1 July 2014

GI News—July 2014


  • Pre-diabetes: Prof. Jennie Brand-Miller answers your questions;
  • Why fermented foods like yoghurt are low GI; 
  • Homemade spelt and wattleseed flour bread; 
  • Canola bread diet reduces BGLs and LDL cholesterol;
  • Nicole Senior checks out the benefits of yoghurt and Anneka Manning whips up a batch of fruity-yoghurt muffins; 
  • Taste Planner's black rice salad with pork and cashews; 
  • Karate keeps you fit and active.  
GI News 
Editor: Philippa Sandall
Management and design: Alan Barclay, PhD
Contact: info@gisymbol.com
Technical problems or faults: smb.ginewstech@sydney.edu.au
GI testing: sugirs.manager@sydney.edu.au

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Food for Thought

Watch out for Weight Creep. 
Struggling to zip up your favourite jeans? Join the ever-expanding Weight Creep Club. For most people, weight gain isn’t a sudden event. It is very gradual. From our mid-to-late twenties, most of us notice the numbers on the scale edging up, typically around a pound or 450 grams a year. A pound doesn’t sound like anything to be too concerned about. But the pounds add up. Suddenly it’s 10 years on and you’re 10 pounds (about 4 kilograms) heavier thanks the weight-creepy combo of aging, a sedentary lifestyle, no time for exercise, too much stress and too little sleep, accompanied by a healthy appetite to power you through your busy day.

Despite our fast-paced lives with work, family and social commitments, the pace inside us slows down with the passing decades – our metabolic rate slows and we start to lose our metabolically active (i.e. calorie-crunching) lean muscle mass. This is when we start gaining weight and increasing our risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and some cancers (breast and bowel). So, 10 pounds is something to be concerned about.

Carrying extra body fat around the waist tends to go hand in hand with type 2 diabetes. Like weight creep, it doesn’t happen overnight. Before people develop type 2 diabetes, they have pre-diabetes – blood glucose levels that are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.

Pre-diabetes has no clear symptoms. It just creeps up as weight creeps up. Left untreated, it can develop into type 2 diabetes along with the risk of complications associated with diabetes such as heart attacks and stroke. The good news is that clinical trials have shown that three out of five people with pre-diabetes can avoid type 2 diabetes by improving their diet, becoming more active and losing a bit of weight. But this isn’t a quick, “all-better-now” fix. It’s ongoing. Staying motivated and keeping the weight off matters to keep diabetes at bay. Regaining lost weight through weight creep is very common among people with pre-diabetes.

Modestly increasing protein content and modestly reducing overall dietary GI helped overweight men and women, who had undergone recent major weight loss, to maintain their lower weight, was the key finding of the landmark Diogenes Study.  The researchers reported that both lower GI diets and higher-protein diets were equally effective in preventing weight regain. But that people in the group which combined both lower GI and higher-protein strategies continued to lose weight over the 26 weeks of the study.

This original Diogenes study was just six months. Now the researchers are looking longer term with the 3-year international PREVIEW Study. “Its primary goal is to identify the most efficient lifestyle intervention pattern for preventing type 2 diabetes in people who are pre-diabetic overweight or obese (i.e. at high risk),” says Prof Jennie Brand-Miller. “The aim of this study is to find out the best methods (which diet, which exercise strategy and behavioural modification) of maintaining weight loss and keeping type 2 diabetes at bay. Volunteers for this study will have their own team of professionals dedicated to their weight loss and weight loss maintenance, all free of charge.”

The University of Sydney, one of eight sites around the world taking part in the study, is recruiting participants now. If you are interested in taking part, see below for details for applying or for finding out more about it.

Preview poster

What's new?

ICEMAN and the blood glucose benefits of keeping cool.
Studies by endocrinologist Dr Paul Lee from Sydney's Garvan Institute of Medical Research have shown that people with plentiful brown fat stores tend to be lean and have low blood glucose levels. His recent ICEMAN study in Diabetes demonstrates that ambient temperatures can influence the growth or loss of brown fat in people. Cool environments stimulate growth, warm environments loss.

