1 January 2014

GI News—January 2014


  • Bill Shrapnell on why sugar intake from soft drinks is falling; 
  • Prof Tom Wolever puts the GI facts on the table for healthier choices;  
  • Prescribe yourself lifestyle as medicine in 2014 with Dr David Katz;
  • Nicole Senior enjoys raspberries in taste of health, and Anneka Manning bakes a raspberry and nectarine crumble;
  • Put the fun back into fitness with paddling, it is a complete release and a great workout writes Emma Sandall. 
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Food for Thought

More carrot, less stick might help do the trick.  
Taxes on ‘bad’ foods are the dish du jour in nutrition policy,’ says Prof J.T. Winkler in the BMJ commenting on a study where the authors propose even more taxes – just a bit higher despite acknowledging that most taxes are small, based on flawed evidence, and have limited, even negative, effects. ‘These are unlikely to be adopted and would be ineffective if they were,’ writes Winkler. While Katherine Rich, CEO of the New Zealand Food and Grocery Council pointedly notes: ‘I have heard many times the idea of food taxes. But I have never heard the idea of a food tax – be it sugar of fat – being championed by anyone who was not comfortably drawing a six-figure salary at the time.’

#1. Instead of talking taxes on ‘bad’ food, how about we tell the powers-that-be that we want them to look at ways of making the healthy choice the cheaper choice. A new meta-analysis from Harvard suggests that healthier choices do indeed cost more. The researchers report that diets rich in fruits, vegetables, fish, and nuts (which would indeed be healthy and low GI) – cost more than diets rich in processed foods, meats, and refined grains. Totting it all up, the Harvard team calculate that it costs about $1.50 more per person per day to make the healthy choice. Over a year for a family of four, that’s about $2200. We think, for some people, that's on the low side. Research shows that rural Australians pay much more for fresh food than city-dwellers do (A$9 for six mushrooms or A$4.50 for one small piece of broccoli or cauliflower).

 #2. Instead of talking taxes on ‘bad’ food, how about we tell the powers-that-be that we want them to look at ways of making sport and recreation more accessible and affordable for young and old. From swimming lessons (an essential), to signing up for winter and summer sports, taking part in organised sport is increasingly expensive (club fees and kit and travel), and out of reach of many families, especially single parent ones.

#3. Instead of talking taxes on ‘bad’ food, how about we tell the powers-that-be that we want them to be looking at ways of opening stairwells so we all can get more puff into our day. Prof Arya Sharma has suggested that perhaps we should be thinking of establishing codes for ‘active’ buildings. He describes the new Edmonton Clinic Health Academy where you are immediately faced with a wide open staircase (not stairwell!) on entering the building and the elevators are rather hidden in a corner.

#4 Instead of talking taxes on ‘bad’ food, how about we tell the powers-that-be we want them to boost food literacy and teach every child to cook says Nicole Senior. ‘Fast food is so much easier to avoid if you can whip up something tasty quickly. It’s so much easier to eat well if you know what to do with healthy ingredients (and you know what different ingredients are!). Every child should know milk comes from a cow and at the very least the difference between parsley and basil. Ideally they would know basil tastes divine with ripe tomato and how to grow them in the garden, pot or Styrofoam box. Food skills are living skills and if we build them up, we’ll be less vulnerable to unhealthy food marketing.’

Free fruit for kids

Harris Farm Markets keep a well-stocked barrel of fruit at the entrance of their produce stores. This picture was taken at the new Harris Farms Markets Bondi Beach store on Hall Street. We think this is a great ‘More Carrot, Less Stick’ initiative. ‘Thumbs Up’ from the GI News team. 

