming edible seaweeds in moderation as part of a diverse and well-balanced diet. They suggest around 5–10g dried seaweed a day is plenty.

WHAT SEAWEED IS THAT? It’s easy to get confused as there can be numerous common names for the same product. We have put together this simple guide for GI News readers.

Brown algae
The main uses of brown seaweeds are as foods and sources for alginates.
WILD RICE

Red algae
The main uses of red seaweeds are as foods and sources for agar and carrageen.
WILD RICE

Green algae
The main uses of green seaweeds are as foods.
WILD RICE

Read more:

PERSPECTIVES WITH DR ALAN BARCLAY

FOOD SAFETY: A VITAL INGREDIENT FOR LONGEVITY
While we tend to focus on the importance of eating healthy foods, meals and diets for longevity, and for the prevention of lifestyle-related diseases like certain kinds of cancer (e.g., bowel), diabetes (type 2), heart disease and stroke, food safety is an extremely important issue that is often overlooked.

FOODBORNE ILLNESS This is a significant cause of acute illness and even death in developed nations like Australia (an estimated 5.4 million cases of food poisoning each year), Canada (estimated 4 million cases each year) and the USA (estimated 48 million cases each year) and unfortunately it appears to be increasing worldwide. Foodborne illness is caused by contaminated foods and drinks. Common contaminants include:

  • Pathogens – unwanted bacteria, moulds and viruses in foods and beverages 
  • Environmental contaminants – heavy metals (e.g., lead, mercury, cadmium, etc.) and organic halogenated compounds (e.g., DDT, polychlorinated biphenols, dioxins, etc.); pesticides (plant-foods) and veterinary drugs (animal-foods); contaminants formed during food production and cooking (e.g., acrylamide); contaminants arising from food packaging (e.g., bisphenol A (BPA), or natural toxins in food (e.g., aflatoxins in maize and peanuts) 
  • Adulterants – the deliberate debasing of the quality of a food or beverage by the admixture or substitution (e.g., sand, marble chips, stones, chalk powder) of inferior substances/ingredients into common foods (e.g., flours, legumes, milk, coffee, etc.). 
Around 60–80% of foodborne illnesses are due to problems that occur during growing, processing, distributing or selling foods and beverages. Food producers, manufacturers, retailers, restaurants and other distributors are ultimately responsible for ensuring that the food we buy is safe, and Government food regulators are responsible for setting standards (e.g. regulating pesticide and antibiotic use; permitted contaminant levels, etc.), providing oversight (e.g., site inspection, market basket surveys/audits, coordinating recalls, etc.) and ultimately penalising offending companies.

When foods or beverages are found to be contaminated, food recall action is taken by a food business to remove unsafe food from distribution, sale and consumption. All food businesses must be able to quickly remove food from the marketplace to protect public health and safety. It may surprise you to learn that food businesses initiate most recalls. However, Government food authorities usually coordinate and monitor the recall process.

In Australia and other developed nations, foods prepared in the home account for 20–40% of foodborne illness. The main causes of foodborne illness at home are:
  • Contaminated food storage and preparation areas 
  • Unsafe raw food 
  • Inadequate cooking 
  • Improper holding temperatures 
  • Contaminated equipment (such as knives, cutting boards and dishcloths) 
  • Allowing raw foods to make direct contact with ready-to-eat foods 
  • Poor personal hygiene of food handlers (such as not washing hands adequately, particularly after handling raw food or immediately after using the bathroom/toilet). 
Foods that are considered higher risk because pathogens can be naturally present and grow if they are not stored and prepared safely, include:
  • Raw and cooked meat or foods containing raw or cooked meat 
  • Seafood and foods containing seafood 
  • Dairy products and foods containing dairy products 
  • Processed foods containing eggs or other protein-rich food 
  • Cooked rice and pasta 
  • Processed fruit and vegetables such as salads 
  • Foods that contain any of the above foods (e.g. sandwiches). 
Fruit salad
Always check use by dates, avoid cross-contamination, cook foods adequately and store them at safe temperatures, and check the foods for unpleasant odours before eating or drinking.

FOOD POISONING? If you have food poisoning, you’ll probably have gastro-intestinal symptoms such as abdominal cramps, diarrhoea or vomiting, or flu-like symptoms. You should always seek medical advice if you’re in a high-risk group (infants, elderly, pregnant or breast-feeding women or immune-compromised) or have any of the following symptoms:
  • Frequent vomiting 
  • Bloody vomit or stools 
  • Diarrhoea for more than three days in a row 
  • Extremely painful abdominal cramping 
  • A temperature higher than 38.6°C (101.5°F) 
  • Dehydration from repeated vomiting or diarrhoea 
  • Blurry vision, muscle weakness or tingling in the arms. 
TREATMENT: For a mild case of food poisoning, you may try sucking ice chips, replenishing fluids and electrolytes when you’re ready and easing back into your normal diet and routine. For more serious cases, see your doctor. Don’t forget to contact your local food enforcement agencies and report the illness to help prevent others from getting it.

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.