Dr Paul Lee

Brown fat, also known as brown adipose tissue, is a special kind of fat that burns energy to generate heat. It keeps small animals and babies warm, and animals with abundant brown fat are protected from diabetes and obesity. For the ICEMAN study, 5 healthy men were recruited and exposed to four, month-long periods of defined temperature – well within the range in climate-controlled buildings – at the NIH Clinical Centre. They lived their normal lives during the day, and returned each night to the centre, staying for at least 10 hours in a temperature-regulated room. Baseline temperature was established in Month 1 (24ºC), a “thermo-neutral” temperature at which the body does not have to work to produce or lose heat.

“What we found was that the cold month (Month 2: 19ºC) increased brown fat by around 30–40%. During the second thermo-neutral month (Month 3) at 24 degrees, the brown fat dropped back, returning to baseline. When we put the temperature up to 27 degrees during the fourth month, the volume of brown fat fell to below that of baseline,” says Lee. Among the metabolic benefits of increased brown fat was heightened insulin sensitivity. This suggests that people with more brown fat require less insulin after a meal to bring their blood sugar levels down.

"The improvement in insulin sensitivity accompanying brown fat gain may open new avenues in the treatment of impaired glucose metabolism in the future. On the other hand, the reduction in mild cold exposure from widespread central heating in contemporary society may impair brown fat function and may be a hidden contributor to obesity and metabolic disorders," Lee said. "So in addition to unhealthy diet and physical inactivity, it is tempting to speculate that the subtle shift in temperature exposure could be a contributing factor to the rise in obesity.”

It’s only a small, short-term study but we think the results are interesting and make sense. It would be good to see a larger, longer term follow up study.

Canola bread diet reduces BGLs and LDL cholesterol. 
A number of studies in recent years have linked low GI diets with a reduction in both type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular events, and have shown monounsaturated fats such as canola and olive oil reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease. A new study published in Diabetes Care puts the two together. The research team led by Dr David Jenkins, compared people with type 2 diabetes who ate either a low GI diet that included bread made with canola oil, or a wholewheat diet known to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. The volunteers on the canola bread diet experienced both a reduction in blood glucose levels and a significant reduction in LDL or “bad” cholesterol. “Even more exciting,” says Dr Jenkins, “was the finding that the canola bread diet seemed to have the most significant impact on people who needed help the most – those whose HbA1c test measuring blood glucose over the previous two or three months was highest.”

Azmina’s tips for safe fasting during Ramadan. 
People with diabetes who wish to fast need to be careful says leading UK dietitian Azmina Govindji. ‘The reason why you need to take care is that some drugs used to treat type 2 diabetes (e.g., sulphonylureas) and insulin can make your blood glucose level drop too low when you are not eating. Not drinking enough water can also make you dehydrated. Often the evening meal, Iftar, contains lots of carbs (starches and sugars) and perhaps sugary drinks. Because this is a time when families eat together to break the fast, the food is richer than you may be eating normally. And you may feel having fasted all day long you have an excuse to reward yourself. You need to be particularly strong willed at this time.’ Here’s Azmina’s checklist for safe fasting:

  • Seek the advice of your healthcare team before starting and at the end of the fast, since they may advise you to change the times or amount of medication you take.
  • Do not stop taking your medication.
  • Avoid eating lots of unhealthy foods as a reward!
  • Try and maintain a healthy eating pattern after you break the fast. Make sure that you have lots of fruit and vegetables and dal as these are slowly digested and help your blood glucose to rise more slowly too.
  • Remember to drink plenty of fluids.
  • Divide your daily food intake into two equal portions, one to be taken at Sehri and one at Iftar
  • Remember to check your glucose level regularly, at least once a day at different times of the day.
  • After the period of Ramadan, visit your doctor for a checkup. 
Here is an article Azmina recommends if you need more information. 

Warrigal greens: matching bush tucker with store-bought food. 
Over the next few months, Kerith Duncanson and the team from the Nutraditions project in Worimi and Biripi country on the New South Wales Mid North Coast (Australia) will look at some contemporary equivalents to traditional “bush tucker” foods in the Aboriginal diet.
    Warrigal greens

    Warrigal greens or New Zealand spinach (Tetragonia tetragonoides) is a sprawling groundcover with edible soft stems and light green, heart-shaped leaves that must be cooked or blanched in boiling water before eating because of their high oxalate content. (Don’t use the water – tip it out.) The leaves are rich in antioxidants, iron and in vitamin C (which helps us absorb iron from plants). This was the green “veg” that Captain Cook spotted, picked, cooked and pickled to help fight scurvy on HMS Endeavour; Joseph Banks took seeds back to Kew thus giving warrigal greens to the world; and early settlers used it as a substitute for spinach. You are unlikely to find them in the supermarket or local produce market, but they are very easy to grow in the right conditions (moist, reasonably drained soils in the sun or partial shade) – they don't require much water or attention. Propagate from an existing plant or pick up a packet of seeds for ground cover in a sunny garden that also provides a tasty, nourishing food source. The closest store-bought equivalent is Chinese cabbage, although rocket, kale, spinach and baby spinach have similar nutritional profiles.

