1 September 2014

GI News—September 2014


  • Sugars, sweeteners and tooth decay;
  • Dr Alan Barclay on alternative sweeteners for weight loss and BGLs; 
  • Prof Jennie Brand-Miller on low-carb diets; 
  • Emma Sandall talks to Wes Doyle about personal training benefits; 
  • Nicole Senior checks out honey and Anneka Manning bakes a batch of honey and nut muesli (granola) bars for lunch boxes; 
  • Ottolenghi's roasted sweet potatoes and fresh figs.  
GI News 
Editor: Philippa Sandall
Management and design: Alan Barclay, PhD
Contact: info@gisymbol.com
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GI testing: sugirs.manager@sydney.edu.au

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Food for Thought

Keeping it off. 
From high protein to low-fat, from eating right for your type to eating like a caveman, any calorie deficit diet (burning more calories than you eat) will help you lose weight. The main game is maintaining that weight loss – converting your old eating and lifestyle patterns into new and healthy ones you can live with for a lifetime.

Don’t be tempted to measure success by the number of dress sizes dropped or belt notches tightened. It’s a real achievement to lose 5% of your initial weight in whatever time it takes. If you do want to lose a bit more, take the pressure off for 3 months before you restrict calories again. This will give your body time to adjust to its new engine size. And it will give you practice in learning to listen to your body’s natural signals for feeling hungry and feeling full. An alternating weight loss/weight maintenance pattern like this will help you become a full-time weight maintainer. In theory, preventing weight regain should be a lot easier than losing weight. But, if anything, it is the most critical stage. Regaining weight after you have been on a diet is all too easy. Here’s why.

Your body fights back. Food-seeking behaviour is wired into our brains to make sure we survive when our energy intake is low. So, despite your good intentions, hormones fly into action to stimulate your appetite and encourage food intake.

At your new weight, your body is a smaller engine and it needs less fuel (calories) to run. And if you lost weight rapidly and without exercising, then chances are you also lost proportionally more muscle, making your engine size even smaller.

Another reason why it can be so hard to maintain weight loss is that your resting metabolic rate (RMR) has dropped so your energy expenditure declines by as much as 10%. This is how nature helps animals adapt to the environment in which they live. If food is scarce, the body reduces engine revs so it can get by with less fuel.

The aim of the international PREVIEW study currently underway is to find out the best methods (through diet, exercise and behavioural modification) of helping people with pre-diabetes maintain weight loss and keep 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,” says Prof Jennie Brand-Miller. “If you live in Sydney (Australia) and are interested in taking part, see below for details for applying or for finding out more about it.”

Preview poster

What's new?

Obesity in grizzlies, a natural adaptation to hibernation. 
Researchers writing in Cell Metabolism report that as grizzly bears become obese in preparation for winter and hibernation, they respond normally to insulin – which prevents the breakdown of fatty tissue. But during hibernation, their insulin effectively stops working. This insulin resistance allows the bears to break down their fat stores throughout hibernation (they don't eat, drink or defecate for up to seven months). They survive on their fat. When they wake up and start eating again, they respond normally to insulin.

Grizzly bear
Pic: Kevin Corbit

The insulin levels in their blood do not change. The cells that insulin communicates with turn on and off their ability to respond to insulin. When the bears are most obese, they are also the most insulin sensitive, and they become this way by shutting down the activity of a protein called PTEN in their fat cells. “This is in contrast to the common notion that obesity leads to diabetes in humans,” says Dr. Kevin Corbit, of Amgen, Inc. The researchers also found that grizzlies somehow store all of the fuel they need during hibernation in fat tissue, not in liver and muscle, which are common places for fat to accumulate in other animals with obesity.  

Chew on this. 
People with diabetes are at greater risk of developing gum disease (gingivitis and periodontal disease) than people who do not have diabetes. Gum disease is a bacterial infection in the mouth can cause blood glucose levels to rise. The link is inflammation. The build-up of inflammatory substances in the blood can worsen chronic health conditions.