GOOD CARBS FOOD FACTS

WILD RICE
A distant cousin of regular rice, wild rice (Zinzania palustris) is a cool climate water grass that traditionally grew in shallow lakes and marshes in the Great Lakes area and upper Minnesota (it’s Minnesota’s official state grain). For at least 2500 years, Native Americans harvested its seeds in canoes powered by long poles, using beater sticks to knock the ripe seeds into the bottom of their canoes. Most wild rice these days is cultivated and grown in paddies in California. However, you can still buy “wild” wild rice. For example, uncultivated Minnesota wild rice must by law be harvested in the traditional Native American way, and only by those licensed to do so. In Read More, we list where you can buy it online.

WILD RICE

Wild rice has a firm, chewy texture and nutty flavour and is a good source of fiber, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, zinc, Vitamin B6, and niacin. It takes longer to cook than regular rice – up to 50 minutes. One cup of uncooked wild rice yields 3–4 cups cooked. You can also pop wild rice, like popcorn. Just heat it in a little oil and shake until it pops.

WILD RICE
Source: AusFoods, 2019

Read More:

THE GOOD CARBS KITCHEN

WILD AND BROWN RICE PILAF WITH MUSHROOMS AND ALMONDS
0:20 Prep • 1:15 Cook • 8 Servings • Nourishing • Main meal • Gluten-free• Vegetarian

WILD AND BROWN RICE PILAF WITH MUSHROOMS AND ALMONDS
INGREDIENTS
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 small onion, very finely chopped
1 small carrot, scraped, finely chopped
1 small stick of celery, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 cups (270g) sliced mushrooms
Salt flakes and freshly ground pepper
1 cup (200g) brown rice
1 cup (190g) wild rice
4 cups (1 litre) vegetable stock
2 teaspoon lemon zest from the zest of
1 lemon 1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
½ cup (80g) coarsely chopped raw almonds

METHOD
Put the oil and butter in a large sturdy pot with a close-fitting lid. Add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic and gently cook for 5 minutes or until the vegetables soften. Add the mushrooms, increase the heat to medium and cook and stir 5 minutes. Rinse the wild and brown rice, drain well and add to the pot. Stir until the grains are well coated with vegetable and oil mixture. Pour in the stock, bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to as low as you can. Put the lid on the pot (if it is not tightly fitting, cover the pot with foil and then ram the lid on) and cook for 50 minutes. It is important that you do not lift the lid during this time. Remove the pot from the heat and lift the lid. Taste the rice – it should be al dente. If not, replace the lid and cook for another 10 minutes. The rice should not appear wet and must have a slight crunch. Add salt and pepper to taste with the lemon zest and juice. Replace the lid, remove from the heat and let the rice rest for 10 minutes. Add the parsley and almonds and fluff with a fork.

NUTRITION
Per serve 1505kJ/ 360 calories; 6g protein; 27g fat (includes 3.5g saturated fat; saturated : unsaturated fat ratio 0.15); 21g available carbs (includes 5.5g sugars and 15.5g starches); 5.5g fibre; 255mg sodium; 505mg potassium; sodium : potassium ratio 0.5.

RECIPE
The Good Carbs Cookbook, Murdoch Books.
The Good Carbs Cookbook  

AUTUMNAL WILD RICE SALAD WITH HIJIKI 
0:20 Prep • 1: 15 Cook • 6 Servings • Nourishing • Main meal • Gluten-free• Vegan

UTUMNAL WILD RICE SALAD WITH HIJIKI
INGREDIENTS
2 cups (300g) wild rice
15g (½oz) dried hijiki or arame
2 medium-sized orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, washed, and cubed
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
½ orange, peeled and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika (pimenton)
4 sprigs fresh thyme
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Olive oil for roasting and sautéing
200g (7oz) oyster mushrooms, wiped clean and torn in small strips
½ cup dried cranberries
150g (5oz) baby spinach
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
Handful of fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
Miso Dressing ¼ cup white miso paste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon soy sauce or tamari
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons mirin

METHOD
Cook the wild rice according to directions on the package (allow at least 45 minutes), drain, place the lid on the pan, and let stand for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, soak the hijiki (or arame) for 30 minutes in lukewarm water. Once it has rehydrated, drain and dab it dry. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the sweet potatoes, onion, orange slices, smoked paprika, and thyme and season with salt and pepper. Toss with a generous splash of olive oil. Arrange the mixture on the baking sheet and bake for 25–30 minutes, until golden brown and crispy. Flip everything halfway through to allow even browning on both sides. After 20 minutes, use a spatula toss in the cranberries. Return the pan to the oven for the remaining 5–10 minutes, until the potatoes are golden brown and crispy. Remove from the oven and cool. Heat a splash of olive oil in a skillet. Sauté the oyster mushrooms until golden brown and crispy. Season with salt and pepper. To make the dressing, whisk all the ingredients into a nice smooth sauce. Combine the dressing with the hijiki. Toast the walnuts in a skillet (small frypan) until golden brown. Divide the spinach over four plates and add a scoop of wild rice to each. Serve with the roasted vegetables. Top the salad with the hijiki and miso dressing. Garnish with the walnuts and fresh parsley.

NUTRITION
Per serve (based on 6 servings) 2170kJ/ 520 calories; 19g protein; 30g fat (includes 3g saturated fat; saturated : unsaturated fat ratio 0.18); 38g available carbs (includes 24g sugars and 14g starches); 13g fibre; 943mg sodium; 1042mg potassium; sodium : potassium ratio 0.9.