    Use warrigal greens as an alternative to spinach or kale in soups, stirfries, frittatas and omelets and recipes such as warrigal greens pie, spinach and warrigal green gnocchi or whip up this dish of Warrigal Greens and Ricotta Cannelloni. 
    Ingredients: ½ small butternut pumpkin; 1 onion, finely diced; 2 tablespoons crushed garlic; 1 cup cooked and drained warrigal greens; 1 packet fresh lasagne or cannelloni sheets; 250g (½lb)  tub ricotta cheese; 500g (1lb) tomato pasta sauce; 1 cup grated light cheese
    Method: Chop pumpkin into 1cm (½in) thick slices and roast in a preheated oven on an oiled baking tray. When cooked, cool, remove skin and dice flesh • Sauté onion and crushed garlic in olive oil in a large pan. Add pumpkin and greens. Combine thoroughly • Lay out lasagne sheet and cut into 10cm (4in) wide strips • Spoon a heaped tablespoon of spinach mixture along the middle of the sheet. Top with a tablespoon of ricotta. Roll lasagne up and place in a baking tray. Repeat until mixture used up • Drizzle over the tomato pasta sauce and top with grated cheese. Cook in a pre-heated (180oC/350F) oven for 20 minutes or until done (most of the sauce will have evaporated). Serve hot or warm with salad. 
    Where to buy? Ask your fresh produce store if they can get them for you or check out local farmers’ markets. Alternatively, you can buy them online from bush food stockists such as Something Wild and Outback Chef.

    Healthy Kids Lunch Boxes: Baking Classes.  
    BakeClub Anneka Manning runs these demonstration classes three or four times a year. We were going to tell you about the one in July in Sydney (Australia), but it has already sold out. The next class is 18 October 2014. In these classes, Anneka compares store-bought muffins, muesli bars, biscuits and loaves with  home-baked, better-for-you versions, talks about the problem ingredients to look out for when packing lunches and shows you how easy it is to fill lunch boxes with healthy sweet and savoury alternatives, that also make great after-school snacks before the kids head off for sports practice.You can find out more about the classes and sign up for Anneka's free monthly newsletter here.

    Nicole's Taste of Health

    It’s a cultural thing. 
    I’ve always been interesting in all aspects of food and I remember as a teenager winning a family trivia game knowing that Lactobaccilus acidophilus was the technical term for yoghurt. I remember my Dad being very impressed! Of course it is actually the name of a kind of bacteria (culture) that feeds on the natural lactose sugar in milk and turns it into lactic acid, giving yoghurt its characteristic fermented sour taste and thickened texture. But more than that, the beneficial bacterial cultures in yoghurt turn a nutrient-rich food (milk) into an even better one by making it easier to digest and promoting health by restoring levels of beneficial probiotic bacteria in the gut.


    Yoghurt is a very old food, familiar in many traditional cultures back to medieval times and thought to have spontaneously occurred while carrying milk in goatskin bags. Since then yoghurt production has taken off in a big way around the world, starting in Europe and then in the USA by health enthusiasts including Harvey Kellogg. The many brightly coloured, super sweet yoghurts of today are quite different to the original, with many relying on thickeners to achieve the right texture. Try mixing plain and flavoured yoghurt together to ease off the sweetness, especially for babies and toddlers. If you’re serious about authentic yoghurt try making your own with a kit – they are easily available and easy to use (and save you money and reduce packaging). You simply add the culture to warmed milk and let the little friendly bugs do their thing.

    Otherwise, look for products with live cultures, a minimum of additives and large containers (you can dish out portions into sealable containers for the lunchbox). I’m a big fan of Greek-style yoghurt, and especially those that are strained so they’re naturally thicker and higher in protein. These products have beautiful mouth-feel and flavour as well as better cooking properties, although all yoghurts are best added after cooking or at the last minute rather than cook in the dish as they will separate. Do be selective with Greek-style yoghurts as many are not strained and have cream added instead giving them quite a whack of saturated fat, which is fine if you’re just using it for topping instead of cream or sour cream but less fine if you’re eating larger amounts on its own.