News and Reviews

The naturally low GI spud story. 
Everyone loves potatoes but they are often very high GI and a problem when managing BGLs. Back in 2007, when Prof Jennie Brand-Miller and Dr Alan Barclay saw the evidence mounting that it is the potato variety that effects glycemic impact not the cooking method, they sat down with potato expert Graham Liney, grower Frank Mitolo and Dutch potato breeding company Agrico to put a low GI potato on the table. Three years after the first crop was pulled from the soil, the not-so-humble Carisma was internationally certified as the first low GI potato (GI 55). They were developed from conventional plant crossings with other potato varieties and tested in field trials in Australia.
 Kai Lin Ek
 Kai Lin Ek, Accredited Practising Dietitian

Presenting at the International Congress of Nutrition in Granada in September 2013, Sydney University researcher Kai Lin Ek reported her findings that showed that Carisma ‘not only ranks well alongside other potatoes, but is also comparable with other low GI foods. Potatoes tend to get bad press because they are generally classified as a high GI carbohydrate but our research has discovered that Carisma has half the blood glucose response compared to other potato varieties,’ she said. ‘It has a similar GI to pastas, all of which are usually classified as low GI foods. But don’t overcook it. Any starchy carbohydrate has a higher GI if it is overcooked. If rice is mushy or pasta is not al dente you just increase the starch digestibility. Boiling for about nine minutes is the ideal cooking time to enjoy the health benefits and flavours of Carisma.’

Carisma potatoes

Developing a screening method for identifying further low GI potato cultivars is a health and agricultural priority. In a follow-up study published in the British Journal of Nutrition Kai Lin Ek reports that low GI potato cultivars could be identified by in vitro screening. In this study of seven potato cultivars she concludes, we found that: ‘GI values were strongly and positively correlated with the percentage of in vitro enzymatic hydrolysis of starch in the cooked potatoes. Amylose, dietary fibre and total starch content was not correlated with either in vitro starch digestibility or GI.’ Carisma potatoes are now grown all over Australia, and they are now in the ground in North America and Europe, so they will be commercially available in those regions in the near future.

Let’s put the GI facts on the table so consumers can make healthier choices. 
‘GI methodology is accurate and precise enough for practical use; GI is a property of foods; and GI is biologically meaningful and relevant to virtually everyone,’ writes GI pioneer Prof Tom Wolever in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition addressing current criticisms that focus on GI’s validity. ‘None of the critics provide sound reasons for rejecting GI because some of their arguments are based on flagrant errors in understanding and interpretation while others are not supported by current data or are inconsistent with other nutritional recommendations.’

Wolever is concerned that current dietary guidelines recommend increased consumption of whole grains and dietary fibre, but do not mention GI. ‘This is illogical,’ he says ‘because the evidence that GI affects health outcomes is at least as good, or better, than that for whole grains and fibre. GI is a novel concept from a regulatory point of view and a number of problems do need to be addressed to successfully translate GI knowledge into practice. The problems are not insurmountable but no progress can be made until bias and misunderstanding about GI can be overcome and there is better agreement about what is the actual state of knowledge on GI so that the real issues can be identified and addressed.’ Speaking to GI News, Tom Wolever says: ‘I have nothing against recommending people consume more fiber and whole grains, my concern here is that these are not better markers of carbohydrate quality than a food's GI value.’ 

Bill Shrapnel on why sugar intake from soft drinks is falling.

Bill Shrapnel
Bill Shrapnel, Accredited Nutritionist

‘Carbonated soft drinks have been a major source of sugar in the Australian diet for decades. In 2007, Dr Gina Levy and Professor Linda Tapsell published an analysis of sales of soft drinks and other water-based beverages in Australia between 1997 and 2006. There were three key findings – beverage sales were increasing; there was a shift away from sugar-sweetened to non-sugar drinks; and the per capita contribution of sugar from these beverages to the national diet was declining. Recently, Gina Levy and Bill Shrapnell conducted a study to update the earlier findings of Levy and Tapsell. Their objective was to assess trends in sales of soft drinks and other water-based beverages over a 15-year period, from 1997 to 2011. The paper has been accepted for publication in Nutrition and Dietetics and Gina Levy presented their findings at the ‘Sweet Symposium’ in Sydney on 2 December 2013. The most interesting finding from this study was the fall in the sugar contribution from carbonated soft drinks from 8.4kg (about 18 pounds) per person in 1997 to 6.2kg (about 13 pounds) per person in 2011. In relation to the broader category of sugar-sweetened beverages, per capita sugar contribution fell over the 15-year period from 9.2kg (about 20 pounds) to 7.6kg (about 16½ pounds). The reason for the decline in the contribution of sugar from these beverages is the ongoing, long-term decline in the proportion that is sugar-sweetened, from 70% to 58% of the total. This is largely driven by a substantial shift in carbonated soft drinks from sugar-sweetened to non-sugar drinks. Over 15 years the proportion of carbonated soft drinks that is sweetened with sugar has fallen from 64% to 45% of the total. There has been a corresponding increase in the proportion of non-sugar soft drinks (e.g. diet soft drinks with non-nutritive sweeteners) and still water. The traditional drivers of the soft drink market have been indulgence and convenience. It now appears as though increasing health consciousness, especially in relation to body weight, is making its presence felt.’ To read more, head over to The Sceptical Nutritionist. (Reprinted with permission).