RECIPE Ocean Greens, The Experiment Publishing.
Ocean Greens

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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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© ®™ The University of Sydney, Australia

1 September 2019

GI News - September 2019

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

Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

4 STEPS TO BETTER BGLs FOR POTATO LOVERS

POTATOES
STEP 1: KEEP PORTIONS MODERATE. Why? Potatoes are carb rich. A typical medium potato (150g/5oz) has around 20g carbohydrate to help power your day. They are what we call good carbs – they put a lot of really good stuff on your dinner plate like dietary fibre and essential micronutrients including vitamins C, B (B6, riboflavin, thiamin and folate) and the minerals potassium, magnesium, and iron. The easiest way to keep an eye on portion size, is to eyeball the serving sizes by dividing the dinner plate into three sections. Protein foods (1) and wholegrains/starchy foods (2) should each take up just a quarter of the plate. Cooked green veggies or salad veggies (or both) should fill the remaining half (3).

Healthy plate
STEP 2: CHOOSE A LOWER CARB POTATO. There are some varieties of potato with fewer carbs. We sourced five packaged brands with about 20–25% less carbohydrate than regular spuds. Because growing conditions affect the carb content, the producers test their spuds regularly to ensure they meet the lower carbs claim on the packaging.

POTATO Table 1
Catherine Saxelby at Foodwatch did some experimenting with Carisma and Spud Lite and reports they are good all-rounders for family fare: they boil, mash and bake nicely. Check out her reports on her website (see Read More). If you want to taste test: the team at GiLicious have shared a recipe with us which you can find in The Good Carbs Kitchen.

STEP 3: CHOOSE A LOWER GI POTATO. Most potatoes have high GI values averaging around 77 (globally). This is because whatever the variety, potato starch consists of amylopectin and amylose in a fairly constant ratio of 3:1. When we checked the database at www.glycemicindex.com; flicked through The Shopper’s Guide to GI Values, and trawled back issues of GI News we found one potato with a low GI and several with moderate values which are better choices for managing blood glucose.

POTATO Table 2
While the variety makes a difference, there are other factors that affect GI. Small, new season potatoes tend to have a lower GI than fully grown spuds left in the ground longer. The recipe changes things, too. Cooking spuds in their skins and serving them with a vinegary dressing lowers the GI. Mashing them with white beans does too as will letting them get cold and making a potato salad, thanks to the resistant starch factor. However, it doesn’t seem to make that much difference to the GI whether you bake, boil or mash a particular variety of potato.

STEP 4: WATCH THE GLYCEMIC LOAD. How high your blood glucose level rises and how long it remains elevated when you eat a food or meal containing carbohydrate depends on both the GI of the carbohydrate and the total amount of carbohydrate in the food or meal. We use the term “glycemic load” or GL to describe this total amount. You calculate GL by multiplying the GI of a food by its available carbohydrate content (carbohydrate minus fibre in the USA) in the serving (in grams), divided by 100 (because GI is a percentage).

A regular medium-sized (150g/5oz) boiled potato with a high GI (average 77) provides approximately 20g of available carbohydrate. Its glycemic load is 15 (77 ÷ 100 × 20 = 15). Eat two potatoes and that jumps to 30.

You can reduce the load by reducing the portion size of the potato, or by choosing potatoes with less carbohydrate, or potatoes with a low or lower GI.

  • A medium GiLicious potato which has a moderate GI (61) contains 15 grams of available carbohydrate. Its glycemic load is 9 (61 × 15 ÷ 100 = 9). 
  • A medium Nadine potato, which has a low GI (49) contains 20 grams of available carbohydrate. Its glycemic load is 10 (49 × 20 ÷ 100 = 10).
SPUD WATCH? As there are literally hundreds of commercially grown varieties of potatoes around the world, it's very likely there are other lower carb and lower GI spuds out there. We'll keep you posted as we find them. If you come across any, please let us know.

Read More:

WHAT’S NEW?

THE KETOGENIC DIET FOR OBESITY AND DIABETES 
ConscienHealth’s Ted Kyle reports on a meta-analysis of ketogenic diets for obesity in JAMA Internal Medicine that suggests that currently enthusiasm is outpacing the evidence. Shivam Joshi, Robert Ostfeld, and Michelle McMacken tell us: “Although the ketogenic diet has garnered much attention for the dietary treatment of chronic diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes, the evidence supporting its use is currently limited and the diet’s potential risks are real. Physicians and patients should continue to judiciously appraise the benefits and risks of the ketogenic diet in accordance with the evidence, not the hype.”
KETOGENIC DIET
In the short term, a ketogenic diet can be quite impressive for weight loss. People have less hunger, eat less, and lose more weight. However, the long-term results are not nearly so impressive. Meta-analysis of data from studies that lasted more than a year shows a difference of less than a kilo versus lower fat diets. This is a case where statistical significance is clinically insignificant.

Likewise, we’ve seen sensational results in short-term studies of ketogenic diets in type 2 diabetes. But if you look at longer-term studies, the results are bland. Once again, a meta-analysis shows no difference in glycemic control.

Joshi et al point out that long-term risks merit your consideration. People report fatigue with keto diets that may be more annoying than anything. But other issues, including nutritional deficiencies, are possible. However, the most significant issue, they say, may come from limiting whole grains, fruits, and legumes in a person’s diet over the long term. Whole grains offer benefits for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and mortality. Fruits and legumes are also quite beneficial.

