1 November 2005

Feedback—Your FAQs Answered

I'm a very keen cook. Here's one burning question for me: what about flour? If I make my own bread (or dumplings, pancakes, muffins etc) which flours, if any, are low GI? There's some implication in the book that chickpea flour (baisen) is low GI. How about soy flour? Wholemeal flour probably isn't any better than white, judging by the results on commercial breads ...

To date there are no GI ratings for refined flour whether it’s made from wheat, soy or other grains. This is because The GI rating of a food must be tested physiologically that is in real people. So far we haven’t had volunteers willing to tuck into 50 gram portions of flour on three occasions! What we do know, however, is that bakery products such as scones, cakes, biscuits, donuts and pastries made from highly refined flour whether it’s white or wholemeal are quickly digested and absorbed.

What should you do with your own baking? Try to increase the soluble fibre content by partially substituting flour with oat bran, rice bran or rolled oats and increase the bulkiness of the product with dried fruit, nuts, muesli, All-Bran or unprocessed bran. Don’t think of it as a challenge. It’s an opportunity for some creative cooking. Here’s how we reduced the overall GI of our baking in The Low GI Diet Cookbook.

  • These low GI ‘Cherry Oat Crunchies’ are made with fruit, nuts, oats and bran flakes. Just two delicious cookies will give you 2 grams of fibre. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Lightly spray two baking trays with olive oil. Put 55 grams (2 oz) soft brown sugar, 90 grams (3 oz) pure floral honey, 125 grams (4½ oz) reduced fat margarine or butter, 2 eggs, ½ teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda and 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence in a large mixing bowl. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Fold in 150 grams (5½ oz) wholemeal flour, 200 grams (7 oz) rolled oats, 90 grams (3 oz) chopped dried apricots, 60 grams (2 oz) roughly chopped walnuts, 80 grams (2¾ oz) bran flakes cereal, crushed. Mix thoroughly. Drop spoonfuls of the mixture onto the prepared baking trays, spacing them about 5 cm (2 inches) apart. Bake for 15 minutes, or until light brown. Leave for 5 minutes before lifting off the tray and placing on a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container. Makes 42.
  • To make low GI ‘Buckwheat and Buttermilk Pancakes with Berries’, combine 130 grams (4 1/2 oz) buckwheat flour, 35 grams (1¼ oz) wholemeal flour, 1½ teaspoons baking powder and 2 tablespoons of raw (demerara) sugar in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in 2 lightly beaten eggs, 250 ml (9 fl oz) buttermilk and 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence and whisk until smooth. Add a little more milk if the pancake batter is too thick. Heat a frying pan over medium heat and lightly spray with olive oil. Pour 60 ml (2 fl oz) of the mixture into the pan and cook for 1–2 minutes each side, or until the pancakes are golden and cooked. Repeat with the remaining mixture. Top the pancakes with a spoonful of yoghurt

Photo: Ian Hofstetter, The Low GI Cookbook, Buckwheat Pancakes

And remember, you don’t have to avoid all high GI foods. While you will benefit from eating low GI carbs at each meal, this doesn't have to be at the exclusion of all others.’ So enjoy baking your own bread or occasional treats. And if you combine high GI bakery products with protein foods and low GI carbs such as fruit or legumes, the overall GI value will be medium.


Anonymous said...

I have just discovered your meal planner download - it will be really useful - thanks

Regarding vinegar with food - would pickled vegetables have that effect? what about lemon juice?
I love having Japanese raw fish and pickled radish and ginger before dinner - Also fish marinated in lemon juice. Arrange these on sliced cucumber -it cuts the appetite and maybe there is additional benefit?

Anonymous said...

The addition of acid to a carb rich meal has been shown to lower the GI by up to 30%. It's thought to work by slowing stomach emptying which reduces the rate of digestion. In the studies referred to lemon juice and red wine vinegar were observed to have the greatest effects (eaten as a salad dressing with a meal of bread). Yoghurt and sourdough breads are other foods where the acidity is believed to account for a lower GI. Therefore its quite likely that your pickled vegetables (in vinegar) and fish marinated in lemon juice will lower the GI of the carbohydrate in your meal.

Anonymous said...

Mmm, those pancakes sound really great.

I'm the one who posted the question - thanks for the answer. I like the idea of adding thhe Allbran - should work well with muffins.

Here's something I made recently:
Blueberry muffins
1 cup each of white, wholemeal and soy flour: use self-raising or add baking powder to equivalent.
1/4 cup fructose (from Woolworths!)
1 box frozen blueberries (I think 400g).

Beat together 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 tblsp sunflower oil, 1.5 cups light milk, 1 egg.

Pour over dry ingredients; mix lightly; pop into muffin pans (1 doz); bake at 180 for about 25 mins.

Eat them hot from the oven and you don't notice that they're low in fat. Most muffin recipes use more oils/butter, and I agree that's necessary if you're eating them cold.

Cath L.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the Blueberry Muffin recipe and the comment earlier on pomegranate molasses.

Anonymous said...


I have been watching the website and checking foods that I eat in the data base to see what the GI is. Its been very useful. Today I had a delicious vegetarian seitan goulash from our local co-op. However, I can't find any listing for seitan in the database. Can you comment on if it is a low GI food?