1 December 2005

GI News—December 2005

GI News

In This Issue:

  • Energy to Burn for the Festive Season
  • Children’s Growth Rate May Predict Future Problems
  • You Can Enjoy a Pre-dinner Drink
  • Potato Salad Anyone?
  • A Matter of Endurance
  • Vegans Lost Weight without Feeling Hungry
  • Snack Bars
  • Pears
  • Garlic Prawns, Red Capsicum and Coriander (Cilantro) Pasta

  • Susie, ‘43, but feeling like 29!’
  • 2006 Shopper’s Guide to GI Values
  • We use a lot sprouted breads and cannot find them in your database or books. Can you give us some information on how or if this affects GI numbers?
  • Create an RSS News Feed for GI News
NEW FEATURE—YOUR SUCCESS STORIES: We receive a great deal of feedback from readers and visitors to our website about how a low GI diet has made a real difference to their lives along with some inspiring weight loss and blood glucose control stories. So, this month we are introducing a new feature: ‘Your Success Stories’ to share these stories with you. Each month from now on we will run one ‘success’ story in GI News. The stories will then be archived at glycemicindex.com for ready reference. If you feel you have a story that will inspire or help others and you are prepared to give permission for it to be published in GI News, please send it to us HERE with your name and a contact email address. We would like to thank Susie for volunteering to be our first contributor.

Your QUESTIONS answered. If you have posted a question in our newsletter, be assured that the GI Group will answer this as soon as possible. We welcome views about our articles and readers’ suggestions.

To PRINT ONE ARTICLE (ie. the recipe from the newsletter), simply click on the recipe or article name in the right-hand column under PREVIOUS POSTS. You will arrive at the page you have chosen. Select PRINT and you will find that you can print just the information you want.

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‘Aim for at least one smart low GI carb per meal.’

Jennie Brand-Miller
Jennie Brand-Miller

Food for Thought

Energy to Burn for the Festive Season
For the right fuel, fitness and stamina to make it through the non-stop demands of the festive season, try these energy-boosting tips.

Make breakfast a priority Fire up your engine with low GI carbs. A good breakfast recharges your brain, speeds up your metabolism after an overnight fast, and reduces those feelings of stress.

Don't skip meals Take a break to refuel at lunch time to maintain energy levels right through the afternoon. Hold back on the high GI carbs to minimise that post-lunch energy dip. And take time over one main meal every day to make sure you aren’t missing out on the vital vegetables you need.

Build your meals around low GI carbs For day-long (and night-long) energy, fuel your body with low GI carbs. Whether it’s a home-cooked meal or you are eating out, pick the 1, 2, 3 meal planner:
1. Start with a low GI carb
2. Add some lean protein
3. Plus a generous serving of vegetables


Pace yourself Eating and drinking in moderation will help you pace yourself on the social merry-go-round. If you are planning a big night out, don’t starve yourself beforehand. All that does is reduce your metabolic rate. Have a light breakfast and lunch, and before you head off to the party tuck into a quick and easy low GI snack such as a sandwich made with grainy bread and a glass of low fat milk or a tub of low-fat yoghurt and a dollop of fruit.

Be discerning with drinks Make water your first choice. Ask for some routinely, chances are you’ll drink it if it’s in front of you. Go easy on the sugary drinks (they tend to bypass satiety mechanisms) and drink no more than one to three glasses of alcohol.

Move it Cut stress in its tracks. Exercise helps to relieve stress (it releases the ‘feel good’ chemicals that negate energy and stress) and keeps your body strong. Get on your bike or into your joggers and get that heart rate pumping for at least 20 minutes a day.

Sleep tight Sleep sustains you when you are out and about night after night. Get seven or eight hours of sleep a night if you can. Plan for it. Make a date with yourself in your diary to catch up on some sleep.