It might be a good thing that keto diets are tough to maintain for the long term. Banishing beneficial foods from your diet is not something to do lightly, based solely on short-term benefits.

Read more:

PRODUCT REVIEW

7 LOW CARB GOOD CARBS 
We dipped into our book, The Good Carbs Cookbook, to share 7 low carb good carbs to put on the dinner plate.

BEETROOT
BEETROOT. Its vibrant colours come from its betalain pigments – betacyanin in red purple beetroots, betaxanthin in golden and orange beets. A medium raw beetroot (about 90g or 3oz) has about 165 kilojoules (40 calories), 2g protein, no fat, 7g carbs (7g sugars), 3g fibre, 45mg sodium, 240mg potassium, and a moderate GI (64) when cooked/canned; the GL is low (4).

CAPSICUM. Red, orange, yellow, green, purple: capsicum’s crisp, juicy flesh sets the taste bar high. It’s no wonder they have made themselves at home in kitchens around the world sliced or diced into salads, or stuffed, stir fried, and roasted. A medium raw capsicum (about 90g or 3oz) has about 80 kilojoules (19 calories), 1.5g protein, 0g fat, 3g carbs (3g sugars), 1g fibre, 2mg sodium, 135mg potassium and a low GI and GL (estimated).

CARROTS. While its colour is eye-catching, it’s the sweetness that makes it popular raw and cooked as a crunchy snack or side dish, and in salads, soups, stir-fries, bakes and roasts. A medium-sized raw carrot (about 130g or 4½oz) has about 170 kilojoules (41 calories), 1g protein, no fat, 6g carbs (6g sugars), 5g fibre, 49mg sodium, 348mg potassium, and a low GI (39); the GL is low (2).

CELERIAC. Knobbly celeriac or celery root may not be one of the best-looking vegetables around, but it pays to get under its skin. Look for the smoothest skinned ones to make peeling easier and have a bowl of acidulated water on hand to help prevent discoloration as the flesh darkens once cut. A cup of grated celeriac (about 155g or 5½oz) has about 250 kilojoules (60 calories), 2.5g protein, no fat, 4g carbs (4 g sugars), 8g fibre, 33mg sodium, 686mg potassium and a low GI and GL (estimated).

EGGPLANT (AUBERGINE). The rich meaty flesh of this gorgeous, glossy, deep-tasting veg transforms into a wonderfully silky texture when pan fried, oven roasted, stuffed, mashed or pureed. A small raw eggplant (about 320g or 11oz) has about 295 kilojoules (70 calories), 3.5g protein, 1g fat, 8g carbs (8g sugars), 8g fibre, 16mg sodium, 540mg potassium and a low GI and GL (estimated).

ONIONS. Just about indispensable, onions are used on a daily basis in sauces, soups, salads, stews, stir-fries and roasts. They are one of the earliest cultivated vegetables. 1 medium raw onion (about 90g or 3oz) has about 130 kilojoules (30 calories), 1.5g protein, 0g fat, 5.5g carbs (4g sugars and 1.5g starch), 1.5g fibre, 12mg sodium, 124mg potassium, and a low GI and GL (estimated).

PUMPKIN. Boil and steam for a quick side dish or soup, but roast when you want concentrated flavour and creamy sweetness. Toss some seeds on the compost and bingo, you’ll find yourself with a pumpkin patch. A cup of raw diced pumpkin (about 120g or 4oz) has about 200 kilojoules (48 calories), 2.5g protein, 0.5g fat, 8g carbs (5g sugars/3g starches), 1.5g fibre, 1mg sodium, 414mg potassium, and a moderate GI (66) when cooked; the GL is low (5).

Read more:

PERSPECTIVES WITH DR ALAN BARCLAY

REDUCE GLYCEMIC LOAD AND REDUCE TYPE 2 DIABETES RISK
The glycemic index, or GI, is an inherent property of carbohydrate-containing foods and beverages. It is a relative ranking from 0–100, describing the rate and extent to which available carbohydrate (total carbohydrate minus dietary fibre) is digested, absorbed and metabolised into glucose and released into the blood.

Glycemic index testing follows an international standard. Volunteers who have fasted overnight are given 50g of glucose in water as a reference food, and researchers measure their blood samples at eight intervals over a two-hour period. The data enables the researchers to plot a curve, where area under the curve (AUC) is set at 100. On a separate day, the volunteers fast overnight again, and are then given the test food containing 50g of available carbohydrate. The AUC of the test food is expressed as a ratio of that of the glucose reference and is used to calculate the GI value which is a percentage.

GI test curve
Low GI foods (55 and under) are characterised by a slower and lower rise in blood glucose levels. High GI foods (70 and over) are characterised by a faster and higher rise and fall in blood glucose levels.

But speed of digestion is only one part of the story. Quantity counts. How high blood glucose actually rises and how long it remains high after we eat a meal containing carbohydrate foods depends on both the amount of carbohydrate in a food or drink as well as its glycemic index. Researchers from Harvard University and the University of Toronto came up with a term to describe this “speed/quantity” combo: glycemic load (GL). It is calculated by multiplying the GI of a food by the available carbohydrate content (carbohydrates minus fiber) in the serving (expressed in grams), divided by 100 (because GI is a percentage). (GL = GI/100 x available carbs per serving.)