A recent study that involved checking the health and dental insurance records of 338,891 people with one of five conditions (type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis and pregnancy), found that periodontal therapy can improve health. The researchers report that within 4 years, people who had treatment for gum disease had lower medical costs and fewer hospitalisations compared with people who didn’t have treatment. For example, people with cardiovascular disease and diabetes who had the gum disease treatment had health-care costs that were between 20% and 40% lower.

Gum disease is usually caused by a build-up of plaque on teeth. One of the common signs is bleeding gums. Tips for maintaining healthy teeth and gums include:

  • Brushing twice a day with a soft, small-headed toothbrush. 
  • Carefully flossing each day. 
  • Visiting your dentist every six months for a check up and clean. 
  • Eating a healthy diet including plenty of low GI whole grains. 
  • Managing your blood glucose levels if you have diabetes. 
  • Quitting smoking if you do – people who smoke are 4 times more likely to develop gum disease than people who don’t.
Healthy teeth

Sugars, sweeteners and tooth decay. 
This is an edited extract from the Ultimate Guide to Sugars and Sweeteners  reproduced courtesy The Experiment Publishing (New York). 

Sugars and starches (highly fermentable carbohydrates) can all contribute to tooth decay, but overall, with the exception of lactose, sugars appear to be more likely to promote tooth decay (be cariogenic) than starches. Whether or not a sugary food or drink will cause tooth decay depends on:
  • How much and how often you consume the food or drink 
  • The food’s acidity and its buffering power (that’s the food’s ability to minimize the overall acidity) 
  • The food’s consistency (texture) and its retention in your mouth 
  • Your overall eating and drinking pattern (i.e., how much and how often you eat and drink). 
Your susceptibility to developing tooth decay also depends on your mouth bacteria, the flow rate and composition of your saliva, and whether or not you live in an area that has a fluoridated water supply and/or use fluoride toothpaste.

Consuming added sugars and foods high in added sugars frequently, is clearly associated with an increased risk of developing dental caries, independent of the actual amount you eat or drink. Rather than nibble or sip on them throughout the day, you are probably better off downing them in a single sitting and then brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste.

Polyols (sugar alcohols) are not well fermented by oral bacteria, nor do they have the acidifying impact on plaque that most sugars do and they generally do not promote tooth decay. Some studies have even suggested that xylitol may be anti-cariogenic, as it has antibacterial properties that act on some of the fermenting bacteria found in plaque.

Nonnutritive sweeteners (NNS) from aspartame to stevia are also not well fermented by oral bacteria, nor do they have the acidifying impact on plaque that most sugars do. So, generally they do not promote tooth decay. However, it comes down to how they are used. For example, “diet” soft drinks that contain NNS are acidic, which means they can still, in theory, contribute to dental erosion. In addition, because they are usually so sweet, most NNS are diluted and bulked up for tabletop use. The bulking agent is frequently maltodextrins, which can be used as a fuel by oral bacteria. So, in theory, some nonnutritive tabletop sweeteners may contribute to tooth decay.

Nicole's Taste of Health

Honey-bunch (you know I love you).
Honey is made by bees after gathering nectar from flowers. It’s a beautiful image and a lovely example of the generosity of Mother Nature (or the greed of man, depending on your world view). It’s also a great example of how food can be regional. Much like winemakers talk of the “terroir’ (soil, climate, topography) influencing the characteristics of wine, the characteristics of honey are influenced by the flowers within gathering distance of the hive. Honey ain’t honey, and aficionados will tell you there are as just as many tasting notes in honey as there in wine. But even the least honey-curious will know there are mild honeys and strong honeys, despite many common brands producing a consistent middle-of-the-road flavour profile through blending.