GI News Briefs

Children’s Growth Rate May Predict Future Problems
Rapid weight gain after two years of age may be creating insulin resistant adults according to a study by Prof David Barker and his colleagues from Oregon Health and Science University (US), and the University of Southampton (UK) reported in the 27 October 2005 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. ‘Our research shows that it is the rate of weight gain, not the degree of fatness at any one time, which is the main predictor of future problems,’ said Barker. According to Barker, slow early development and under-nutrition in the womb may program a ‘thrifty’ metabolism, which includes insulin resistance that becomes inappropriate with adequate or excess nutrition in childhood.

The researchers looked at detailed height and weight records for 8,760 people who were born in Finland between 1934 and 1944. The group’s growth had been closely tracked from birth to age 11. When the researchers then checked out hospital records, they found that 357 men, and 87 women from the group had been treated for or died from coronary heart disease. On average, those who had a coronary event had been small babies and tiny two-year-olds and thereafter put on weight rapidly to catch up to the average size of their age group by 11. The risk of coronary events was more strongly related to the rate (tempo) of childhood gain in body mass index (BMI) than to the BMI attained at any particular age. The researchers worked closely with Prof Johan Eriksson in Finland whose team examined 2003 of the group alive today, checking their glucose, insulin and cholesterol levels. The smallest babies and 2-year-olds tended to have higher blood pressure and levels of fasting blood sugar and insulin as adults.

The researchers say that the findings are likely a result of the impact of early weight gain on long-term insulin processing. Barker thinks the risk from this change in size is connected to body composition. ‘All children gain muscle as they grow. But a child's ratio of muscle to body weight is largely set by age two, barring serious exercise,’ he said. ‘So small children who catch up to average weight adding fat, ending up with a higher fat-to-muscle ratio that predisposes to diabetes and heart vessel disease.’
New England Journal of Medicine 2005;353:1802–9

You Can Enjoy a Pre-dinner Drink
Many studies have linked moderate alcohol consumption (that’s 1, 2 or 3 drinks a day, depending on your gender and weight) with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. The question is ‘why’? Clinical trials have shown that alcoholic beverages, irrespective of type, increase your HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol levels as well as improve insulin sensitivity. There may be other mechanisms operating according to a paper presented at Nutrition Society of Australia. Researchers Kaniz Fatima and Chris Middlemiss from the School of Human Nutrition at the University of Sydney found that a pre-dinner drink (beer, wine and gin were used in the study) tends to reduce the blood-sugar response to the next meal. In three separate studies, 38 healthy, young, lean people drank two standard glasses of beer, or wine, or gin and tonic or water about an hour before eating then their blood glucose and insulin levels were measured. The researchers found the alcohol seemed to produce a ‘priming’ effect, kicking off the metabolism process and keeping blood-sugar levels low. ‘Realistic amounts of beer, wine or gin reduce postprandial glycemia but not insulinemia’ say the researchers in their conclusion. ‘This effect applies to drinks consumed alone in lieu of a starchy snack, or simultaneously with a meal, or as a pre-dinner cocktail.’
Nutrition Society of Australia, November 2005


Potato Salad Anyone?
Boiled, mashed, steamed or fried, just about everybody loves potatoes. Unfortunately, a low GI variety of potato is hard to come by. The good news for potato lovers is that a potato salad made the day before with a vinegary vinaigrette dressing and kept in the fridge can lower the GI. Margareta Leeman and her colleagues at the University of Lund in Sweden in their report in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition say that compared with freshly boiled potatoes, the GI of boiled cold-stored potatoes with vinaigrette, were reduced by 43 per cent. For the study, 13 healthy volunteers tucked into freshly boiled potatoes; boiled and cold-stored potatoes (8o°C for 24 hours); and boiled and cold-stored potatoes tossed in a vinaigrette dressing. (The dressing was made with 8 grams of olive oil and 28 grams of white vinegar at 6 per cent acetic acid.) All meals contained 50 grams available carbohydrate and were served at breakfast time after an overnight fast. Cold storage increased the potatoes’ resistant starch content from 3.3 to 5.2 per cent.
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, (2005) 59, 1266–1271

