1 November 2010

Food for Thought

Science and the low GI concept
The number of papers with ‘GI’ in their title published in peer-reviewed scientific journals has increased exponentially over the last 10 years. In an interview with FoodIngredientsfirst Jennie talked about how science is developing around the GI concept. We reprint an extract here.

Prof Jennie Brand-Miller
Prof Jennie Brand-Miller

‘Science has always underpinned the low GI concept,’ said Prof Jennie Brand-Miller. ‘Indeed, it is what separates the GI concept from a ‘fad’. Research is showing that high GI foods and diets with a high glycemic load are much more likely to be linked to development of diseases like type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease than the amount of carbohydrate, starch or sugar content of the diet. There is also more focus on weight control, particularly the ability to prevent weight re-gain after weight loss – the holy grail.

And while the science of GI can be complex, the consumer application isn’t. It’s really simple – you swap a high GI food for a low GI food from within food categories – a low GI bread instead of a high GI one, a low GI breakfast cereal for a high GI one. The consumer learnt that there are good fats and bad fats and to swap one for the other. The same applies to carbohydrate.’

What are the new emerging GI areas? ‘It amazes me that the GI is being linked to so many things, including inflammatory diseases (e.g. arthritis), birth defects, Alzheimer’s disease, memory and different types of cancer. There’s even research that suggests that food ‘addiction’ is related to high blood glucose spikes. I’m currently involved in research applying low GI diets to pregnancy. We want to reduce the risk that the baby will have excess fat on its body at birth. The child obesity epidemic can be traced back to increasing birth weights over the past 25 years.’

Which countries and food markets hold the most potential for low GI? ‘I think the GI is relevant to every nation on the planet. All of us are more or less susceptible to obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Our health care budgets can’t sustain the current rate of expenditure. Prevention is the only way forward – diet and exercise are the two biggest parts of the solution.’

– Reproduced with kind permission of FoodIngredientsfirst.


brazen's crafts said...

very interesting.

the food addiction stuff makes sense to me - if i don't eat chocolate i don't miss it, if i do i crave it.

also find the pregnancy / baby weight into interesting. my first i craved salad and healthy food - he is as thin as a rake now at 7yo. my second i craved mars lava bars and she was not only 10lg3oz at birth but now outweighs her older brother and is so curvy we are keeping an eye on her for precocious puberty. my third i ate normally and she is pretty much smack on the 50th percentile for height and weight (after a slow start due to coeliac disease)

GI Group said...

Thanks very much for taking the time to post your comments. We will pass them on to Jennie.

Unknown said...

I have been following a low-Gi diet for 6 years as I have always suffered from reactive hypoglycaemia. Not unti I tried the low GI approach did I gain control and for that I am pleased.

My extra challenge is that I also have fructose and lactose malabsorption (results of breathtesting) and find that I need to follow as much as possible the low FODMAPS diet. Unfortunately much of this food is of the gluten free variety (I do not have Coeliac disease)and high GI. I have found a low GI gluten free bread and can eat some rye bread but many of the delicious food and snacks that you suggest are not suitable for me.

It would be great for some crossover here that took into account food intolerances as much as I love broccoli etc. I just can't eat it. Just a thought.

GI Group said...

Hello there Sue, We will run your question past dietitian Dr Kate Marsh who may be able to come up with some tasty suggestions for you. We also have a book Low GI Gluten-free Cooking that may have ideas that tempt you. Check it out. Watch this space and many thanks for taking the time to post.

GI Group said...

Dear Sue,
Here's what the ever-generous-with-her-time Dr Kate Marsh suggests:

"While this can make things more challenging there are a number of foods suitable for fructose & lactose malabsorption which are also low GI. These include:

Low GI Gluten Free Bread – Country Life Bakery – assume this is the one you have found
Quinoa – a good alternative to couscous
Buckwheat – can be used in place of cracked wheat
Traditional rolled oats
Pearl barley
Legumes – lentils, chickpeas, dried or canned beans
Soy milk and yoghurt
Lower fructose fruits such as berries
Rice noodles, buckwheat soba noodles and bean thread (mung bean) noodles
Nuts and seeds

However with these restrictions and the hypoglycaemia, it would be a good idea to see an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) who specialises in this area who can give you some more individualised advice and help you to develop an eating plan taking all of this into account."

Unknown said...

thanks for sharing.
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