Honey, as they say, is “so hot right now” due to the trend of growing your own food. From the mega-trend of growing veggies and herbs in your backyard or balcony is emerging the DIY apiculture (bee-keeping) movement. There are now services  such as Sydney’s Urban Beehive that will install a hive at your place and help keep your buzzing friends healthy, happy and producing your own honey “à la maison”. And there is this book for beginners on the subject. Unfortunately, small scale beekeeping is also encouraged to help save our honey bees, which are under threat from all sides: primarily from colony collapse disorder, but there are other problems as well such as varroa mite and in Australia the risk of Asian bees breeching our borders. Suffice to say we’re all in trouble if the bees disappear because of their pivotal role in pollinating food crops.

From a health perspective, overall honey is no better than table sugar (sucrose) and nutritionally they are very similar. Regular sugar has a glycemic index (GI) or around 65, while the GI of honey can vary quite a bit depending on the proportion of fructose (higher fructose levels means lower GI) and the presence of phytochemicals (including flavonoids) from the flower nectar that appear to slow down absorption and lower the GI. Generally, darker coloured, stronger flavoured honey contains more phytochemicals. Most common blended honeys can have the same or higher GI than cane sugar (sucrose), but some pure wildflower honeys (where bees collect nectar from only one type of flower) have a lower GI, probably due to higher fructose content. For example, Australian eucalyptus honeys such as red gum, yellow box or ironbark have low GI.

The clever thing about honey is that besides tasting wonderful it has all kinds of medicinal uses. It’s great for soothing sore throats (traditionally mixed with lemon juice), more effective than over-the-counter medicines for children’s coughs, and special “active” honeys such as Manuka from New Zealand are used to treat wounds, stomach ulcers, gastroenteritis and fungal infections.

In terms of culinary uses, the options are many and varied, but sometimes the simple things are the best. Fresh wholegrain toast with honey is a reliable classic, as is porridge with a golden drizzle. Personally, I think peanut butter is wonderful with honey on toast. Chinese honey soy chicken is a lovely dalliance between sweet and savoury and exemplifies how honey goes so nicely with meats of all kinds: honey glazed ham is but one famous example (although strangely I can’t come at honey served on bacon as they do in Canada). Naturally honey is gorgeous in baked goods and delicious in hot or cold drinks such as smoothies, cordials, teas and coffee. All this delight from an insect: how wonderful.

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, 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
Honey and Nut Muesli Bars. 
This recipe is based on one from Supergrains by Chrissy Freer, published by Murdoch Books – it is a particularly popular recipe that we teach in our Healthy Kids Lunch Boxes BakeClasses. Knowing what is going into your muesli bars is the key – it makes them so much healthier and tastier. For a nut-free version, substitute the almonds with 1/3 cup sunflower seeds or pepitas (pumpkin seeds).

  • Makes: about 24 
  • Preparation time: 15 minutes 
  • Baking time: 45-55 minutes 
¾ cup good-quality honey
½ cup sunflower oil or light olive oil
2½ cups traditional rolled oats (oatmeal)
1½ cups puffed millet
½ cup desiccated coconut
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries
½ cup currants
½ cup raw almonds, coarsely chopped (see Baker’s Tips)

Honey and Nut Muesli Bars
Photo: Bree Hutchins

Preheat the oven to 140°C/320°F. Lightly grease a shallow 20 x 30cm (8 x 12in) baking tin and line the base and sides with non-stick baking paper.
Put the honey and oil in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir until well combined and heated through. Set aside.
Put the rolled oats, millet, coconut, cinnamon, cranberries, currants and almonds in a large bowl and mix to combine evenly. Add the honey mixture and stir to combine. Using damp hands, press the mixture firmly into the lined tin. Press the mixture with the back of a spoon to make the surface smooth and even.
Bake for 45–55 minutes or until the surface is dark golden brown all over. Cool completely in the tin before cutting into 24 bars.
Store: These muesli bars will keep in an airtight container for up to 1 week. For extra-crisp muesli bars, store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Per serve (one piece)
725kJ/ 173 calories; 2g protein; 8.5g fat (includes 2g saturated fat; saturated:unsaturated fat ratio 0.3); 21g available carbs (includes 12.5g sugars and 8.5g starch); 2g fibre