Graph line down

Reviewing the role of fructose, sucrose, and HFCS in diabetes.  
‘There remains a lack of consistent evidence to suggest that fructose, sucrose, or HFCS at moderate doses is directly related to the development of diabetes and other cardio-metabolic diseases, although there is potentially cause for concern where fructose is provided at high doses or contributes excess energy to diets’ write Drs John Sievenpiper and Al Cozma in US Endocrinology. But ‘many questions remain unanswered,’ they say. ‘High-quality trials are needed to assess the role of fructose-containing sugars in free exchange with foods likely to replace them in the diet in the development of diabetes and cardio-metabolic diseases.’

What’s new?

Nicole's Taste of Health

Raspberries to that 
Ever wondered where the term ‘blowing a raspberry’ came from? It’s kinda obvious in a way because the shape of your mouth when you blow a raspberry looks a bit like a raspberry, but the real low-brow humour comes from the English rhyming slang ‘raspberry tart’ for fart- the noise blowing a raspberry. Ahem, moving right along.
Raspberries are my all time favourite because of their mouth-watering tang and subtle sweetness. It’s a pity they are expensive as they are one of the few fruits you can eat by the tub without blowing your kilojoule budget. One of the main reasons they are expensive is they are highly fragile and have a short shelf life. Their velvety skin is easily damaged and their softness prone to mushiness. Of course even in this less than perfect state they are fine to use in recipes (they’re too good to waste). Look for raspberries in good shape (plump) and rich in colour and store them in the fridge in a single layer on some paper towel. I would recommend you eat them as soon as you get them home while they are still perfect but they will last in the fridge for a few days if they were fresh when you bought them. If by chance you have a surplus, they can also be frozen for up to a year, either in a freezer bag (in a single layer) or suitable solid container. Another reason raspberries are so special is their fleeting availability only during summer. Luckily they are available frozen to prolong the pleasure through the year and are perfectly fine to use in muffins, loaves, friands, crumbles, tarts and pies, smoothies and yoghurt.

You may not know that raspberry bushes are covered in sharp hairs so in the days before commercial production they were an even greater prize due to the pain incurred during the harvest. Raspberries are easy to grow but easily spread by popping up new stems from the roots underground. Plant them where you won’t mind them getting away, or be prepared to remove the new runners should they pop up where you don’t want them.

When it comes to nutrition raspberries are in the top of the charts for phytochemicals, including ellagic acid, anthocyanins, flavonoids, phenolic acids and tannins that play a variety of roles to benefit health such as reducing oxidative stress and inflammation, enhancing insulin action, and reducing cancer cell activity. They are also rich in vitamin C and fibre, and contain vitamin E, folate and manganese. Just one cup provides around half the daily recommended intake of vitamin C.

While raspberries are divine eaten fresh they also add something special to porridge or muesli, fresh squeezed juice, smoothies, yoghurt and fruit salad. And they play a starring role in desserts such as crumble, syllabub, pudding and parfait. If you’re fortunate enough to grow a bumper crop, raspberry jam, jelly and sauce are marvellous ways to keep the good times rolling. Try serving jam on some wholegrain toast with ricotta for an almost-cheesecake experience, and drizzle the sauce over ice cream or yoghurt and garnish with your favourite nuts. Raspberry coulis (pronounced koolie) is simply a sweetened sauce with the seeds strained out and fabulous on just about anything. I would remiss if I didn’t also mention how well raspberries partner with chocolate, especially the dark, rich, not-too-sweet kind. Top your favourite chocolate dessert with fresh raspberries or raspberry sauce/coulis to take bliss to a whole new level. I will never blow another raspberry again!