potato salad

A Matter of Endurance
Athletes commonly consume high carb foods or drinks after exercise to replace their muscle glycogen stores as rapidly as possible—especially when they are training and competing on consecutive days. Dr Emma Stevenson and the Sport and Exercise Nutrition Research Group at Loughborough University compared the effects of high and low GI carbohydrate recovery diets in the 24 hours following prolonged heavy exercise. Nine active male athletes took part in two trials. On the first day they ran for 90 minutes at 70% VO2 max and then ate either a high or low GI recovery meal which provided them with 8 grams of carbohydrate per body mass. The next day after an overnight fast they ran to exhaustion. ‘The results of the present study show the consumption of a low GI diet in the 24 hours following prolonged running increased endurance capacity the next day beyond that which was achieved following the consumption of a high GI carbohydrate recovery diet. A higher rate of fat oxidation throughout the run to exhaustion in the low GI trial is a possible explanation for this increased endurance capacity,’ concludes the research team. Stevenson told GI News: ‘When the recovery period between exercise sessions is a day or more, low GI carbs may be just as effective for optimal recovery as high GI carbs and they will also promote the burning of fat as fuel as you exercise.’
International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 2005, 15, 333–349


Vegans Lost Weight without Feeling Hungry
A high carb, low fat, vegan diet with no limit on portion size proved as effective as a 1200 cal a day reduced energy diet according to a study reported in the September issue of The American Journal of Medicine. Dr Neal Barnard, President of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine with colleagues from Georgetown University Hospital and George Washington University conducted the study involving 59 overweight, postmenopausal women. ‘The study participants enjoyed unlimited servings of fruit, vegetables, whole grains and other healthful foods that enabled them to lose weight without ever feeling hungry,’ said Barnard. Animal products, added oils, avocados, nuts, nut butters and seeds were proscribed. The control group’s diet was based on (US) National Cholesterol Program guidelines. During the 14-week study, there were no limits on portion sizes and the women were asked not to alter their normal exercise patterns. They were given detailed nutrition guidelines for preparing their own meals or eating out and they attended weekly hour-long meetings with a physician and dietitian that included cooking instruction. ‘The low-fat, vegan diet was associated with significant weight reduction along with improvements in measure of glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity … longer-term trials will determine the sustainability of the intervention diet’ concludes the report. For a copy of the paper, contact jeannem@pcrm.org
The American Journal of Medicine

GI Group says: Competition is fierce in the race between the advocates of high protein versus vegetarian diets for weight loss. It’s clear that there’s more than one good diet. Humans can derive food energy in multiple ways and still be healthy specimens. The trick is to find a healthy diet that you can live with over the long term. For some, that will be high in lean animal proteins, for others it will be high in plant foods. Either way, low GI carbs are the way to go.

GI Values Update

Snack Bars
Healthy snack bars can be convenient and portable snacks for children (think lunch boxes or sport) and adults alike. And they definitely suit today’s busy, time-pressed, eating-on-the-go/in-the-car lifestyle. So, which one to choose? It pays to be fussy and check the nutrition panel as some are very high in fat. To give you an idea what to look for when choosing a snack bar, here’s the GI Symbol Program criteria:
FAT: less than total fat 5 grams per 100g or 5–10 grams per 100 grams if saturated fat is less than 20 per cent of the total fat
SODIUM: less than 400 mg per 100 grams
DIETARY FIBRE: more than 3 grams per 100 grams
CARBOHYDRATE: 35 grams per serve
ENERGY: less than 1500 kJ/357 Cal per 100 grams or les than 500 kJ/119 Cal per serve

Here are some products we know have a low GI that you can find on your supermarket shelves.