    Yoghurt is a great source of calcium for healthy bones and also contains significant amounts of vitamins A, B12 and riboflavin, as well as minerals including phosphorous, potassium, magnesium and zinc.  Yoghurt contains lower levels of lactose than milk due to the action of bacterial cultures and is better tolerated by people with lactose intolerance.

    Frozen yoghurt (‘Fro-yo’ for short) is really popular with chain stores popping up like mushrooms after rain. With all the colourful, sweet and rich toppings including cookie bits, cookie dough, jelly beans, chocolate, toffee and miniature versions of popular chocolate bars, the original low-fat yoghurt base loses its healthy food credibility and is more like a dessert treat than an everyday food. If you’re really into it you could make your own using the new Frozen Yoghurt cookbook by Constance and Mathilde De Lorenzi (Murdoch Books), however like the chain store versions stick to fruit and nut toppings for everyday eating. And if you’re wondering, you don’t need an ice cream maker to do it, and you can use any yoghurt to make frozen yoghurt (I was amazed just how much I learned about frozen yoghurt from this fun book).

    I love yoghurt at breakfast, and enjoy a generous dollop on top of porridge or muesli along with some nuts and a drizzle of honey or date syrup. Yoghurt with honey was known in ancient India as the food of the gods but I add fresh walnuts or macadamias on top to make it truly divine. Its great added to fruit and milk to make smoothies, or as a topping on desserts. It’s also the perfect satisfying snack to get you through to your next meal. In the popular diet book ‘French Women don’t get fat’ (which is a myth because they do), author Mireille Guiliano sings the praises of a spoon or two of plain yoghurt to banish hunger. She may be onto something because several studies have shown eating yoghurt is associated with reduced risk of weight gain and obesity: the very large Harvard cohort studies; and the Spanish SUN study. Perhaps it is because of the good balance between carbohydrate and protein, and the low GI of yoghurt that helps achieve this? The findings of the Diogenes study would certainly support it because they found the best diet for ongoing maintenance of weight loss was higher in protein and lower GI. Of course weight loss never results from eating more food than you need (even yoghurt), but eating healthy foods like yoghurt may help you fit more nutrition into fewer kilojoules (calories).

    Of course natural (unflavoured) yoghurt can be a star in savoury dishes as well. It makes a great base for dips, such as eggplant baba ganoush, or cucumber raita, not to mention beetroot kiz guzeli. Pumpkin soup lovers will know the pleasures of a dollop of yoghurt on top, as will those who enjoy the cooling and creamy addition on Indian curries. However you have it, eating yoghurt on a regular basis is an enjoyable and healthy habit. Go on, get cultured! 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

    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.

     Anneka Manning

    Banana and Blueberry Yoghurt Muffins 
    The yoghurt in these muffins adds both a wonderful subtle flavour as well as moisture to these fruit-laden muffins. Great for a snack, you can also make them with other types of frozen berries and gluten-free flours (see Baker's Tips below). Recipe and photo copyright Anneka Manning.

    • Makes 12
    • Preparation time: 20 minutes
    • Baking time: 25-28 minutes 
    2 cups plain wholemeal flour (320g)
    1 tbsp baking powder
    2 tsp ground cinnamon
    ¾ cup raw caster sugar (165g)
    2⁄3 cup shredded coconut (50g)
    200g (7oz) frozen blueberries (see Baker’s Tips)
    ¾ cup Greek-style natural yoghurt (200g)
    1/3 cup light olive oil, safflower or sunflower oil 
    2 eggs, at room temperature
    1½ tsp natural vanilla extract or essence
    2 large (about 375g/12oz) ripe bananas
    1 tsp icing sugar (optional), to dust

    Banana and Blueberry Yoghurt Muffins

    Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F. Line 12 x ½-cup muffin tray holes with muffin paper cases.
    Sift together the flour, the baking powder and cinnamon into a large mixing bowl, returning any husks left in the sieve to the bowl. Stir in the sugar and coconut. Gently stir in the frozen blueberries. Make a well in the centre.
    Use a fork to whisk together the yoghurt, oil, eggs and vanilla in a bowl. Mash the bananas and stir into the yoghurt mixture. Add to the flour mixture and use a spatula or large metal spoon to fold together until just combined. (Don’t overmix – the batter should still be a little lumpy.)
    Spoon the mixture into the paper cases, dividing evenly. Bake in preheated oven for 25–28 minutes or until the muffins are golden and cooked when tested with a skewer.  Cool for 3 minutes in the tin, then turn out onto a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature dusted with icing sugar if you wish.