For example, a typical medium-size apple has a glycemic index of 38 and contains 15 grams of available carbohydrate. Therefore, its glycemic load is 38÷ 100 × 15 = 6. If you are hungry, and the apples are particularly crispy, juicy, and delicious, and you eat two, the overall glycemic load of this snack is 12. If you have three, it’s 18.

One unit of glycemic load is equivalent to 1 gram of pure glucose. High GL foods and beverages have a GL value of 20 and above; medium GL foods and beverages have a GL value between 11 and 19; and low GL foods and beverages have a GL value of 10 and under.

What does this all mean for our health and wellbeing? The higher the glycemic load of a food or meal, the more insulin your pancreas needs to produce to drive the glucose into your cells. When we are young, our pancreas is able to produce enough insulin to cover the requirements of high-glycemic load foods and meals, but as we get older, it may no longer be able to cope with higher insulin requirements. This is when type 2 diabetes and other “lifestyle” diseases can start to develop.

In population studies, the GL simultaneously assesses the effect of available carbohydrate and GI on the risk of type 2 diabetes. GI and GL are calculated for the whole diet and adjusted for energy (kilojoules or calories) to help reduce confounding (e.g., the larger a person the more energy they require to maintain their body weight). Around the world, the average adult consumes around 2000 calories (8400 kilojoules) each day, so this is commonly used as the standard comparator.

The most recent systematic review and meta-analysis of population studies found that people consuming a diet with an average GI of 76 have an 87% higher risk of developing diabetes than people consuming a diet with an average dietary GI of 48. The simplest way to reduce average dietary GI is to replace high GI foods and beverages with lower GI alternatives within a particular food group.

Swap it
Similarly, the recent systematic review and meta-analysis found people consuming a diet with a GL of 257g per 2000 calories have an 89% higher risk of developing diabetes than people consuming a diet with a GL of 73g per 2000 calories.

Because GL is the product of GI and available carbohydrate, you can reduce it by either consuming a low GI diet (e.g., aim for an average GI less than 48), or by consuming less available carbohydrate (e.g., aim for between 130–230 grams per day if you consume 2000 calories (8400 kilojoules) per day), or both.

For example, for people who typically consume a relatively high carbohydrate diet (e.g., greater than 230g per day) with a high average GI (greater than 70), reduce average daily available carbohydrate intake to 165g and GI to 45 for an average daily GL of 74g per 2000 calories, keeping type 2 diabetes risk to a minimum. An example meal plan could look something like this:

Low GL meal plan

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.

GOOD CARBS FOOD FACTS

CAULIFLOWER – THE ROCK STAR VEGETABLE 
Was it the rock-star chef Yotam Ottolenghi, or was it cauliflower rice that has created such an aura around this humble brassica vegetable? I’m going with Ottolenghi says dietitian Nicole Senior. Why? Because he’s all about deliciousness and flavour and a food culture that has lasted for ages and not a fad that has tarnished the name of all carbohydrates. And there are so many more delicious ways to enjoy cauliflower than smashing it to smithereens and imagining (very hard) that its potato.

CAULIFLOWER

Cauliflower is having its moment in the sun. It was never really in the shade as it has been trundling along for years in the form of cauliflower cheese (what’s not to love?), but since Ottolenghi made vegetables cool again and showed us how to cook them in delightful ways, cauli’s reputation has ramped up a notch or three. From a new take on cauliflower cheese with mustard, cumin and curry, a gorgeous salad with pomegranate and pistachios, a warming side dish with coconut cream and chilli, or cauliflower “steaks” with Middle Eastern Spices, Ottolenghi has indeed written the book on how to make this sculptural looking vegetable into something marvellous and irresistible.

There are many more beautiful recipes but my absolute go-to weeknight fast and simple approach is to cut a whole cauliflower into four quarters right down the stem, dress with crushed garlic and olive oil and roast until tender (I stick it in the BBQ but a hot oven will do just as well). It is simply divine and I can potter about doing the other bits of the meal while it takes very good care of itself. Equally, you could throw it into a roast vegetable medley and it will make beautiful mouth-music with other veggies who like the lick of fire such as potato, pumpkin (squash), eggplant (aubergine), capsicum (sweet pepper), carrot and parsnip.

What makes all this cooking talk even more appealing is learning just how good is it for your health. Cauliflower, like other vegetables in the brassica family (also called cruciferous vegetables because of their cross shaped flowers), contain phytochemicals called flavonoids and glucosinolates that help support your immune system and may even reduce cancer risk. It is also rich in vitamin C for healthy gums, folate for a healthy heart, vitamin K for controlling inflammation and fibre for good digestive health. And having high water content and rich flavour while also being low in kilojoules, it helps fill you up without filling you out.

CAULIFLOWER

And just when you thought we’d thought of everything to do with cauliflower, some smarty pants in the Australian horticultural industry thinks up the seemingly unthinkable – the cauliflower latte. From the “what-will-they-think-of-next” basket, comes an experimental milky coffee with 7g of cauliflower powder per cup that was served up to delegates at a horticultural industry conference. The baristas couldn’t keep up with demand! The word is it added a creamy texture and took the bitter edge off the coffee. The idea behind it is to use up otherwise wasted fresh cauliflower by transforming it into a dry powder. The powder could also be used in a range of other foods such as bread and improve vegetable intake as well as reduce food waste. I thoroughly approve both these concepts but I can’t help thinking if we all cooked cauli like Ottolenghi, we’d gobble up all the fresh cauliflower there is going and there’d be no waste whatsoever.