In Australia
Sunripe School straps are 100 per cent dried fruit bars
Sunripe School Straps Strawberry GI 40
Sunripe School Straps Wildberry GI 40
Sunripe School Straps Go Fruits GI 40
Sunripe School Straps Blackcurrant Sour Buzz GI 35

In Canada and USA
Solo GI Nutrition bars are specially formulated low GI snack bars. For more information, check out www.solo-gi.com
Solo GI Nutrition Chocolate charger Nutrition Bar GI 28
Solo GI Nutrition Berry Bliss Bar GI 22
Solo GI Nutrition Peanut Power Nutrition Bar GI 27
Solo GI Nutrition Mint Mania Nutrition Bar GI 23

For more details on snack bars, check out the database at www.glycemicindex.com or The New Glucose Revolution 2006 Shopper’s Guide to GI Values.

Granola Bars
For something seriously sustaining, try these low GI granola bars. The recipe is from The New Glucose Revolution.


Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 14–20 minutes
Makes 12 bars

½ cup (75 g) wholemeal (whole-wheat) flour
½ cup (75 g) self-rising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon mixed spice
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1½ cups (135 g) rolled oats
1 cup (150 g) dried-fruit medley or dried fruit of choice, chopped
¼ cup (35 g) sunflower seed kernels
½ cup (125 ml) apple juice
¼ cup (60 ml) oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 egg whites, lightly beaten

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F)
2. Line a 20 cm x 30 cm (8 in x 2in) baking pan with parchment paper.
3. Sift the flours, baking powder, and spices into a large bowl. Stir in the oats, fruit, and seeds and stir to combine.
4. Add the apple juice, oil, and whole egg; mix well. Gently mix in the egg whites until combined.
5. Press the mixture evenly into the prepared pan and press firmly with the back of a spoon. Mark the surface into 12 bars using a sharp knife.
6. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned.
7. Leave to cool in the pan then cut into bars and store in a sealed cookie container.

Per bar
KJ/Cal 590/140, carbohydrate15 g, fat 8 g, fibre 3 g

Low GI Food of the Month

… And a Partridge in a Pear Tree
Juicy, sweet pears (GI 38) are one of the world’s most loved fruits—they’ve been immortalised in poetry, paintings and a Christmas carol! They are renowned as a non-allergenic food, thus a favourite when introducing babies to solid foods. An excellent source of fibre and rich in vitamin C and potassium, fresh pears have a low GI because most of their sugar is fructose.

Photo: Ian Hofstetter, The Low GI Diet Cookbook

Canned pears in ‘natural juice’ also have a low GI (44) because the fructose remains in high concentration during processing. Single-serve tubs and cans are also available. Again, look for those in natural juice. Although they are often hard when you buy them, pears will ripen at room temperature in a few days. Pack a pear for lunch or to snack on during the day—there’s no need to peel as the skin is a good source of fibre.

  • Dip pear slices in lemon juice and serve with cheese and walnuts.
  • Toss in salads—try pear, avocado, rocket or radicchio and walnuts.
  • Poach or bake pears in a light citrus syrup, champagne and orange juice with a vanilla bean or in red wine with a touch of cardamom.
  • Simmer four pears, peeled and quartered in 4 cups (1 litre/1 quart) water with a cinnamon stick, 3 or 4 cloves and a strip or two of lemon rind for 20 minutes and serve with grilled, bakes or barbecued pork fillet.
  • Top a bowl of porridge with grilled pear slices and a drizzle of honey or some brown sugar.
—from Low GI Eating Made Easy

Low GI Recipe of the Month

Garlic Prawns, Red Capsicum and Coriander (Cilantro) Pasta
Lisa Lintner’s delicious recipe is a real crowd pleaser when entertaining family and friends—and it is a good source of omega-3 fats.