    Baker’s Tips 
    • There’s no need to thaw the frozen blueberries before using 
them in this recipe.
    • You can replace the blueberries with frozen blackberries, raspberries or mixed berries.
    • These muffins are best eaten the day they are baked, however 
they freeze well – wrap individually in plastic wrap and then seal in a plastic bag or airtight container. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature.
    • To make gluten-free muffins: Replace the wholemeal plain flour with 200g brown rice flour, 30g quinoa flour and 30g arrowroot. 
    Per serve (without icing sugar)
    1225kJ/ 290 calories; 6g protein; 11g fat (includes 4g saturated fat; saturated : unsaturated fat ratio 0.57); 40g available carbs (includes 22g sugars and 18g starch); 5g fibre

    Cooking with Supergrains author, Chrissy Freer 
    I adapted my Seeded Spelt Bread recipe from Supergrains to incorporate wattleseed flour and make this lower GI, dense, delicious loaf. Wattleseeds (Acacia coriacea) are legumes and like other legumes they are extremely nutritious, have a low GI and are high in protein and fibre. When Prof Jennie Brand-Miller and Sydney University researchers substituted 18% of the wholemeal (wholewheat) flour in bread for wattleseed flour, they found that it significantly lowered both glucose and insulin responses. Their bread had a GI value of 46.

    Homemade spelt and wattleseed bread. 
    I like to use spelt flour for bread making as it is higher in protein than regular flour. However, unlike regular wheat flour, it is important not to over-knead the dough as the gluten starts to break down.
    • Makes: 1 loaf (approximately 12–14 slices)
    • Preparation time: 20 minutes
    • Cooking time: 35 minutes, plus 1 hour 20 minutes rising time 
    1 tbsp honey
    2½ cups white spelt flour (375g)
    300ml tepid water (about 1¼ cups or 10½fl oz))
    7g sachet dried yeast (¼oz)
    1 tsp salt
    ½ cup wattleseed flour (90g/3oz)
    2 tsp sesame seeds
    2 tsp linseeds
    2 tbsp rolled (porridge) oats, plus extra to sprinkle
    1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to grease

    Homemade spelt and wattleseed bread

    To make the dough, place the honey, half a cup of the spelt flour and the water in a small bowl, and whisk to combine. Sprinkle with the yeast and set aside for 10 minutes, by which time it should start to bubble and foam.
    Sift the remaining flour and salt into a large bowl, stir through the wattle seed flour, sesame seeds, linseeds, and oats. Add the yeast mixture and olive oil. Stir with a wooden spoon, then use your hands to bring the mixture together to form a ball, adding a little more water or flour if necessary.
    Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work bench and knead for 3-4 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Lightly grease a large clean bowl, place the dough in the bowl and spread a little extra oil on the top to prevent a crust forming. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave to rise in a warm, draught free place for 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
    Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F or 160°C/320°F fan-forced, brush a 10x20cm/4inx8in (base measurement) loaf tin with oil. Punch the dough down with your fist, shape dough into a 20cm log and place into prepared tin. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place until doubled in size, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle top with extra oats.
    Bake bread for 30–35 minutes, or until golden brown and loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Cover loaf with foil if top is browning too quickly. Remove loaf from tin and set aside to cool on a wire rack. This bread is suitable to freeze, cut into slices and individually wrap.

    Per slice (based on 14 slices)
    630kJ/ 150 calories; 5.5 g protein; 3g fat (includes 0.3g saturated fat; saturated : unsaturated fat ratio 0.14); 24g available carbs (includes 4g sugars and 20g starch); 4 g fibre

    • You can buy wild-harvested wattleseed flour (A. victoriae) from Lyle Dudley of Bushfood Australia.
    • Supergrains (Murdoch Books/Random House) is available from good bookshops and online.
    Meal planning made easy with Taste Planner. 
    Taste Planner provides personalised meal plans including diabetes-friendly plans that you can access on your mobile (cell), laptop, desktop or tablet. They are offering GI News readers a 28-day free trial plus 24 weeks with 50% off. After your free trial subscription period, you would pay $3.98 every 28 days for meal plans. Enter coupon code GINEWS on the payment details page to redeem your 50% discount. Get a taste of Taste Planner with Chrissy Freer’s tangy black rice salad. Recipe and photo courtesy www.taste.com.au.