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.

THE GOOD CARBS KITCHEN

CRISPY CAULIFLOWER WITH BUCKWHEAT AND PINENUTS 
0:10 Prep • 0: 30 Cook • 6 Servings • Easy

CRISPY CAULIFLOWER WITH BUCKWHEAT AND PINENUTS
1 medium cauliflower
2 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt flakes
¾ cup raw buckwheat groats, rinsed
⅔ cup medium pitted black olives, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons salted capers, rinsed and drained
3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
2 tablespoons currants

Dressing
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 handful parsley, chopped
⅓ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
sea salt flakes and freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F (fan 170°C/325°F). Line a baking tray with baking paper. • Rinse the cauliflower and cut through the thick core into quarters. Cut each quarter into thick slices and put into a bowl. If you prefer, cut them into large florets. Pour over the oil, sprinkle with a little salt and toss. Arrange the cauliflower on the tray and roast for 20–25 minutes, or until crispy and slightly charred. Set aside to cool. • While the cauliflower is roasting, bring a pot of water to the boil, tip in the buckwheat and simmer for 8–10 minutes, or until al dente. Drain, rinse and leave to cool to room temperature. • Whisk together the dressing ingredients, adding salt and pepper to taste, to make a chunky thick dressing. Watch the amount of salt you use, as both the capers and olives will provide a briny tang. • Put the cauliflower, buckwheat, olives, capers, pine nuts and currants in a bowl. Pour over the dressing and lightly tumble together. Serve at room temperature.

NUTRITION
Per serve 1505kJ/ 360 calories; 6g protein; 27g fat (includes 3.5g saturated fat; saturated : unsaturated fat ratio 0.15); 21g available carbs (includes 5.5g sugars and 15.5g starches); 5.5g fibre; 255mg sodium; 505mg potassium; sodium : potassium ratio 0.5.

RECIPE
The Good Carbs Cookbook, Murdoch Books.

The Good Carbs Cookbook  

POTATO AND CAULIFLOWER MASALA DOSA
0:20 Prep • 0: 30 Cook • 6 Servings • Spice night

POTATO AND CAULIFLOWER MASALA DOSA
Masala 
300g (10oz) potatoes, cut into 3 cm (1¼in) cubes
350g (12oz) cauliflower, cut into small florets
2 tablespoons curry leaves, plus extra to serve
olive oil spray
1 brown onion, sliced
2 long green chillies, sliced, plus extra to serve
30g (1oz) piece fresh ginger, finely grated
2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
coriander (cilantro) sprigs, to serve
150g (5½oz) reduced-fat plain yoghurt

Dosa 
½ cup chickpea flour (besan)
½ cup wholemeal (wholewheat) flour
¼ cup rice flour
1 small handful coriander (cilantro), finely chopped
olive oil spray

To make the masala: Put the potatoes in a saucepan of water and bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and cook for 8 minutes. Add the cauliflower and cook for a further 2–3 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender and the potatoes are soft when tested with a knife. Drain the vegetables and set aside. • Lightly spray the extra curry leaves with olive oil. Cook in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat for 1–2 minutes or until crisp. Remove from the pan and set aside. • Spray the frying pan with olive oil and place over medium heat. Cook the onion, stirring, for 2–3 minutes or until softened. Add the chillies, curry leaves, ginger, mustard seeds, cumin seeds and turmeric. Cook, stirring, for 2–3 minutes or until aromatic. Add the potatoes, cauliflower and ¼ cup water. Stir for 1 minute or until the mixture is combined and the potatoes are slightly mashed. Cover and keep warm while you cook the dosa.

To make the dosa: Combine the flours with 1¼ cups water and whisk to make a runny batter. Stir in the coriander. Spray a large frying pan with olive oil and place over medium heat. Add one-quarter of the batter to the pan, tilting and swirling to make a thin round. Cook for 2 minutes, then turn over and cook for 1 minute or until golden. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining batter to make four dosa in total.

To serve: Divide the potato mixture among the dosa, fold over and top with the yoghurt, coriander sprigs, chilli and fried curry leaves. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and serve.

NUTRITION
Per serving Energy 1225kJ/290 cals; protein 13g; fat 4g (includes 1g saturated fat; saturated : unsaturated fat ratio 0.33); carbohydrate 48g (includes 9g sugars and 39g starches); 8g fibre; 50mg sodium; 1070mg potassium; sodium : potassium ratio 0.05.

RECIPE
Dr Alan Barclay, Reversing Diabetes, Murdoch Books.

Reversing Diabetes  

POTATO SALAD WITH RED ONION 
0:10 Prep • 0:15 Cook • 6 Servings • Easy

POTATO SALAD WITH RED ONION
Photo: @megannevans.photography

INGREDIENTS
1kg (2lb 2oz) GiLicious™ potatoes,
¼ cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
½ medium red onion, cut into 2cm (¾in) pieces or finely diced if preferred
1 cup Italian parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste

METHOD
Place potatoes in a saucepan of salted boiling water and cook until just tender. Drain potatoes and place in a bowl. • Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice and vinegar in a separate bowl. Add dressing to the warm potatoes, together with the finely sliced or diced red onion and chopped parsley, and toss well. • Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve warm or cold.