Serves 4
Preparation time: 8 minutes plus 10 minutes to marinate the prawns
Cooking time: 11 minutes

250 g/12 oz spinach fettuccine
500 g/1 lb green king prawns (giant tiger prawns), shelled and deveined (leaving heads and tails on if desired)
4 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1⁄4 cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large red or yellow peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
1⁄2 bunch fresh coriander (cilantro), coarsely chopped

1. Heat a large pot of salted water.
2. Preheat the grill to moderately high.
3. Toss the prawns with the sliced garlic and olive oil in a large bowl, and marinate for 10 minutes.
4. When water boils, add the pasta and cooked uncovered for about 11 minutes. Stir occasionally.
5. Grill the marinated prawns for 2 minutes, coating them with the marinade, until cooked.
6. Grind salt and freshly ground black pepper over the prawns.
7. Drain the pasta and toss in 1 teaspoon of olive oil.
8. On a large serving platter combine the pasta, prawns, capsicum (pepper) strips and chopped coriander (cilantro).
9. Serve hot with crusty low GI bread.

Per serving
kJ/Cal 1367/326 , protein 23 g, fat 11 g, carbohydrate 44 g, fibre 3 g

prawn pasta
Photo: Jennifer Soo, The New Glucose Revolution Life Plan

The recipes for The New Glucose Revolution Life Plan were specially created by Lisa Lintner who runs the Lisa Lintner Cooking School in Sydney (Australia)—specialising in creating low GI recipes with seasonal and locally sourced produce. The classes incorporate practical skills with tips for including low GI foods daily. Contact Lisa on 0412 800 880 or at lisalintner@bigpond.com for class programs and individual coaching.

The New Glucose Revolution Life Plan is published in:
Australia: Hachette Livre Australia (www.hachette.com.au/ngr.html)
New Zealand: (Hachette Livre New Zealand)
UK: Hodder Mobius
USA and Canada: Marlowe & Company

What's New?

Your Success Stories
Susie ‘43, but feeling like 29 now!’
June 2005: ‘I'd like to let you know that I purchased The Low GI Diet book three months ago, because I was diagnosed with pre-diabetes. I didn't know where to start or how to begin to plan my meals. With the help of your fabulous book I have managed to lose 1 stone (14 lb/6.3 kg) in weight. And of course the book has taken a lot of thinking out of planning meals. My husband also thinks its great and loves the recipes.’
October 2005: ‘I thought I'd give you an update as I emailed you in June, just to let know that I have now lost a total of 4 stone (56 lb/25.4 kg) in weight and am feeling so much better for it. I am at my target weight and have been for about two months now.'
November 2005: ‘I don't mind at all being your first true story, people like me needed a book like yours and it works. I did not feel like I was on a “diet” as such because I felt as though I was always eating. It took a bit of getting use to at first because I'm not a veggie person at all, but found using Balsamic vinegar with salads helped. And I did cheat with main meals by having gravy as I don't like dry food or veggies but I ate them. I guess if I had religiously stuck to the book I would probably be down to 9–9½ stone (126–133 lb/56.7–60 kg). But my weight has gone from nearly 14½ stone (203 lb/92 kg) to 10 stone (140 lb/63 kg). And I feel you needed to be told that your book worked for me. The other thing is I did do more exercise than the book said.’

tape measure

Books, DVDs, Websites: What’s New?
Shopper’s Guide to GI Values 2006

This handy shopper’s guide to the GI values of around 600 foods will help you put those low GI food choices into your shopping trolley and onto your plate. To make an absolutely fair comparison, all foods included in the guide have been tested following an internationally standardised method. However, the authors remind readers that the GI is just one tool in the toolbox and should not be used in isolation. The overall nutritional value of the food needs to be considered, too. The authors remind readers that not all low GI foods are a good choice; some are too high in saturated fat and sodium for everyday eating. Foods that are high in saturated fat, for example are indicated.

The authors recommend that you use the GI tables to:

  • identify the best carbohydrate choices
  • find the GI of your favourite foods
  • compare carb-rich foods within a category (two types of bread or breakfast cereal for example)
  • improve your diet by finding a low GI substitute for high GI foods
  • put together a low GI meal
  • help you calculate the GL of a meal or serving if it is more or less than our specified nominal portion size
To give you the full picture of the glycemic impact of foods, the tables also include the glycemic load (GL) of average sized portions. Glycemic load is the product of GI and the amount of carbohydrate in a serving of food. Use the GL tables to find foods with a high GI but low carbohydrate content per serving. Remember: the GL values listed in the tables are ONLY for the specified nominal portion size. If you eat more (or less) of that food you will need to calculate another GL value.