    Black rice salad with pork and cashews 
    This salad has a fresh citrus and ginger dressing. We made ours with organic "low GI" Forbidden Black Rice. See Product News below for more information. Serves 4.

    1 cup “low GI” black rice
    4 (about 125g/4oz each) pork loin steaks, excess fat trimmed
    150g/5oz sugar snap peas (see note), blanched
    150g/5oz snow peas, thinly sliced, blanched
    100g3½oz baby spinach leaves
    30g/1oz roasted cashews
    2 tbsp (40ml) chopped fresh chives
    2 tbsp (40ml) orange juice
    1 tbsp (20ml) lime juice
    2 tsp white balsamic vinegar
    2 tsp honey
    1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger

    Black rice salad with pork and cashews

    Cook the rice in a large saucepan of boiling water for 30-35 minutes or until just tender. Drain. While the rice is cooking ...
    Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Spray with oil. Cook the pork for 4–5 minutes each side or until golden and just cooked through. Transfer to a clean chopping board. Cover loosely with foil and set aside for 2¬3 minutes to rest.
    Thinly slice the pork. Place the rice, sugar snap peas, snow peas, spinach cashews and chives in a large bowl. Whisk the orange juice, lime juice, vinegar, honey and ginger in a small bowl. Add dressing and pork to the salad and gently toss to combine.

    Per serve
    1625kJ/385 calories; 37g protein; 7.5g fat (includes 1.5g saturated fat; saturated : unsaturated fat ratio 0.25); 33g available carbs; 8g fibre

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


    Chocolate Raspberry Almond Smoothie. 
    Here is a quick, delicious, nutritious and low GI homerun to start the day.  You can change around the fruit and the nuts.  Pinoli (pine nuts) and hazelnuts are my choices when I’m in Italy.  My son, Matteo, has just planted raspberry bushes behind his house, so I’ll probably stick with the raspberries this season. Servings: 2 (about 1 cup each).

    4oz/120g) nonfat plain yogurt
    ½ cup nonfat milk
    ½ tsp vanilla
    1 cup fresh raspberries
    2 tbsp cocoa powder
    1 tbsp honey
    1oz/30g raw almonds, very finely chopped to a paste

    Chocolate Raspberry Almond Smoothie

    Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a blender.  Blend for 1 minute or until smooth.  Pour into two tall glasses and serve immediately.

    Per serve 
    900kJ/ 225 calories; 9g protein; 8g fat (includes less than 1g saturated fat; saturated : unsaturated fat ratio 0.14); 27g available carbs; 6g fibre

    Emma Sandall Looks at Putting the Fun Back into Fitness

    IKO Goju Ryo karate: A complete mind-body workout. 
    Recently I met and filmed Sydney-based karate teacher Pete McGuire. It was a fascinating experience for me, an ex-dancer, because the movements and training are so familiar – except that their purpose is fundamentally different. Where dancers learn and practice patterns of movement to entertain an audience, karate practitioners practice them to fight an opponent. What I observed was beautiful – fluid, rhythmic and articulate; strong, powerful and obviously quite addictive. Watching Pete made me feel the same way I felt after watching the 1984 film Karate Kid – my brother and I left the cinema and practiced the moves we saw all the way home, and probably for days after. I asked Pete about karate and what inspired him to begin …