Anneka's extra tip for using honey in your baking
If you would like to replace the sugar (such as granulated white, caster or brown) with honey in a baking recipe, simply use the same amount in weight. However, also remember to reduce the amount of liquid ingredients (such as milk or water) in the recipe by 1 tablespoon for every ½ cup sugar to account for both the higher moisture level in the honey as well as its intense sweetness.

Roasted sweet potatoes and fresh figs. 
This unusual combination of fresh fruit and roasted vegetables is one of the most popular at Ottolenghi. It wholly depends, though, on the figs being sweet, moist and perfectly ripe. Go for plump fruit with an irregular shape and a slightly split bottom. Pressing against the skin should result in some resistance but not much. Try to smell the sweetness. The balsamic reduction is very effective here, both for the look and for rounding up the flavours. To save you from making it you can look out for products such as balsamic cream or glaze. Serves 4.

4 small sweet potatoes (1kg/2lb 2oz in total)
5 tbs olive oil (1/3 cup/75ml)
2 tbs (40ml) balsamic vinegar (you can use a commercial rather than a premium aged grade)
20g (¾oz) caster sugar
12 spring onions, halved lengthways and cut into 4cm (1½in) segments
1 red chilli, thinly sliced
6 fresh and ripe figs (240g/½lb in total), quartered
150g (5oz) soft goat’s cheese, crumbled (optional)
Maldon sea salt (optional) and black pepper

Roasted sweet potatoes and fresh figs

Preheat the oven to 240C/220C Fan/Gas Mark 9.
Wash the sweet potatoes, halve them lengthways and then cut each again similarly into 3 long wedges. Mix with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, 2 teaspoons of salt and some black pepper. Spread the wedges out on a baking sheet, skin-side down, and cook for about 25 minutes until soft but not mushy. Remove from the oven and leave to cool down.
To make a balsamic reduction, place the balsamic vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 2–4 minutes, or until it thickens. Be sure to remove the pan from the heat when the vinegar is still runnier than honey; it will continue to thicken as it cools. Stir in a drop of water before serving if it does become too thick to drizzle.
Arrange the sweet potatoes on a serving platter. Heat the remaining oil in a medium saucepan and add the spring onions and chilli. Fry on a medium heat for 4–5 minutes, stirring often, making sure not to burn the chilli, and then spoon the oil, onions and chilli over the sweet potatoes. Dot the figs among the wedges and then drizzle over the balsamic reduction. Serve at room temperature with the cheese crumbled over, if using.

Per serve (without the goat’s cheese)
1890kJ/ 451 calories; 11g protein; 24g fat (includes 6g saturated fat; saturated:unsaturated fat ratio 0.33); 47g available carbs (includes 25g sugars and 22g starch); 6.5g fibre

Recipe reproduced with permission from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi (Random House) – available from good bookshops and online.
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.


Lavender-scented blueberry jam. 

There is honey. And then there is lavender honey from Assisi. There are blueberries. And then there are blueberries from the southern shore towns of New Jersey. Put these two magnificent foods together in a pot for about an hour, add a hint of lemon and you’ll have a hauntingly delicious jam (with a moderate GI value). All of this from just three wholesome, natural ingredients. When our blueberries are in season, I buy large quantities and make this jam and hope it lasts until the season returns again. Jam may be stored in the refrigerator for a few weeks, or in the freezer for one year or it can be canned using traditional methods. Makes 10 cups and provides eighty 2-tablespoon servings (30ml) 

6 pints fresh blueberries (approximately 5 lb/2¼ kg)
2 cups lavender honey 
1 tbs (15ml) fresh lemon juice 
Zest ½ lemon

Lemon-laced Roasted Eggplant

Remove stems from the blueberries. Wash the blueberries and pat them dry. Place them in a large enamelled cast-iron casserole (dutch oven). Add the lemon juice and zest. Mix well. Bring the blueberry mixture to a boil (about 10 minutes), then reduce heat to medium low and cook for approximately 45–50 minutes. Stir occasionally, scraping down the sides of the pot. 