NUTRITION
Per serving Energy 725kJ/174 cals; Protein 4.9g; Fat 9.8g (includes 1.5g saturated fat; saturated : unsaturated fat ratio 0.18); Carbohydrate 18.5g (3.5g sugars, 15g starch), Fibre 4g; Sodium 221mg; Potassium 971mg (sodium : potassium ratio 0.23)

RECIPE
Gilicious

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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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© ®™ The University of Sydney, Australia

1 August 2019

GI News - August 2019

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

GOOD CARBS: THE ORIGINAL PLANT-BASED DIET
In some quarters, carbs get an undeserved bad rap. But students of human evolution know that dietary carbohydrates (fruits, berries and tubers) played an instrumental role throughout our long 3-million-year journey from a small upright walking ape (Lucy, Australopithicus afarensis) to the tall, smooth-skinned creature with a very large brain who can perform high level maths as well as prolonged strenuous marathons (Homo sapiens sapiens). You could say we evolved eating the original plant-based diet. The challenge today however, is to ensure we consume the high-quality carbs similar to the ones our ancestors ate that are digested at a rate that our bodies can accommodate, preventing burnout of our insulin-producing machinery. In Food for Thought, we answer some of the questions we are asked about the high-quality carbs we like to call “good carbs”. 

Good carbs
WHAT DO CARBS DO? Our brains, nervous system, red blood cells, kidneys and muscles during exercise prefer carbs as their energy source. Carbs also give our cells structure, form part of our genes and play a part in the function of some proteins. Did you know that glucose powers the growth of a healthy human fetus born with substantially more body fat than any other primate.

WHAT ARE CARBS? Carbohydrates are made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, so you can see where the name comes from. You may recall seeing it written up in your high school science books as CHO. For example, the chemical formula for glucose is C6H12O6 which stands for six carbon atoms and six water molecules (H2O = one water molecule; six water molecules = H2O x 6).

All plant foods contain carbs to a greater or lesser extent—fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains and nuts—as do milk and yoghurt, but not most cheeses (the whey is drained away so it is just protein and fat).

WHAT ARE GOOD CARBS? These are the plant foods the natural world has provided for us: fruits and berries, vegetables, beans, peas, lentils, seeds, nuts, and grains and the traditional staple foods and dishes we make from them such as noodles, pasta and grainy, seedy breads.

WHAT ABOUT MILK? Dairy foods such as regular milk and yoghurt are good carbs too. And let’s not forget mother’s milk which provides the perfect mix of carbs, fat, protein, vitamins and minerals for our 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. Human milk has one of the highest concentrations of lactose of any mammal coming in at around 7 grams of lactose per 100 millilitres (3½ fluid ounces) which in household measures is little over ⅓ cup. It contains almost 50% more than 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. Mother’s milk also contains special carbs called oligosaccharides (think of them as prebiotics), which friendly bacteria in the large intestine chomp on to thrive.

WHAT’S SO GOOD ABOUT GOOD CARBS? They are sustaining and sustainable foods that come with a swag of micronutrients we need for good health including vitamins B, C and E; minerals such as magnesium, potassium and calcium and antioxidants including the carotenoids that play a protective role in eye health. Dan Buettner’s Blue Zones studies provide compelling evidence that dietary patterns that are rich in good carbs and dietary fibre reduce the risk of weight gain, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and certain kinds of cancer, like colorectal cancer.

HOW MUCH CARBOHYDRATE DO WE NEED? Our diet is not limited to One Size Fits All. You only have to look around the world to see that there are very different dietary patterns with very different fuel mixes associated with good health and long life. Traditional Mediterranean and Japanese diets which are both linked with a long and healthy life couldn’t be more different. The Mediterranean diet is relatively high in fats and tends to be rather moderate in carbs. The Japanese diet, like most Asian diets, is high in carbs and low in fats. What they have in common and what seems to matter most is that they are based on good, wholesome foods and ingredients. Mostly plants.

WHAT ABOUT BLOOD GLUCOSE? When we eat carb-rich foods, our bodies convert their sugars and/or starches into glucose during digestion. However, our bodies do this at very different rates and this is where using the glycemic index (GI) helps us make better choices for long-term health and wellbeing. The GI is particularly useful for people who need to manage their blood glucose levels (BGLs). Think of it as a carbo speedo that gives us an idea how quickly our bodies will digest particular carb foods and how fast and high our BGL is then likely to rise.

Research around the world over the past forty years shows that switching to eating mainly low GI carbs throughout the day that will trickle glucose into our bloodstream and lower our day-long blood glucose and insulin levels helping us:

  • Manage our appetite because we will feel fuller for longer 
  • Minimise our body fat 
  • Maximise our muscle mass 
  • Decrease our risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. 
IS RESISTANT STARCH A GOOD CARB? It is starch that resists digestion and absorption in the small intestine and zips through to the large intestine largely intact to be fermented into short chain fatty acids, like acetate, propionate and butyrate by those good gut bacteria we have down there. Research in recent years suggests it may well be as important as fibre in helping reduce the risk of colorectal cancer, so it has a lot of fans. It’s found naturally in unprocessed cereals and whole grains, firm (unripe) bananas, beans and lentils. But you can create it in your own kitchen too when you make potato salad, rice salad or pasta salad—starchy foods that you cook and then cool. The same goes for old-fashioned oatmeal if you cook up a pot one day and reheat individual portions the next.