    Pete McGuire
    Pete McGuire
    What sorts of people are drawn to karate? Karate attracts men and women from all walks of life. It really has no age limit – we have people starting  at age 5 and at 55. It allows people to train well into their 80s and 90s or older and combine all aspects of functional movement and achieve good physical condition. I commenced training in IKO Goju Ryu Karate in 1978 and I have continued training to this day, enjoying it as much as ever.
    How does karate influence your everyday life? I enjoy the discipline for both mind and body. This allows me to be very focused in my work and personal life. It’s wonderful fitness for all ages, and offers a complete body and mind workout.
    What led you to karate? I was thirteen and the Bruce Lee boom was sweeping the world. I vividly remember my first class on the 20 October 1973 (the day the Sydney Opera House officially opened). I went to a studio where there were more than 50 students training. It was very crowded, but I learned some techniques and I was hooked from that day.
    How long did it take you to achieve your current rank? I was recently graded to 6th Dan – “Renshi Shihan” and it takes approximately 4 years to achieve 1st Dan Black belt and then a further 2 years for 2nd Dan and then a further 3 years for 3rd Dan and then a further 4 years for 4th Dan and then a further 5 years for 5th Dan and then a further 6 years for 6th Dan. 
    What do you like most about teaching karate? I enjoy sharing knowledge with students and watching them improve and build new skill sets that they can use in their everyday life. Our classes include aerobic conditioning, functional movement, pilates and yoga as well as karate.
    What differentiates karate from other martial arts? Karate is an “open hand” art. It is functional in its movements and incorporates jiu jitsu, takedowns and throws, punches and kicks. It was introduced to Okinawa from mainland China more than 100 years ago.
    Do you take part in actual fights? Karate is a martial art designed to protect you in a manner that would “hopefully” allow you to get out of trouble or use to protect yourself and loved ones. We do have “kumite,” which is fighting or sparring and this can be non-contact, semi-contact and full-contact. As with any contact sport, there are injuries.
    What is IKO Goju Ryo karate? The IKO originated in Tokyo. Its founders were senior students of Gogen Yamaguchi Sensei of the Goju-Kai Karate. The masters of the IKO are 60-year veterans of the art and are graded to the highest level attainable -- 10th Dan. It is a global association. In Australia we have 5 branches and senior grades from 5th–9th Dan. Our senior instructors each have more than 35 + years’ experience and are highly regarded in the karate world.

    Emma Sandall is an ex-ballerina turned fitness and health guru. She teaches and coaches dance, fitness and Pilates and writes and produces video for all things movement related. Emma owns Body Playground, a space to activate and inspire body and soul. Email: emma@bodyplayground.com.au

    Update with Dr Alan Barclay

    Alan Barclay
    Dr Alan Barclay
    Why fermented foods and drinks are so good for our health. 
    Long before the invention of canning and refrigeration, people around the world fermented foods and drinks to preserve them for later use. Through trial and error over thousands of years, our ancestors worked out which bacteria and/or yeasts (microorganisms) would turn excess produce into delicious, nutritious foods and drinks they could enjoy all year round. Yoghurt, cheese, olives, pickles, bread, soy sauce, beer and wine are very common examples that many of us take for granted when we do our weekly supermarket shop, and often enjoy on a daily basis. Indeed, many traditional cuisines like the Mediterranean diet would not be the same without the broad range of fermented foods that are at its foundation.

    One reason fermented foods are so beneficial to health is the development of organic acids such as lactic acid, acetic acid (vinegar), etc. These are by-products of the fermentation process when the bacteria/yeast metabolise the carbohydrate (sugars and starches) in the food or drink. These organic acids not only add distinctive flavours to the food or drink, they also lower the pH, making it difficult for other harmful microorganisms to grow. In our stomachs, they slow down a food's rate of emptying into the intestine, which in turn slows the rate of digestion and absorption of the food's carbohydrates into the blood stream, lowering the overall GI.

    In traditional breads (e.g., sourdoughs), the slow fermentation not only produces the organic acids that create that unique flavour, but the slow rise of the dough due to the production of gases (e.g., carbon dioxide), helps the bread develop the bubbly and chewy texture characteristic of a quality bread, as the gluten (protein in wheat) matrix slowly develops. This is why traditional sourdough breads have a low GI (54), even when they are made of refined white flour.

    Yoghurt and fermented milk drinks like kefir, lassi, leben, and Yakult all have a low GI due to the unique proteins in milk that increase insulin production, milk sugar (lactose) which has a low GI of 46, and the lactic acid produced by the fermentation of the lactose by various strains of bacteria like of Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophiles. While milk itself is low GI (20–34), the GI values of natural yoghurts (the fermented version of milk) are even lower, ranging from 10–19, depending on whether full cream or skim milk is used.