Nicole Senior is an Accredited Nutritionist, author and consultant who strives to make healthy food taste terrific. You can follow her on Twitter or Facebook or checkout her website

In the GI News Kitchen

Family Baking, Anneka Manning, author of Bake Eat Love. Learn to Bake in 3 Simple Steps and founder of Sydney’s BakeClub, shares her delicious ‘better-for-you’ recipes for snacks, desserts and treats the whole family will love. Through both her writing and cooking school, Anneka teaches home cooks to bake in practical and approachable yet inspiring ways that assure success in the kitchen. She is running her popular Healthy Kids' Lunch Box class on February 3 in Sydney. Just click the link to sign up.

 Anneka Manning
Nectarine and raspberry crumble 
This summery fruit crumble plays on the heavenly aroma and flavour of ripe nectarines alongside the refreshing tang of juicy raspberries, all topped off with a deliciously nutty crumble mix. Remember, the tablespoon I use is the 20ml Australian tablespoon (equals 4 teaspoons). Serves: 8

800g (just under 2lb) ripe, white nectarines, cut into eighths
300g/10oz frozen raspberries
1 tbsp honey

Crumble topping 
½ cup rolled oats
¼ cup (lightly packed) brown sugar
2 tbsp LSA (ground linseeds, sunflower seeds and almonds)
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp sunflower seeds
½ tsp ground ginger
40g/1½ oz butter or margarine cut into 1cm/½in pieces
¼ cup natural almonds, coarsely chopped

Honey yoghurt 
1 cup reduced fat Greek-style yoghurt, to serve
1 tbsp honey

Nectarine and raspberry crumble
Photo: Georgie Esdaile

Preheat the oven to 180ÂșC/350F. Line an oven tray with non-stick baking paper.
To make the crumble topping, place oats, sugar, LSA, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and ground ginger in a bowl, mix to combine. Add the margarine and use your fingertips to rub in until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Stir in the almonds.
Place the nectarines and raspberries in a bowl, drizzle with the honey and mix gently to combine. Divide the fruit among eight ¾ cup ramekins or ovenproof dishes and place on the oven tray. Sprinkle each evenly with the Crumble Topping.
Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until the crumble is crisp and golden and the fruit is tender when tested with a skewer. Meanwhile ...
To make the honey yoghurt, combine the yoghurt and honey in a small bowl and stir until evenly combined. Serve with the crumble.

Baker's tips

  • Store any leftover crumble in the ramekins covered with plastic wrap or in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. 
  • Serve cold or reheat in an oven preheated to 180C/350f for 10-15 minutes. 
  • This crumble can also be baked in a 2-litre (8-cup) ovenproof dish at 180C/350F for 30-35 minutes. 
Baking tins
You may have noticed that traditional enamel bakeware is making a comeback. Available in a variety of sizes I find it is perfect for making crumbles, vegetable bakes and roasts or even to serve from – salads in particular. If you love the dish I have used here, the brand is Wiltshire and it is available in Australia through Woolworths and David Jones. There are various sizes. I used the individual dishes for the crumble.

Per serve 
1075 kJ/ 255 calories; 6 g protein; 12 g fat (includes 3.3 g saturated fat; saturated:unsaturated fat ratio 0.28); 28 g available carbs; 6 g fibre

American dietitian and author of Good Carbs, Bad Carbs, Johanna Burani, shares favourite recipes with a low or moderate GI from her Italian kitchen. For more information, check out Johanna's website. The photographs are by Sergio Burani. His food, travel and wine photography website is photosbysergio.com.


Baked winter pears with fresh grape juice sauce 
Here is a wholesome, no-sugar-added, naturally sweet dessert coming to you from Mother Nature herself while on one of her trips to Italy! Serves 6 (a pear per person)

Grape sauce 
4 lb (1.8 kg) red or black grapes with or without seeds
1 cup red wine such as Cabernet, Merlot, etc.

Baked pears
6 large, firm pears (Bosc), halved, peeled and cored
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom

Baked winter pears with fresh grape juice sauce

To make the grape sauce Remove the stems from the grapes, wash and pat dry. Add the grapes in batches to a food processor and finely chop • Place the chopped grapes in a container with a lid and refrigerate for 2–3 days • Strain the grapes through a sieve into a large pot – be sure to press out as much liquid as possible and to scrape off the pulp from the bottom of the sieve and add to the liquid • Cook the grape juice, uncovered, over medium-high heat for approximately 30 minutes. The liquid should reduce down to about ¾ cup. • Add the wine and boil for 1–2 minutes. Set aside.

To make the baked pears Preheat the oven to 375F (190C) • Place pear halves, cut side down in an 11-inch (20cm) round baking dish. Sprinkle the cardamom on the pear tops • Bake until a knife easily pierces through, approximately 40–60 minutes (depending on ripeness). Baste 3–4 times with the grape sauce. When the pears are done, remove from the oven.

To serve There are two serving options with this dessert • You can simply pour the grape sauce and pan juices into a gravy boat and serve with the warm (or room temperature) pears • Alternatively, you can transfer the grape syrup and pan juices into a small saucepan and rapidly boil it down until it thickens and starts to caramelize (3–5 minutes). Quickly pour the reduction over the pears, forming a type of glaze.

Per serve 
1000kJ/240 calories; 2g protein; 2g fat (includes 0g saturated fat; saturated:unsaturated fat ratio 0);  49g available carbs; 7g fibre

Vino cotto 
If you slowly reduce unfermented grape juice, you end up with a velvety, sweet condiment that compliments desserts and savory dishes. If you don’t have time to make your own, look for vino cotto in larger supermarkets and gourmet stores. It tends to be an artisanal product, but more brands are appearing on the shelves. We tried Il Baronello (with quince) drizzled over plain yoghurt, and also in a rocket, pear, walnut and parmesan salad. Angela Galtieri, whose family who started Il Baronello, says: 'Encouraged by interest from adventurous home cooks, we began producing vino cotto. We had also noticed that older generations of Italians no longer made their own (it’s very hard work), and preferred to buy it when they needed it for their traditional sweets.' Vino cotto itself has not been GI tested, but Chateau Barossa grape syrup (essentially the same thing) has a GI of 52. Make sure the ingredient list simply says '100% grape must' plus any other additional fruit flavouring.

Summer barbecue for easy meals and entertaining 
Barbecued prawns with avocado and mango salsa
Here at GI News, we always enjoy Luke Mangan’s recipes, and have published several over the years as he has lovely ideas for using low GI ingredients like lentils and corn. This recipe is from his new book, Salt Grill: Fine dining for the whole family (Murdoch Books). With mangoes in season here in Australia, we couldn’t resist. Serves 4.

16 fresh king prawns (shrimp), peeled and deveined, tails left intact
A little extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
¼ iceberg lettuce, thinly sliced
1 avocado, diced
Vietnamese mint leaves, to garnish

Mango salsa 
2 small ripe mangoes
¼ red onion, very finely diced
1 red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
2 tbsp roughly chopped Vietnamese mint
2 tbsp roughly chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves
1½ tbsp chardonnay vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Barbecued prawns with avocado and mango salsa

Peel the mangoes, then cut off the cheeks and as much flesh off the stones as possible. Dice the mango flesh and place in a mixing bowl. Add the remaining salsa ingredients, season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and mix lightly.
Place the prawns on a tray. Season and drizzle with just enough olive oil to coat the prawns. Place the prawns on a hot barbecue or frying pan and cook for 2 minutes on one side. Turn the prawns over and cook for a further 2 minutes. Remove and rest on a plate for another 2 minutes.
Add the lettuce to the mango salsa and place on a platter. Scatter the prawns and avocado on top. Garnish with Vietnamese mint.

Per serve
925 kJ/220 calories; 17.5 g protein; 10 g fat (includes 2 g saturated fat; saturated:unsaturated fat ratio 0.2); g available carbs; g fibre

Produce pic


Pic Ian Hoffstetter, The Low GI Vegetarian Cookbook (Hachette Australia)
In now Peaches
What’s in them? Delicious, chin-dripping-juicy peaches (GI 42) are a good source of vitamin C, potassium and fibre.
What to make? Poach in a light syrup or wine (or champagne) with a vanilla pod and serve with Greek yogurt; or halve (remove stone), fill with a nutty crumble, and grill. Check out the summery fruit desserts in The Low GI Vegetarian Cookbook (in bookshops and online) including Poached peaches with vanilla yogurt and marinated raspberries and Ameretti-baked nectarines.

Putting the Fun Back into Fitness

Here in Australia, it is fair to say that kayaking or ‘paddling’ is in. The minute I sit in a kayak with a paddle in my hands and feel the sensation of the criss-cross motion gliding through the water, all cares vanish. Prof Jennie Brand-Miller tells me that she has an ‘industrial strength’ blow-up kayak and like me, she finds paddling around the harbour with her husband, John and their miniature poodle, Sacha, a complete release and a great workout.

Kayaking is a low impact activity that can improve your aerobic fitness, strength and flexibility. You can take up paddling as a hobby, a competitive sport or for an active holiday (there are kayaking safaris). However, no activity is for everyone. People with tight hip flexors or bad backs often find the seated posture in a kayak painful.

When you kayak with the correct technique – pushing the pegs with your legs, engaging your core muscles, and working your torso and arms with a criss-cross figure 8 motion – you work your entire body without strain, using the resistance of the water. Wind, tide and current can add additional pleasure, exhilaration, motivation and cardiovascular effort.

On top of this, you can experience the beauty of the world around you from a unique perspective, discovering new nooks and crannies in familiar places. Kayaking has transformed travel for me, and I now hunt down places to paddle wherever I roam – Perth, the Whitsundays and Israel so far, with Hawaii and Switzerland on the agenda for 2014.

Canoeing in the Whitsundays

Paddling in the Whitsundays

To get started, it’s a good idea to take some lessons, or join a local paddling group or club. People of all ages and levels of fitness can enjoy canoeing and kayaking, but you need to be properly prepared (and that includes stretching before and after) and use your common sense. Better Health Victoria has an excellent fact sheet on safe paddling and kayaking.

Emma Sandall runs Body Playground, an online space for discovering how to put the fun back into your fitness routines. With fellow Body Playground director and Pilates teacher, Peta Green, she has developed a new and expressive style of workout that brings together the technical and fluid aspects of Pilates, yoga and ballet. For tips on stretching or to learn a nice sequence you can do any time, any place, check out Vimeo.

GI Symbol News with Dr Alan Barclay

Alan Barclay
Dr Alan Barclay

Low GI foods and drinks help kids keep in shape
While it’s common knowledge that adults around the world are piling on the pounds, we sometimes overlook the fact that our children live in exactly the same obesogenic environment and that they too are increasing in girth at a faster rate than they are increasing in stature. Here in Australia, for example, 1 in 4 children aged 5-17 years were classified as overweight or obese in Australia's most recent national nutrition survey.

A new systematic review and meta-analysis of low glycemic index and load diets in children has shown how consuming low GI/GL meals and snacks can help children prevent weight gain. The researchers identified six studies that included 213 children aged from four to seventeen and found that kids can reduce their average energy intake at the next meal by approximately 600 kilojoules (145 calories) by choosing healthy low GI alternatives.

The authors report that: “The underlying mechanism regarding the relationship between GI and energy intake is glucostatic hypothesis. In this theory, decrease and increase in blood glucose level is the main determinant of hunger and satiety, respectively. L[ow] GI foods provided sustained blood glucose levels. Thus, feelings of hunger are delayed following an L[ow] GI meal compared with an H[igh] GI meal.” This new level 1 evidence (the highest) builds on results from the recent Diogenes study that found that a higher protein, low GI diet is the best eating pattern for longer term weight maintenance in children aged from five to eighteen.

Child eating apple

Most kids like to graze on small meals and snacks throughout the day. By providing healthy low GI snacks between meals you can help your children reduce their overall kilojoule/calorie intake at their main meals. Healthy low GI snacks for children include:

  • Fresh fruit (apples, grapes, pears and other temperate fruits) and fruit salad 
  • Canned/bottled fruit 
  • Dried fruit (apple, apricots, dates, peaches, pear, prunes) 
  • Fruit and nut mix 
  • Reduced or low fat plain milk 
  • Reduced or low fat flavoured milk (e.g., Milo)
  • Reduced or low fat yoghurt (plain or with fruit) 
  • Low GI bread (Burgen, Tip Top 9 Grain or Mission corn tortilla all carry the GI Symbol) with a favourite spread or topping (e.g., hummus)
  • Raisin toast with a scrape of jam 
  • Wholegrain crackers and crispbreads
  • Muesli bars (e.g., Uncle Toby's Crunchy or Chewy varieties)
  • A small bowl of breakfast cereal (Kellogg’s Sustain or All Bran Fibre Toppers) with reduced or low fat milk
The GI Symbol, making healthy low GI choices easy choices

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.barclay@gisymbol.com
Website: www.gisymbol.com


Guest contributor, Dr David Katz, gets to ask and answer the first Q&A for 2014. 

Dr David Katz
Dr. David Katz

‘When I ask my patients why they’ve come to see me, the answer is always to get better if something is wrong, or to get advice about staying healthy if nothing is currently bothering them. My second question is “Why do you care about being healthy? What is health for?”
Usually these questions are met with silence. No one really thinks about the fact that health is for something, but it is. It’s for living the life you want, for feeling good and functioning at your best. It’s a reward and a return on your investment in yourself. That’s true of the money we put aside to secure our futures or pay for our kids’ educations, and it’s certainly true of the effort we devote to improving our health. After all, your life will be better if you have good health. And if you pay it forward by sharing your health-promoting, disease-fighting strategies with your loved ones, your life will be better still because the people you love will share good health with you.

It requires effort and practice to make these skills automatic, especially given the world we live in. We didn’t choose to be born into an environment that promotes obesity, but here we are, nevertheless. We did not choose to find ourselves in a world awash with highly palatable, energy-dense convenient foods. And while we did not choose to be among the first generation of Homo sapiens that could count on technology to do everything for us, in areas ranging from work to recreational pursuits, once again, here we are. You don’t need to be gluttonous to overeat or lazy to underexercise and gain weight in the modern world; you simply need to live in the modern world, which is why obesity and chronic disease are not exceptions – they are now the norm.

There’s a place for both personal policy and public policy in fixing what ails our collective health. Remember, while you’re waiting for the world to change, it is possible to steer a course of your own and your family’s to better health. It’s called lifestyle. And it is the best medicine there is, ever was, and likely ever will be. At a fork in the road for health care, our economy, our culture, and what the future holds for our children and grandchildren, each of us holds a spoon that could get this medicine to go down. When you prescribe yourself lifestyle as medicine you will discover that you can:

  • Build skills to improve your eating habits at home and on the road, your food shopping and cooking habits, and your level of physical activity. 
  • Retrain your taste buds to prefer healthier foods, discover physical activities you enjoy and fit them into your life, and embrace the gift of physical activity. 
  • Improve other aspects of your lifestyle including your sleep, stress, pain and social connections so they can enhance your eating and exercise habits. 
When you prescribe yourself lifestyle as medicine, you are the doctor for yourself and those you love. But as with all doctoring, it requires a skill set. If you don't have it, you can get it. No other medicine can do what lifestyle can do, and no one else can practice lifestyle for you. It's your life, and only you can live it. If you empower yourself, if you acquire the requisite skill-power to take lifestyle as your medicine, it will almost certainly be a better life. Healthy people have more fun.’

This is an edited extract from Dr Katz’s new book (with Stacey Colino), DISEASE PROOF, where shares the very skill set on which he and his family rely to enjoy lifestyle as medicine.

Disease-Proof. DNA is not destiny.

GI testing by an accredited laboratory
North America
Dr Alexandra Jenkins
Glycemic Index Laboratories
20 Victoria Street, Suite 300
Toronto, Ontario M5C 298 Canada
Phone +1 416 861 0506
Email info@gilabs.com
Web www.gilabs.com

Fiona Atkinson
Research Manager, Sydney University Glycemic Index Research Service (SUGiRS)
Human Nutrition Unit, School of Molecular and Microbial Biosciences
Sydney University
NSW 2006 Australia
Phone + 61 2 9351 6018
Fax: + 61 2 9351 6022
Email sugirs@mmb.usyd.edu.au
Web www.glycemicindex.com

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