Per serve (2 tbs or 30ml) 
176kJ/ 42 calories; 0g protein; 0g fat; 10g available carbs; 1g fibre

Putting the Fun Back into Fitness with Emma Sandall

Personal training.
In this past year I have been discovering the simple pleasure of a gym workout – pulling and pushing exercises, which give you the chance to focus on training and recruiting specific muscles, thereby building strength and endurance. With weight training you are not only increasing strength, you are also increasing your basal metabolic rate, as, simply put, muscle burns more energy than fat. I have been having personal training sessions with Wes Doyle at Vision Personal Training Randwick, and he has taught me a great deal about strength and also about myself. I asked him about personal training and how he got started.

“Initially I started off as a client of Vision Personal Training Randwick," said Wes. "I was getting married, and I was very busy with my role as a national operations manager, travelling and working long hours. I’ve always been very active and wanting to own and run my own business. This career change combined my passions: business and fitness. Why the Vision program? It focuses on emotions, education, eating and exercise and provides clients with online tracking food and exercise diary. Here, we care when you don’t turn up, so we will call you; we care what your goal is; we care by making sure you are on a journey to getting results. The best thing about being a personal trainer is seeing people developing self confidence.”

Wes at work

Who are your clients and what are their goals? 
“Eighty percent of our clients are here for some form of weight loss, toning or sculpting. The remainder are people who see the value in being coached for a specific program. It’s a bit like a having a tennis coach, or business coach. There are not many people who are self motivated to do exercise, including me! Having a trainer helps you train at your maximum capacity, each and every time. Relapsing and falling off the wagon is normal, and is part of the journey. You need to stop thinking about the destination, and enjoy the small changes along the way.”

How long is a session and what does it entail? 
“A session is 30 minutes. What we do with a client at each session depends on their stage of change. At the start, we focus on the emotions around eating, education about what to eat, then a weekly food plan, and finally the exercise. Emotions, Education, Eating and Exercise. For best results, we recommend having at least two sessions a week (that’s less than one percent of your week). It’s the 42 meals in the week that count the most, not the exercise.”

How do you keep people motivated?
“Everyone is different. Most people are on a journey, so we work with where they are at, and what encourages them to put one foot in front of the other each day. We’re here to give honest feedback and help them develop ways to move forward. Currently I train clients from 26 to 78. My personal passion is training businessmen. They are always too busy to look after their health.”

How do you filter fitness fads and the fact/fiction of new information?
“Always have the client’s readiness to change, goals, and capabilities front of mind. A 45-year-old mother of two won’t want to be doing a clean and press.

What is the most important tip about fitness you can give someone?
“Eat less, move more. It doesn’t have to be hard work, it needs to be smart. This is why we focus on education. PS – don’t Google, there are millions of confusing pages.”

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 runs Body Playground, a space to activate and inspire body and soul. Email: emma@bodyplayground.com.au

Update with Dr Alan Barclay

Alan Barclay

Sweet nothings? 

Artificial or non-nutritive sweeteners (NNS) have been around for over a century, helping people to enjoy sweet foods and drinks without the unwanted calories or carbohydrate that can contribute to weight gain on the one hand and raise blood glucose levels on the other when consumed in excess. Few would argue that NNS do not raise blood glucose levels. Some are suggesting that non-nutritive sweeteners may not actually help people lose weight. A new systematic review helps shed some light. First of all, let's look at the two major kinds of research study designs.

Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) are considered the “gold standard” research design as they can prove that intervention A causes health outcome B, while all other known factors (known as confounders) have been accounted for by randomisation. For example, two groups of people are given two different diets (X and Y) and their health status is measured over a period of several years. Individuals consuming diet X, which has a low GI, have a decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes but individuals consuming diet Y, which has a high GI, increase their risk of developing diabetes. Using this example, we can conclude that high GI diets cause type 2 diabetes.

Observational studies. In these, large groups of people have a medical check-up, their dietary patterns are measured, and they are followed up regularly for long periods of time (e.g., 5-20 years). Unlike RCTs, observational studies can only provide evidence of statistical associations between foods/nutrients/dietary patterns and health – they cannot prove that something is actually caused by a particular food/nutrient/dietary pattern. Also, it is not possible to control for all confounders in observational studies, and our tools of observation (e.g., a food frequency questionnaire for measuring a person’s usual food intake) are imperfect.

Mediterranean food

Sweeteners and soft drinks. The recent systematic review by Paige Miller and Vanessa Perez in the United States looked at all published randomised controlled trials and observational studies and body weight. They found that use of low/no calorie sweeteners led to small but statistically significant improvements in body weight, body mass index (BMI), fat mass and waist circumference in randomised controlled trials. In prospective cohort studies, however, use of low/no calorie sweeteners was not associated with improvements in body weight or fat mass, but was in fact significantly associated with slightly higher BMI. They concluded “that substituting LCS [low/no calorie sweeteners] options for their regular-calorie versions results in a modest weight loss, and may be a useful dietary tool to improve compliance with weight loss or weight maintenance plans”.

Overall, the evidence from the randomised controlled trials is more powerful than the evidence from the observational studies.

Along similar lines, a new systematic review investigating the association between regular and NNS sweetened drinks in observational studies found that both were modestly associated with the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, with regular varieties being slightly more strongly associated than their NNS alternatives. The reason that NNS sweetened foods and drinks are associated with weight gain and risk of type 2 diabetes could be that people usually drink regular or NNS beverages when consuming other highly processed foods (crisps, chips (French fries), pizza, fried fish, chicken, burgers, savoury snacks, pastries, etc...), or alcohol (scotch and diet coke anyone?), and that it’s the overall poor dietary pattern that's really to blame, not the sweeteners themselves.

The bottom line. Current scientific evidence indicates that non-nutritive sweeteners are safe to consume in moderate amounts, and that they can be useful for reducing some people's consumption of added nutritive sweeteners, helping them to lose weight, provided they do not treat themselves with other highly processed foods and drinks as a reward for avoiding the added sugars!

New GI Symbol
GI Symbol Program
Dr Alan W Barclay PhD,
Chief Scientific Officer,
Glycemic Index Foundation (Ltd):


GI testing
Fiona Atkinson,
Research Manager,
Sydney University Glycemic Index Research Service:


GI database

Q&A and New Product News

Prof Jennie Brand-Miller answers your questions. 

If carbs increase my blood glucose levels, wouldn’t a low-carb diet (or even a very low one) make better sense for managing it? 
I am often asked about this. In theory, a low-carbohydrate diet seems a logical choice if your aim is simply to reduce blood glucose levels. But presumably your goal is long-term, optimum health with good glycemic control and reduced risk of chronic disease. If so, very low-carbohydrate diets need a little caution because you will be missing out on the micronutrients, antioxidants, phytochemicals and fibre that plant foods (fruit, starchy vegetables, legumes and grains) provide. In studies that tracked individuals for long periods of time, those eating the least amount of carbohydrate and very high amounts of protein had almost double the risk of dying during the follow up period, especially from cardiovascular disease. You might also find this very low carbohydrate diet so extreme that it's hard to lead a normal social life and enjoy eating because you have to exclude so many favourite foods (think potatoes, oranges and honey).