    Research into the human microbiome is now providing additional insights into why fermented foods are beneficial to our health, keeping harmful bacteria at bay, and providing a range of organic acids to feed the cells that line our digestive tracts, to name but a few of the hypothesized mechanisms. So enjoying fermented foods and drinks daily is an important part of a healthy balanced diet.
    Burgen bread
    Fermented foods that carry the GI Symbol include:

    • Burgen Rye bread
    • Burgen Fruit and Muesli bread
    • Burgen Pumpkin seeds bread
    • Burgen Soy-lin bread
    • Burgen Wholegrain and oats bread
    • Burgen Wholemeal and seeds bread

    New GI Symbol
    GI Symbol Program
    Dr Alan W Barclay PhD, Chief Scientific Officer, Glycemic Index Foundation (Ltd): alan.barclay@gisymbol.com

    GI testing
    Fiona Atkinson, Research Manager, Sydney University Glycemic Index Research Service: sugirs.manager@sydney.edu.au

    GI database

    Q&A and New Product News

    Prof Jennie Brand-Miller answers your questions about pre-diabetes. 

    How do I know if I have pre-diabetes?  You don’t. There are no specific signs and symptoms. But, carrying extra body fat (especially around the middle) tends to go hand in hand with pre-diabetes. There are also a number of risk factors such as a family history of diabetes; having diabetes in pregnancy or giving birth to a big (more than 4kg) baby; having PCOS; having heart disease or high blood pressure or high cholesterol; and smoking. To diagnose it, you need to have either a fasting blood glucose test or an oral glucose tolerance test. The American Diabetes Association recommends adults who are overweight or obese and have one or more additional risk factors for diabetes consider having regular testing. So, make an appointment to see your doctor.

    Is pre-diabetes doing my body harm? Probably. The underlying metabolic problem in pre-diabetes (as with type 2 diabetes) is insulin resistance. This means that your body’s cells are resistant to the action of insulin. They don’t let the insulin in as easily, so blood glucose levels tend to rise. To compensate, your pancreas has to work extra hard to make more and more insulin. This eventually moves the glucose into the cells, but now your blood insulin levels stay high. Having high insulin levels all the time spells trouble. Why? Research shows that prolonged exposure to elevated levels of insulin can cause weight gain (insulin promotes the storage of fat); high blood pressure; a reduction in HDL cholesterol, an increase in LDL cholesterol, and an increase in triglycerides (all of which increase your risk for heart disease); and a higher risk for some cancers as insulin can contribute to cell proliferation.

    Can pre-diabetes be reversed? Yes. The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) was a (US) federally funded study of 3,234 people at high risk for diabetes. It showed that people with pre-diabetes can often prevent or delay diabetes if they lose a modest amount of weight and increase physical activity – for example, walking 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. If you think you may have pre-diabetes, visit your doctor for a check-up.

    For more on pre-diabetes see Watch Out for Weight Creep in this issue's Food for Thought.

    GI Product News. 
    Black Rice is relatively new to supermarket and health food stores. There are a range of products, some of which are glutinous rices. The one we picked off the shelf here in Australia, Forbidden Black Rice, was labelled “low GI” – so how could we resist? It is parboiled, medium-grain black paddy rice from Heilongjiang Province in north-eastern China. Parboiling speeds up lengthy cooking times. The three basic parboiling steps are soaking the grain to soften the husk; pressure steaming the grain to drive the husks vitamins and minerals into the grain; and then drying and milling of the husk. Black rice is a popular side dish on its own and can be used as a substitute for other rices, noodles, quinoa and chia seeds in many recipes, especially in salads where it adds colour and texture. However, black rice pudding is probably the most common of black rice dishes. It is also used to make porridge. On the GI Database at the University of Sydney, we have a GI value for black rice porridge from China (42). We believe that this is where the “low GI” claim comes from. Here at GI News we would like to see these new parboiled black rice products tested – and we have asked the team at SUGiRS to put them on the list along with other brands of black rice. So, watch this space. Organic black rice from north-eastern China’s Heilongjiang Province is also available in the USA through Lotus Foods.

    Black Rice

    Lower GI flours may be on the way. New Zealand’s Farmers Mill is working with Lincoln University to investigate ways refine and improve their milled grain processes to develop a nutritional product range using specific grain and flour-based products, especially to mill flours with a low GI value. For more information contact Farmers Mill CEO Grant Bunting. We are often asked by readers about where to buy lower GI flour products, so we will keep you posted on developments.

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