1 April 2010

GI Symbol News with Dr Alan Barclay

Dr Alan Barclay

Finding healthy low GI milks, yogurts and alternatives
In their ‘natural’ state, milks and yogurts are nutritious foods with a low GI. However, not everyone likes the au natural flavour of plain milks and yogurts, so food manufacturers add ingredients to appeal to a broader range of tastes and this can affect the GI and calorie count. Milk alternatives like soy, rice and oat milks don’t contain lactose and have different proteins and fats which is why their GI values range from low (soy milks) to high (rice milks). These plant-based milks are not naturally a good source of calcium, so look for calcium-fortified ones.

The key problem for us today with milk and milk alternatives is the amount and type of fats they contain. Mammal milk fat is predominantly saturated fat, so reduced or low fat versions are better choices for most of us (not kids under two). Milk alternatives can be a better choice from a cholesterol perspective because their fats are unsaturated. But choosing reduced fat versions is still going to be better for your waistline as unsaturated fats have the same number of calories as saturated fats.

Adding large quantities of sugar to flavoured milks and yogurts (and alternatives) of all kinds can increase their glycemic load and calories. So, products with no added sugar are going to be a better choice. The GI Foundation has developed the following guidelines for choosing healthy low GI milks, yogurts and alternatives:

Milk fluid and dried (as reconstituted) and dairy drinks

  • Fat: 2g per 100g or less, or 2-4g per 100 g, provided that saturated fat is less than or equal to 20% of total fat
  • Calcium: 100mg per 100g or more
Examples: Dairy farmers Light White, Skim Milk and Just Natural Malt, Honey and Chocolate (99% fat free milk), Sustagen (vanilla and chocolate).

Skim milk

Soy and alternative beverages
  • Fat: 3.5g per 100g or less, or 2-4g per 100g, provided that saturated fat is less than or equal to 20% of total fat
  • Calcium: 100mg per 100g or more
Example: So Natural® Calci Forte.

So Natural® Calci Forte

Yogurt, or soy yogurt
  • Fat: 2g per 100g or less, or 2-4g per 100g, provided that saturated fat is less than or equal to 20% of total fat
  • Energy: less than or equal to 35 kJ per 100g
  • Calcium: 100mg per 100g or more
Examples: Brownes Fresh 'n Fruity® Yogurt, Nestle All Natural 99% Fat Free Yogurt and Nestle Diet Yogurt.

Healthy low GI yoghurts

New GI Symbol

For more information about the GI Symbol Program
Dr Alan W Barclay, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer
Glycemic Index Foundation (Ltd)
Phone: +61 (0)2 9785 1037
Mob: +61 (0)416 111 046
Fax: +61 (0)2 9785 1037
Email: alan@gisymbol.com
Website: www.gisymbol.com


Sarah Collie said...

Hi Do you know if the GI symbol will make its way over to the United Kingdom. I have PCOS and have been placed on a low GI lifestyle but find it difficult in the UK. Any help would be very much appreciated. Thanks Sarah

GI Group said...

Hi Sarah, We hope that one day in the not too distant future UK manufacturers will be using the GI Symbol. What can you do NOW? Well, there's a handy book called Low GI Eating Made Easy that might help. It was published in the UK by Hodder. I have written to them and asked if it is still available. You can also check out foods for free on the GI database at www.glycemicindex.com (it is an international database and has a number of UK brand foods). Of course we appreciate that doesn't necessarily give you answers about your favourite breads or breakfast cereals etc. It can be well worth contacting the Customer Service department of the food companies making your favourite brands and asking if they have been GI tested. Sometimes products have but the values haven't been released for publication. We have passed this on to Dr Alan Barclay and will post his response re when the Symbol might be seen in the UK soon.

GI Group said...

Hi Sarah, If you send a contact address to Dr Barclay (Email: alan@gisymbol.com) marked 'Attention Philippa Sandall' I will arrange for the publisher to send you a copy of Low GI Eating Made Easy.