The authors of a critical review recently published in Nutrition in July 2014, call for a complete reappraisal of dietary guidelines for diabetes management and they present evidence for dietary carbohydrate restriction as the first approach in diabetes management. Some of these authors have themselves adopted a very low-carb diet to manage their blood glucose. I do think there is some truth in the benefit of modest reductions in carbohydrate intake (to say 40–45% energy). However, I’m not in favour of further reduction because it’s just too hard for most people to comply. Conversely, I'm not recommending an increase in carbohydrate intake to 65% of calories to someone with diabetes; it strikes me as "pushing the envelope" too far.

Apart from being difficult to sustain over the long term, a major concern with very low-carb diets is the potential for high saturated fat intake and its health repercussions. Even a single meal high in saturated fat can have an adverse effect on blood vessels by inhibiting vasodilation, the normal increase in the diameter of blood vessels that occurs after a meal. In meta-analyses, the short-term and long-term effects of a low carb diet includes an increase in LDL cholesterol. Compounding this, there may be a low intake of micronutrients that are protective against chronic disease. For this reason, a vitamin and mineral supplement is usually an essential accompaniment to a low carb diet.

I believe that very low-carb diets are unnecessarily restrictive (bread, potato, rice, grains and most fruits are off the menu) and may spell trouble in the long term if poor quality food takes the place of high quality carbohydrate. Modestly higher protein/low GI diets strike me as a happy medium between low fat and low carb-diets – you can have your carbs, but choose them carefully.

Product News 
World’s Best Diet.
This is a diet without deprivation that’s designed to satisfy the senses as well as the stomach. The book is based on the Diogenes study, one of the world’s largest dietary studies, and combines a higher protein intake with low-GI carbs, which has been proven to prevent weight regain creep. Explaining how it works, the authors say: “Our research, and that of other nutrition scientists, has shown that the body’s food regulation mechanisms are quite complicated, but that one thing is quite simple: in order to sustain our weight over periods of months and years, we have to stay satisfied and enjoy food – preferably three times a day. A food culture that leaves out whole food groups is simply too restrictive for enjoyment and long-term sustainability ... The less restrictive a dietary change is, and the less prohibitive of common foods it is, the easier it is to stick to. The ‘state of slim’ requires enjoyment, and this is wonderful news for dieters everywhere.”

The authors have carried out numerous studies over the past 20 years looking at ways to create greater satiety with fewer calories and without eliminating entire food groups. They write: “If we can eliminate constant hunger pangs and create enjoyable satiety, we have the best defence against overeating. In other words, the solution to successful long-term weight control is to feel full and satisfied at the end of eating, and then hunger should take hours to return.” The five key principles of World’s Best Diet are:

  • Eat fewer carbohydrates and more protein than you currently eat. The ideal ratio of carbs to protein is 2:1. 
  • Opt for low-GI carbohydrates instead of high GI ones. 
  • Limit your intake of saturated fat. 
  • Choose low-fat dairy products. 
  • Eat whole-grain products, the less refined the better. 
World’s Best Diet

 —World’s Best Diet by Christian Bitz and Professors Jennie Brand-Miller, Arne Astrup and Susan B. Roberts (Penguin Australia) is available from bookshops and online. It includes menu plans and 92 recipes and is fully photographed throughout. 

Backyard Bees
“Beevangelist,” Doug Purdie, has written a comprehensive guide to keeping bees. He reckons that once introduced to the charms of beekeeping and the taste of warm honeycomb direct from the hive, you’ll be hooked. His book covers installing and maintaining a hive through the seasons and includes stories from enterprising beekeepers from all walks of life plus 20 recipes for all that honey you’ll be harvesting. Doug, along with his partner at The Urban Beehive, maintains more than 50 beehives on city rooftops, balconies, backyards and in community gardens around Sydney. He runs beginner beekeeping courses and is president of the Sydney branch of the Amateur Beekeepers’ Association.

Backyard Bees

Backyard Bees by Doug Purdie (Murdoch Books) is available from bookshops and online.

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