If you can’t find the GI value for a food you regularly eat, the authors suggest that you check out www.glycemicindex.com—an international database of the latest published GI values that have been tested by a reliable laboratory. Alternatively, contact the manufacturer and encourage them to have the food tested by an accredited laboratory or to publish the values of their products.


The Shopper’s Guide to GI Values is published in:
Australia: Hachette Livre Australia (www.hachette.com.au/ngr.html)
New Zealand: (Hachette Livre New Zealand)
USA and Canada: Marlowe & Company (in store January 2006)

Catherine Saxelby’s healthy eating and nutrition website is www.foodwatch.com.au

Feedback—Your FAQs Answered

We use a lot sprouted breads and cannot find them in your database or books. Can you give us some information on how or if this affects GI numbers?

The only sprouted bread we can find that has been GI tested is Silver Hills Bakery’s Balanced bread (GI ±57) that was tested by Glycemic Index Laboratories in Toronto. Ron Donatelli who is involved in research and development at Silver Hills Bakery says: ‘We don’t used refined flour. With sprouted grain breads the entire grain is used making it a true “Whole Food” rather than refined flour where most all of the bran, germ and endosperm is stripped away for shelf life and stability. At Silver Hills Bakery we sprout the whole organic grain and mash it up in its entirety.’ Ron says that the bread is ‘soon to be available in the Pacific Northwest in most major grocery chains.' Check their website for details: www.silverhillsbakery.com
‘Bread made from sprouted grains might well have a lower blood-glucose raising ability than bread made from normal flour’ says Jennie Brand-Miller and her co-authors in What Makes My Blood Glucose Go Up and Down? ‘Why’s that? When grains begin to sprout, carbohydrates stored in the grain are used as the fuel source for the new shoot. Chances are that the more readily available carbs stored in the wheat grain will be used up first, thereby reducing the amount of carbs in the final product. Furthermore, if the whole kernel form of the wheat grain is retained in the finished product, it will have the desired effect of lowering the blood glucose level. Physically limiting access of digestive enzymes to the starchy endosperm helps to reduce the rate of starch digestion.’
(Source: What Makes My Blood Glucose Go Up and Down?
USA: Marlowe & Company; UK: Vermilion; Taiwan: The Eurasian Publishing Group; Australia/New Zealand: Hachette Livre Australia)

Create an RSS News Feed for GI News
For those of you using Firefox [http://www.mozilla.org/products/firefox/start/] for your web browsing, there is a fantastic and free extension that can be added to the browser for creating easy access to what is known as ‘Really Simple Syndication’ or an RSS feed for short. RSS is a web standard for the delivery of news and other frequently updated content provided by websites. The extension that we recommend is called ‘Sage’. Sage not only gives you fast access to updates from our GI Newsletter as they occur on the first of every month but any of your favourite sites that support RSS can be added too. What’s more, Sage presents a summary of the new information in your browser window graphically.

To get started, you’ll need to download and install Sage [http://sage.mozdev.org/install/] while using Firefox. Once installed, quit Firefox and then restart to activate Sage. In the Tools menu, select Sage or just use the key-command Alt-S. A new Sage tab and column will appear on the left side of the browser window. Right-click in the top left frame and select New Bookmark. Give it a name (GI Newsletter for example) in the Name field and then paste the following address into the Location field:


That’s it! Now click on the new entry you created and a whole list of GI news entries will be generated in the lower left window frame. If you click on any of these entries, the corresponding story will appear in your browser window. Sage will automatically keep the list updated as new stories appear from GI News and any of your other favourite news sites.

Note: users of Mac OS 10.4 already have a similar feature built into the Safari web browser. Click on the blue RSS button in the right-hand side of the address bar when you are on the GI news site.

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