Read More:

WHAT’S NEW?

THE HUMBLE GLYCEMIC INDEX MARKS GLOBAL DIABETES RISK

ConscienHealth’s Ted Kyle reports on a systematic review and meta-analysis of glycemic index, glycemic load, and type 2 diabetes risk published in Nutrients by an impressive global group of nutrition scientists. Their conclusions are simple and powerful he says. Glycemic index and glycemic load are important markers of food quality. In fact they do an excellent job of predicting type 2 diabetes risk for individuals and for the population.

GI
Almost 40 years ago, David Jenkins published the first paper to propose that the glycemic index of foods might be an important measure of nutrition quality. Back then, dietary guidance pointed to a low-fat panacea. Research continued quietly on the glycemic index. The pendulum swung from fear of fats to carbophobia. Sugar is the villain of the day now. But maybe the time has come for the glycemic index to bring a bit more objectivity.

Perhaps some of the energy that goes into vilifying carbs, sugar, soda, and other dietary goblins would be better spent directing people toward better carbs. “Don’t” has never been an especially effective tool for behavior modification.

Senior author on this new paper, Jennie Brand-Miller, explains the appeal of the glycemic index: “I liked the fact that it turned traditional nutritional science upside down. The old wisdoms were that sugars were bad and starches were good, but the GI showed some starches, such as potatoes, converted to glucose far quicker than some sugars. What appealed most was that GI intuitively made sense. We all talk about needing a sugar hit or having a sugar low, and this provided an explanation. It provided a way in to explore how foods can affect not just our physical health, but our moods as well.”

And now we know that glycemic index is a good marker for how changes in the food supply are driving an increased type 2 diabetes risk. Maybe now we can move from the narrow focus on macronutrients to a broader view of dietary quality. It looks like paying attention to this humble index might help.

Read more:

WHAT’S HOT?

PLANT-BASED BURGERS
A recent post in Refinery29 (“a modern woman's destination for how to live a stylish, well-rounded life”) says “grilling up a good time doesn't have to mean meat-based burgers for all. In fact, these days there are a lot of meatless burger alternatives on the market. From veggie and plant protein patties to quinoa and bean-based, non-meat eaters have plenty of options when it comes to grilling out.” Their reporter found that some people looked for trad veggie burgers, while others want burgers to taste as much like real meat as possible.

Vege burger
Meat substitutes are certainly having a moment in the sun. Writing for the New York Times, Timothy Egan says “fake meat will save us.”

PR like that is an agency’s dream come true says ConscienHealth’s Ted Kyle. So, it’s no wonder that Beyond Meat was “going bananas” with a 550 percent surge in its stock price after a very successful IPO. Its rival, Impossible Foods, can’t keep up with demand for its Impossible Burger. That’s good news for farmers who can’t sell their soybeans – a typical plant-based protein source. Suddenly, pea protein is hot. Prices for this humble legume are rising, even though soybean prices are depressed. The biggest meat processor in the U.S., Tyson Foods, is jumping in to build a billion-dollar brand with half-pea, half-beef burgers. Kellogg is supposedly sitting on a goldmine with its Morningstar Farms brand for fake meat.

Kyle asks if PR spin is tapping into foodie moralism to make this highly processed food seem like a healthy choice? Yes, indeed, he says. We need to move toward a more sustainable diet that won’t destroy the planet he says. Fake burgers, though? It’s unlikely they’ll give us a healthier diet. Maybe it’s time to remind ourselves of Michael Pollan’s top tip: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” By food Pollan means fruit, vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds, seafood, poultry and meat and to avoid what he calls “edible food-like substances.”

Read more:

PRODUCT REVIEW

BURGERS

Since everyone seems to be talking (and eating) burgers, we thought it would be interesting to compare a regular lean beef patty that just contains lean beef, with a meatless patty (we chose the top-seller Beyond Meat Beyond Burger™) and a homemade chickpea patty (the recipe is from The Low GI Vegetarian Cookbook). The nutrition information here is for the patty alone.

Burger

LEAN BEEF PATTY
Ingredients: Lean minced beef.

LEAN BEEF PATTY

BEYOND MEAT BEYOND BURGER
Ingredients: Water, Pea Protein Isolate*, Expeller-Pressed Canola Oil, Refined Coconut Oil, Rice Protein, Natural Flavors, Cocoa Butter, Mung Bean Protein, Methylcellulose, Potato Starch, Apple Extract, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Vinegar, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Sunflower Lecithin, Pomegranate Fruit Powder, Beet Juice Extract (for color).

(*Peas are legumes. People with severe allergies to legumes like peanuts should be cautious when introducing pea protein into their diet because of the possibility of a pea allergy. Our products do not contain peanuts or tree nuts.)

Vege PATTY

CHICKPEA PATTY
Ingredients: 400g (14oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained, 1½ tablespoons olive oil, 1 onion, finely chopped, 1 garlic clove, crushed, 1 tablespoon mild Indian curry paste, 1 zucchini, grated, 110g (4oz/1½ cups) firmly packed fresh wholegrain breadcrumbs, 1 tablespoon freshly chopped coriander, 1 egg, lightly beaten, Wholemeal plain flour, to dust. Serves 4.

Vege PATTY  
Read more: