1 April 2014

GI News—April 2014


  • GI Symbol: making healthier choices easier whatever your diet; 
  • Eating yoghurt may reduce diabetes risk; 
  • Nicole Senior looks at delicious, nutritious pumpkins; 
  • Anneka Manning's Spiced Baked Pumpkin;  
  • Surfing puts fun into fitness says Craig Wachholz;
  • Baking hot cross buns? Try our moderate GI recipe. 
GI News 
Editor: Philippa Sandall
Web management and design: Alan Barclay, PhD
Contact email (for questions or permission to reproduce stories from this newsletter): info@gisymbol.com for technical problems or faults please contact smb.ginewstech@sydney.edu.au

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Food for Thought

Enjoying food: Ground-breaking dietary guidelines from Brazil. 
“The guide is not just concerned with avoiding obesity and disease,” says Jean-Claude Moubarac. “It is also designed to encourage positive good health and well-being. All the advice has been summed up in three universal ‘golden rules’ that everybody in the world will benefit from following:

  • Make fresh and minimally processed foods the basis of your diet 
  • Use oils, fats, sugar and salt in moderation when preparing dishes and meals 
  • Limit consumption of ready-to eat food and drink products.
The draft guidelines take a whole new look at food and nutrition. Developed with the support of the Centre for Epidemiological Studies in Health and Nutrition of the University of São Paulo and the Pan American Health Organization, its preparation has also been supported by workshops held in 2011 and 2013, involving researchers, other health professionals and educators, and civil organisations from all Brazilian regions. At this stage, the guide been approved by Brazil’s Minister of Health and is now out for public consultation.

Dr Jean-Claude Moubarac, who was involved in creating the ground-breaking guide, explains. “The guide takes a broad and comprehensive view of health, including the social, cultural, economic and environmental dimensions of food systems and supplies and so of dietary patterns. In particular it examines the central role of different types of processing on the quality of diets.” The ten main recommendations are:
  1. Prepare meals from staple and fresh foods. 
  2. Use oils, fats, sugar and salt in moderation. 
  3. Limit consumption of ready-to-consume food and drink products 
  4. Eat regular meals, paying attention, and in appropriate environments. 
  5. Eat in company whenever possible. 
  6. Buy food at places that offer varieties of fresh foods. Avoid those that mainly sell products ready for consumption. 
  7. Develop, practice, share and enjoy your skills in food preparation and cooking. 
  8. Plan your time to give meals and eating proper time and space. 
  9. When you eat out, choose restaurants that serve freshly made dishes and meals. Avoid fast food chains. 
  10. Be critical of the commercial advertisement of food products. 
Cornucopia of foods

In a statement that resonates worldwide, Patricia Jaime, Ministry of Health coordinator of Food and Nutrition, the pivotal point of contact in Brazil for the guide, says: “We need to protect and preserve the Brazilian tradition of enjoyment of meals as a central part of family, social and workplace life. The planning of meals, exchange of recipes with friends, and involvement of the whole family in preparing food to enjoy together, are all part of a healthy life. Of course it is true that making meals at home takes time. But this is time we can share with our loved ones, including children. Freshly prepared meals are still cheaper than ready-to-consume snack and drink products. Also, protecting personal and family good health and well-being will save time and money spent on health care”

Dr Jean-Claude Moubarac

Jean-Claude Moubarac Dr Jean-Claude Moubarac has a background in anthropology and a PhD in public health. He undertook his post-doctoral studies in public health and nutrition at the School of Public Health at the University of São Paulo in Brazil. He is committed to an integrated approach to nutrition and health which involves taking into account its social, cultural, economic, political and environmental dimensions.He coordinates an international research program studying the role of cooking and of food processing in shaping dietary practices, with implications for diet quality and obesity.

The complete guide in Portuguese is HERE.

What's new?

Breast cancer survivors more likely to develop diabetes, and should be screened more closely. 
A large population study in Diabetologia shows that post-menopausal women who are breast cancer survivors are more likely to develop diabetes than women without breast cancer. Dr Lorraine Lipscombe and colleagues compared the incidence of diabetes among women aged 55 years or older with breast cancer, from 1996 to 2008, with that of age-matched women without breast cancer. They further explored this relationship based on whether the woman had undergone chemotherapy. They found that, of 24,976 breast cancer survivors and 124,880 controls, 9.7% developed diabetes over a mean follow-up of 5.8 years. The risk of diabetes among breast cancer survivors compared with women without breast cancer began to increase two years after diagnosis, with a 7% increased risk that rose to 21% after 10 years. Among those who received chemotherapy (4,404 patients) almost the opposite relationship was found: risk was highest in the first two years after diagnosis (a 24% increased risk compared with controls) and then declined to an 8% increased risk after 10 years.

Dr Lipscombe says: “It is possible that chemotherapy treatment may bring out diabetes earlier in susceptible women. Increased weight gain has been noted in the setting for adjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer, which may be a factor in the increased risk of diabetes in women receiving treatment. Oestrogen suppression as a result of chemotherapy may also promote diabetes; however this may have been less of a factor in this study where most women were already post-menopausal.”

Other factors that may play a part for women with chemotherapy are the glucocorticoid drugs used to treat nausea in chemotherapy, known to cause spikes in blood sugar (acute hyperglycaemia), and the fact that women undergoing chemotherapy could be monitored more closely and thus are more likely to have diabetes detected.

Does Surviving Breast Cancer Lead to Obesity? In Journal of Cancer Survivorship, Rebecca Sedjo and colleagues report significant weight gain in 665 overweight and obese women within five years of surviving breast cancer that is influenced by a complex set of factors. Younger women and those with lower BMIs were more likely to gain significant amounts of weight over time. Women treated with selective estrogen-receptor modulators twice as likely to gain weight compared to women prescribed aromatase inhibitors. “Effective strategies to prevent this weight gain or provide obesity management strategies to breast cancer survivors are long overdue” says Prof Arya Sharma commenting on this research.  

The sugar fructose not responsible for increase in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is the most common chronic liver disease in developed countries, affecting up to 30 per cent of people. Since the disease is closely linked to obesity and type 2 diabetes, there’s a growing debate in the medical community about whether diet plays a role in its development, specifically the consumption of fructose. A meta-analysis of all available human trials published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition says fructose in and of itself is not to blame for the increase in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. But excess consumption of calories can contribute to the disease, regardless of whether those calories came from fructose or other carbohydrates, said the lead author, Dr. John Sievenpiper.

Photo: Hachette Australia, The Low GI Diet Cookbook

Dairy foods: Yoghurt may reduce diabetes risk
Research scientists from the University of Cambridge report in Diabetologia the findings of their prospective study that higher consumption of low-fat fermented dairy products, which includes all yoghurt varieties and some low-fat, fermented soft cheeses (e.g. fromage frais and low-fat cottage cheese), reduced the relative risk of diabetes by 24 percent. (Their data was based on 7-day food diaries from the EPIC-Norfolk study.)

Yoghurt, when examined separately from the other low-fat fermented dairy products, was associated with a 28 percent reduced risk of developing diabetes. This risk reduction was observed among adults who consumed an average of four and a half standard 125g/4oz pots of yoghurt per week. While this type of study cannot prove that eating dairy products causes the reduced diabetes risk, dairy products do contain beneficial constituents such as vitamin D, calcium and magnesium. In addition, fermented dairy products may exert beneficial effects against diabetes through probiotic bacteria and a special form of vitamin K associated with fermentation.

Berribob Watson

Berribob Watson (Photo courtesy Skinnyfish)

Bush food: Australia’s bush potato.  Bush potato (Ipomoea costata) belongs to the morning glory family and has a taste and texture similar to its sweet potato (I. batatas) cousin. It is rich in carbohydrate and fibre and is about one-third slower digesting than most regular potatoes (which are high GI) according to Prof. Jennie Brand-Miller’s 1987 study. A traditional staple for Australia’s Indigenous people, bush potatoes were much sought after (and they still are today). Harvesting the tubers in the wild is time-consuming due to the fact that they are about a metre or more underground, and it is virtually impossible for someone with an untrained eye to work out where to start digging for them. That’s why traditional know-how (and handing it on) is vital. In this short film produced by Skinnyfish, Berribob Watson talks about the importance of passing on his father’s knowledge to the next generation: how to hunt, how to make fire without matches, and how to find bush potatoes. You can watch it HERE.

Low GI Diet Shopper’s Guide 2014

Special Offer: Low GI Diet Shopper’s Guide 2014.
Australia/New Zealand edition. Includes the GI values for over 1,000 foods and pre-prepared meals. This eBook usually retails for AUD$9.99. You can buy a copy for AUD$4.99 until 12 April 2014 here:

Cloudy with a chance of meatheads – Dr David Katz
When research should come with a warning label

Nicole's Taste of Health

Pumpkin eater 
Pumpkin soup appears on café menus as the weather turns cooler. As a vegetable, it is almost an Aussie icon: it is very much a part of a traditional ‘baked dinner’ along with meat, potatoes and peas; and pumpkin scones (the light and fluffy British-style ones) are a Down-under classic whose golden colour is like sunshine. In North America, everybody knows about the importance of pumpkins to make jack-o-lanterns for Halloween.

Jap pumpkin

Botanically speaking pumpkins are berries, as are grapes, avocados, tomatoes and persimmons because they are each a simple fruit having seeds and pulp produced from a single ovary – go figure! But all you need to know is they are easy to grow, provided they get enough water and it isn’t too cold. I recently visited a friend whose pumpkins had doubled in size in just one week after some good drenching rain. I had a pumpkin vine pop up among my gardenias after I spread some compost on the garden that must have contained seeds. I just left it and reaped the rewards.

Pumpkins are a marvel for cooks because they lend themselves to sweet or savoury dishes. On the sweet side the most famous recipe is probably pumpkin pie (a pleasure to say as well as to eat) enjoyed around Thanksgiving in North America. Pumpkin pie is usually made with canned pumpkin, but a different variety than the one scooped out to make Halloween lanterns. And Middle Eastern and Indian halwa (sweetmeat) made with pumpkin is delightful. However in my humble view pumpkins really sing when their sweetness is balanced with meat or legumes in hearty slow-cooked meals like soups, stews, curries and tagines. They also partner beautifully with spices including the classic nutmeg, and gorgeous Middle Eastern flavours as shown in Anneka’s recipe.

You can even eat the seeds. Green-coloured pumpkin seed kernels are delicious in trail mixes, muesli and salads. You can buy pumpkin seed kernels or make your own with the innards of your next whole pumpkin. Simple wash and dry them, coat lightly with oil and a little salt, and bake in a slow oven for around 15–20 minutes. Allow to cool and then crack between your teeth and prise out the kernel. They’re the perfect keep-your-hands-busy, high-effort-so-you-don’t-overeat kind of snack food.

Pumpkins are nutritious as well as delicious. Their rich golden colour comes from high levels of beta-carotene, similar to carrots. Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant thought to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and some cancers, and is also converted to vitamin A by the body. Pumpkin also contains useful amounts of fibre, vitamins C, E and riboflavin.

You may have heard of pumpkin described as a starchy vegetable, however it’s not really, it’s more watery. In fact, its total carbohydrate content (sugars and starch) is only 6–8% (baked) compared to 17% (mostly starch) in baked potato, so it isn’t going to have much effect on your blood glucose levels if eaten in sensible amounts. Butternut pumpkin (winter squash) does have a low GI value (51) and makes a great alternative to potato on the dinner plate. It is also delicious mashed with potato.

Peter, Peter pumpkin eater, 
Had a wife but couldn't keep her; 
He put her in a pumpkin shell 
And there he kept her very well.

I’d suggest Peter got it all wrong: he should have cooked the pumpkin for his wife and she would have stuck around voluntarily.

Buon appetito!

Nicole and Finn

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

Try Nicole’s pumpkin soup recipe here

In the GI News Kitchen

Meal planning made easy with Taste Planner.
Taste Planner provides personalised meal plans with nutritional information and a shopping list that you can access on your mobile (cell), laptop, desktop or tablet. To date, Diabetes Australia has partnered with tasteplanner.com.au to give users access to over 550 diabetes-friendly recipes. Subscribers also get access to 25 other dietary and allergy filters including gluten-free and heart-healthy that can be used to build a meal plan from the 27,000 recipes available to ensure that dinner time need never be boring – even if your family has specific dietary needs. Enjoy!

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.

 Anneka Manning
Spiced Baked Pumpkin.
Jap or kent pumpkin (winter squash) is a popular variety with ribbed green skin covered with yellow flecks and sweetish orange flesh that is good roasted, boiled, steamed or stir fried. But, do not limit yourself to pumpkin, any leftover roasted vegetables and chickpeas will make a delicious salad with rocket or baby spinach leaves, then sprinkled with the dukkah and drizzled with the yoghurt sauce. Serves 6–8.

650g jap or kent pumpkin, deseeded and cut into 2cm (¾in) thick wedges
2 tbsp (40ml) extra virgin olive oil
½ head cauliflower, cut into 3cm florets (about 280g/9oz)
400g/14oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 tsp smoked paprika
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp pine nuts
1 tbsp sesame seeds
¼ tsp salt (optional)

Tahini yoghurt sauce
¼ cup Greek-style yoghurt
1 tsp tahini
1 tbsp (20ml) lemon juice
½ clove garlic, crushed or finely grated
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Spiced Baked Pumpkin

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Line a large oven tray with non-stick baking paper.
Spread the pumpkin on the lined tray and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Place cauliflower and chickpeas in a large mixing bowl, drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, sprinkle with paprika, salt and pepper and toss to combine. Spread evenly on the oven tray, filling the gaps between pumpkin and bake for 35 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and golden.
To make the dukkah, place the cumin and coriander in a small frying pan and toast over medium heat for 1–2 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally, or until aromatic. Transfer to a mortar and pestle or small food processor and grind until finely ground. Add the pine nuts to the pan and toast in the same way as the spices until golden. Add to the toasted spices and pound or pulse until roughly chopped (do not over-process or it will form a paste). Transfer to a small bowl, add the sesame seeds and salt, if using, and stir to combine.
To make the yoghurt sauce, mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Stir through 1 tablespoon water to thin to drizzling consistency, if desired.
Sprinkle roasted vegetables with the dukkah and serve with the sauce.

Per serve
780 kJ/ 186 calories; 8 g protein; 10 g fat (includes 1.3 g saturated fat; saturated:unsaturated fat ratio 0.15); 15 g available carbs; 5 g fibre

Baker’s tips
The dukkah will keep in an airtight container or jar in the fridge for up to 1 month. 
The yoghurt sauce can be made up to 3 days head of serving. Keep covered in the fridge.

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.


Little Cabbage ‘Suitcases’ (Valigini)
‘Valigini’ means ‘little suitcases’ in Italian. That’s what my mother-in-law called this recipe because of the way the cabbage leaves enclose the meat filling. You may be surprised to find ground nutmeg mixed in with chopped meat but wait until you taste this combination – you’ll love it! In northern Italy, nutmeg partners well with a variety of ingredients. Instead of steamed cabbage leaves, try putting this mixture into the cavity of steamed zucchini, sliced lengthwise with pulp removed. Makes 12, serves 6 (2 valigini per person).

12 savoy cabbage leaves (carefully removed from base of cabbage)
1lb (450g) 90% lean chopped meat
7 large sprigs parsley, leaves only
1 large celery stalk, thinly sliced
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp nutmeg
½ cup plain bread crumbs
½ cup grated parmigiano reggiano cheese

Little Cabbage ‘Suitcases’

Wash and steam the cabbage leaves for 2–3 minutes or until they appear wilted. Set aside.
Place the chopped meat in the bowl of a food processor and pulse for 15 seconds (25 pulses). Add the parsley and celery and process for another 15 seconds.
In a large, heavy skillet heat the oil and garlic, add the meat mixture (press with fork to break up mixture into very small crumbled pieces) and sauté for 5 minutes on medium-high heat taking care it doesn’t burn. Add in the spices and mix well. Return the meat mixture to a clean food processor bowl. Whiz for 1 minute adding the breadcrumbs and grated cheese through the food tube as it is processing.
Line up the cooked cabbage leaves on the counter, place a rounded tablespoon of the meat mixture (about 1¼ oz/35 g) on the lower half of each leaf and gently roll up, taking care to close in sides as you roll. Secure with a toothpick.
Add ½–1 cup homemade tomato sauce to a large Dutch oven or sturdy casserole and heat gently. Arrange the pieces to cover the bottom. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, turning each piece over after 7–8 minutes. Serve hot.

Per serve (2 pieces) 
Energy: 1268kJ/ 302 cals; Protein 25g; Fat 17g (includes 6g saturated fat; saturated:unsaturated fat ratio 0.55); Available carbohydrate 9g; Fibre 3g

Putting the Fun Back into Fitness

Let’s Go Surfing!
Ever wanted to try surfing but been too intimidated by waves, other surfers, or a general lack of know how? Don’t be! There are a great number of excellent surf schools out there and wonderful, passionate surfing instructors who know exactly how to get you into the water and standing on the board in just one lesson!

That was me a year ago. Intimidated. Having grown up by the beach, I was embarrassed to admit to a fear of waves, even rather piddling-sized ones. But a friend signed me up (the same friend who signed me up for a half-marathon mind!) and encouraged me to take those first steps. It was fantastic. We were in the water most of the time, but also on the sand, learning important things like how to read the current and how to stand up on the board correctly for best balance and stability. We also started with some stretching and strengthening exercises to prepare our bodies as surfing is a full body workout. It is not only about riding a wave, but also carrying the board and paddling it out from the break. A surf lesson is two hours of non stop physical activity which just feels like fun. I asked Craig Wachholtz, who runs Let’s Go Surfing at Bondi Beach, a few questions about teaching surfing.

Surfing at Bondi

What is the age range of your students? We say 7–70 years!! However we have had a few sneaky 4-year-olds and one fit 85-year-old!
How many people are there in a group lesson? Most surf schools have big group numbers. Our ratio at Bondi is generally 1:5 coach to student or you can request a private lesson for more specific instruction.
What is the first thing you teach about surfing? Have fun. Then have more fun. Then think about safety and respecting the ocean and your abilities, other surfers and swimmers and sea creatures; then we move onto actual techniques etc. paddling, standing, falling, catching waves etc.
How people can prepare themselves physically for surfing? Any exercise is good exercise but for surfing, swimming, paddling, push-ups, sit-ups, even running or walking are all good; a bit of yoga is great as well. But the best thing for surfing is surfing!
What fitness levels are appropriate to surfing? Surfing helps get you fit. It’s a workout in the water. Of course our instructors are extremely fit water men and women, but you can have fun at any fitness level challenging yourself.
Does your physical size matter? Anyone can try it and give it a go. Of course the fitter you are the easier it might be to master. However if you are challenged early on, you can simply start out lying down on a board catching a wave (like a body board) and then progress as you get stronger, fitter, wiser to standing. Basically if you can get to your feet on dry land, you can get to your feet in the surf (with a bit more difficulty).
What are some of the things people enjoy most about surfing? Its laid-back life-style, and the spiritual nature of immersing oneself in the ocean. It’s relaxing – you certainly get in the moment. It’s a fitness activity that doesn’t feel like it is; it’s a sport so you can get competitive if you like; it’s a social activity have a surf with new friends and have a natter! It makes you hungry for more. It’s challenging and helps you overcome fears and doubts.
Emma Sandall runs (with Peta Green) Body Playground, an online space for discovering how to put the fun back into your fitness routines. For tips on stretching or to learn a nice sequence you can do any time, any place, check out Vimeo.

Update with Dr Alan Barclay

Alan Barclay
Dr Alan Barclay

Making healthy choices, easy choices.  
For our overall health and wellbeing, our bodies need a wide variety of essential nutrients including proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, etc. Apart from breast milk, no one food or drink offers the lot. That’s why it’s important to consume a wide variety of foods and drinks to make sure we are getting all the nutrients our bodies need to grow and thrive. This is where overall dietary patterns come into the picture. And what history shows us is that it’s not about the latest fad, there are numerous ways to achieve good nutrition.

Over thousands of years, successful (and very different) dietary patterns that we now know are associated with a low risk of chronic disease have evolved in different parts of the world. For example, the traditional Mediterranean and Japanese diets are both associated with a long and healthy life, but the former is relatively high in fat whereas the latter, like most Asian diets, is very high in carbohydrate and low in fat. This suggests that our modern tendency to focus on a particular nutrient may not be a useful way to describe a “good diet” – a low fat diet is not necessarily ideal for everyone, and neither is a high carbohydrate diet. When choosing foods, drinks and overall dietary patterns, personal, cultural and genetic factors need to be taken into account.

Today’s challenge is that our food environment is very different from anything humans have had to deal with in the past. Tradition doesn’t help us make good choices in supermarkets packed with processed, packaged foods. We didn’t have to read labels in the past. Enter nutrient profiling models. “Nutrient profilers” are increasingly used worldwide to help consumers choose all-round healthy foods and drinks. Food Standards Australia New Zealand has developed one for health claims; and a more sophisticated model is being developed for front-of-pack labelling. These Australian models do incorporate a wide range of essential nutrients; but they do not take GI into account, so don’t necessarily help people with diabetes for example, make the best carbohydrate choices.

That’s why the GI Symbol Program developed its own nutrient profiler based on key nutrients such as energy (kilojoules/Calories), total and saturated fat (and their ratio), carbohydrate, sodium and dietary fibre and calcium where appropriate. In order to be eligible to carry the GI Symbol on pack, foods and drinks must meet category-specific requirements and be low GI, ensuring that that they are all-round healthy choices. The GI Symbol Program’s nutrient criteria are also consistent with FSANZ’s nutrient profiler.

New GI Symbol

If you use the “swap it” principle, you can choose a healthier low GI alternative within each food group or category. This approach allows you to enjoy a healthy diet that is consistent with your own personal and cultural food preferences, and it shouldn’t cost you anymore at the checkout either. Indeed, healthy low GI diets can be developed and enjoyed for a whole range of popular eating patterns including the Mediterranean, South East Asian, Indian, as well as “Western” diets. It is therefore easy to enjoy a healthy low GI diet and reap the long term health benefits, wherever you live in the world, and whatever your food and drink preferences.

For more information about the GI Symbol Program
Dr Alan W Barclay, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer
Glycemic Index Foundation (Ltd)
Email: alan.barclay@gisymbol.com
Website: www.gisymbol.com

For more information about GI testing in Australia
Fiona Atkinson
Research Manager, Sydney University Glycemic Index Research Service (SUGiRS)
Email sugirs@mmb.usyd.edu.au
Web www.glycemicindex.com

Q&A with Jennie Brand-Miller

Prof Jennie Brand-Miller answers your questions. 


I want to make my own hot cross buns this year, which flour has the lowest GI value and do you have a low GI recipe for making them? 
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 70-gram portions (that’s nearly 2.5 ounces) of flour! What we do know, however, is that bakery products made from highly refined flour whether it’s white or wholemeal are quickly digested and absorbed. What should you do baking your own buns? 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 muesli, All-Bran or unprocessed bran. But even we don’t find low GI baking easy. However, the great thing about home baking is you get to decide on the portion size.
Hot cross bun

Here’s a recipe for Hot Cross Buns that Ali Roberts created for us. We tested these buns here at SUGiRS and found that even with pysillium and dried fruit, they still had a moderate GI value (66). If you want to make a batch, note that this recipe uses the Australian 20ml tablespoon. If you have a 15ml tablespoon, you will need to add 2 extra teaspoons of the psyllium, caster sugar and golden syrup. It makes 26 medium-sized buns.

Buns: 3 cups 00 flour; 1-1/3 cups wholemeal plain flour; 1 cup wholemeal spelt flour; 2 tbsp pysllium; 2 tbsp caster sugar; 4 tsp dried yeast; 3 tsp mixed spice; 200g (7oz) raisins, finely chopped; 1¾ cups reduced-fat milk; 60g (2oz) 40% reduced-fat margarine; 2 tbsp golden syrup; 1 small egg; cooking spray, for greasing; 1 extra small egg, lightly whisked, for brushing
Paste: 1/3 cup 00 flour; 2½–3 tbsp water
Glaze: 1/3 cup 100% fruit spread; 1/3 cup water

Combine the 00 flour, plain flour, spelt flour, pysllium, sugar, yeast and spice in a large bowl. Stir in the raisins. Heat the milk, margarine and golden syrup in a small saucepan until the margarine melts and the mixture is lukewarm. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the egg. Add to the dry ingredients and mix to a soft dough. • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and prove in a warm, draught-free place for 45 minutes or until the dough doubles in size. • Preheat oven to 180C/350F (fan-forced). Spray a swiss roll pan or large baking tray with cooking spray. Punch down the dough with your fist and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 2 minutes or until the dough returns to its original size. Divide the dough into 18 equal portions. Knead each portion into a ball and place close together in the pan. Cover with a damp tea towel and set aside for 20 minutes to prove or until buns rise up and touch each other. • To make the paste, place the flour and water in a small bowl. Beat until smooth, until a little more water if the paste is too thick then spoon into a small plastic bag. Brush the tops of the buns with a little egg. Snip a small hole in the corner of the bag and pipe the flour paste to form crosses over the buns. Bake the buns for 25–30 minutes, or until they are cooked through and golden brown. • To make the glaze, put the fruit spread and water in a small saucepan. Stir over low heat until the spread melts. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until the mixture reduces and thickens. Pour through a fine sieve into a small bowl. • Turn the hot cross buns out onto a wire rack. Brush the tops of the buns with the glaze and set aside to cool.

(Per bun: Energy: 730kJ/175cals; Protein 5g; Fat 2.6g (includes 0.6g saturated fat and 13mg cholesterol); Available carbohydrate 32g; Fibre 3g)

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