1 July 2019

GI News - July 2019

GI News

GI News is published online every month by the University of Sydney, School of Life and Environmental Sciences and the Charles Perkins Centre, and delivered to the mailboxes of our 97,000 subscribers. Our goal is to help people choose the high-quality carbs that are digested at a rate that our bodies can comfortably accommodate and to share the latest scientific findings on food and diet with a particular focus on carbohydrates, dietary fibres, blood glucose and the glycemic index.

Professor Jennie Brand-Miller, AM, PhD, FAIFST, FNSA
Editor: Philippa Sandall
Scientific Editor/Managing Editor: Alan Barclay, PhD, APD, AN
Contact GI News: glycemic.index@gmail.com

Sydney University Glycemic Index Research Service
Manager: Fiona Atkinson, PhD, APD, AN
Contact: sugirs.manager@sydney.edu.au

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Prof Jennie Brand-Miller and Dr Alan Barclay answer the most common questions we are asked about protein.

WHAT IS PROTEIN? People talk about “protein”, but in fact there are many proteins. They are chemical compounds made up of chains of smaller building blocks called amino acids. There are about 20 different amino acids that come together in different combinations to make up the millions of proteins found in nature. A protein can consist of between 50 and tens of thousands of amino acids.

WHAT ARE AMINO ACIDS? An amino acid consists of a central carbon atom, linked to an amino group (an atom of nitrogen + hydrogen atoms), a carboxylic acid group (an atom of carbon + oxygen atoms), a hydrogen atom, and a distinctive R group, which is referred to as the side chain. The unique composition of the R group is what makes all of the amino acids different.
Amino acid
In addition to being the building blocks of proteins, the cells of our bodies use amino acids to form nerve transmitters and hormones (e.g. adrenalin and insulin). They can also be used as an energy source, particularly when carbohydrate and fat are restricted. Amino acids are generally divided into two broad classes – those that our bodies can make (non-essential amino acids), and those we have to get through our diet (essential amino acids).

Protein foods
WHY DO WE NEED PROTEIN? We need to consume protein for the growth, development and maintenance of our body tissues because it’s an essential part of the structure and function of every cell in our body. Consuming protein brings a couple of bonus side-effects. First up, protein-rich foods are more appetite satisfying compared with carb- and fat-rich foods and can reduce those pesky hunger pangs between meals. In addition, protein increases our metabolic rate for one to three hours after eating. This means we burn more energy by the minute compared with the increase that occurs after eating carbs or fats.

WHERE DO WE GET IT? Protein is widely available in our food supply. And while people talk about “protein foods”, no food is all protein and most of us eat a variety of foods containing many different proteins. We are often asked what are the best sources. The answer is easy: whole foods which provide us with other things our bodies need such as vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre. As Dr David Katz says: “Dietary protein does not require animal foods, and does not require any specific food combinations. Wholesome foods in any balanced, sensible assembly – even a strictly vegan assembly – will readily provide it.”
Animal sources:
• Meat, poultry, and seafood
• Eggs
• Milk, cheese and yoghurt.
Plant sources:
• Beans, chickpeas or lentils (legumes/pulses)
• Nuts and seeds
• Grains, especially whole grains
• Starchy veggies

HOW MUCH DO WE NEED? Because our bodies don’t stockpile large amounts of protein from one day to use up the next, we need to top up the protein tank every day. We don’t need a lot – in fact, the average adult needs less than 1 gram of protein per kilogram of healthy body weight a day. So, it isn’t hard to do and most of us living in developed nations get more than enough. Children, teenagers, pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding need more as do people recovering from an injury or a major illness. Athletes, weekend warriors and people who work out vigorously also need more for building and repairing muscles. People with diabetes do have an increase in protein turnover because of their high blood glucose levels and this increases the body’s protein needs slightly. However, because most people are already consuming much more protein than necessary, eating more is not usually recommended. Remember, excess calories from protein are still excess calories and they will do what all excess calories do, turn into stored body fat.

WHAT ABOUT PROTEIN AND BLOOD GLUCOSE? Up to half the protein we eat will eventually be converted to glucose via a process called gluconeogenesis (which literally means the creation of new glucose). However, our glucose concentrations do not rise and fall in any marked way after we eat a protein-rich meal because our bodies balance the rate of glucose production with the rate of glucose burning. While protein does not directly affect blood glucose levels, it does stimulate secretion of significant amounts of insulin depending on the protein source. Research to-date suggests whey protein (often used in protein-supplemented foods) is the most potent insulin stimulator, followed by fish, beef, eggs and chicken.

WHAT ARE PROTEIN SUPPLEMENTS? These are the high protein balls, bars, shakes and powders you’ll find in gyms, health food stores and supermarkets. Consuming them is not the same as eating protein-rich wholefoods such as a piece of meat, a handful of nuts or a tub of yoghurt, as they provide few nutrients apart from protein. They are typically highly processed made with either soy or whey protein such as:

  • Soy protein isolate, which is extracted, refined protein from the soy bean. 
  • Whey protein concentrate, which is extracted protein from whey (the leftover liquid from milk formed during the production of cheese). It retains many of the bioactive compounds of the whey, along with small amounts of fat and lactose. 
  • Whey protein isolate, which is further refined so that it is almost entirely protein. 
  • Whey protein hydrolysate which is where the proteins have been partially broken down for quicker digestion and absorption. 
 Sweeteners such as sugar alcohols (maltitol and sorbitol) and intense sweeteners (e.g., sucralose); flavours and emulsifiers are often added to make them taste good and provide “mouth appeal”.

WHO NEEDS PROTEIN SUPPLEMENTS? No one really needs supplemental protein says the American College of Sports Medicine. Athletes do require more protein than the rest of us, but can generally get it from a good mixed diet. However, consuming protein right after a vigorous workout can help you recover and gain muscle mass. “A good choice for the post workout would be a whey-based protein shake or a home-made protein shake made with milk, yoghurt and fruit as it will be absorbed more quickly than solid food and this is key for timing,” says dietitian and nutritionist Dr Joanna McMillan.

Read More:


Dr David Katz and colleagues call for the definition of protein quality to be modernized in their recent paper in Advances in Nutrition, because the current definition is misleading and antiquated they say. Historically, protein quality has been defined in biochemical and physiological terms reflecting the concentration of the 9 essential amino acids and their digestibility from specific food sources. The resulting measure, the Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS), is what the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States uses to measure protein quality in foods.

Katz and his colleagues explain why it is obsolete. “The popular concept that protein is “good,” and that the more the better, coupled with a protein quality definition that favors meat, fosters the impression that eating more meat, as well as eggs and dairy, is desirable and preferable. This message, however, is directly opposed to current Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which encourage consumption of more plant foods and less meat, and at odds with the literature on the environmental impacts of foods, from carbon emissions to water utilization, which decisively favor plant protein sources. Thus, the message conveyed by the current definitions of protein quality is at odds with imperatives of public and planetary health alike.”

In their paper, Katz and colleagues propose a modernized definition, which incorporates the quality of health and environmental outcomes associated with specific food sources of protein.

They also demonstrate how such an approach can be adapted into a metric, and applied to the food supply. Their metric still considers the distribution of essential amino acids, and their digestibility – but also considers, and weights appropriately, the net effects of the food on our overall health, and its environmental footprint. By such a measure, beans and lentils shoot up to the top of the rankings, and beef, for example, falls down because while it is indeed a concentrated protein source, it’s a food we should be eating less, not more. They conclude: “The adoption of such a shift in protein quality assessment would allow for clearer, more consistent messaging to the public and better alignment of nutrition policy with nutrition science.”

Read more:


Protein is hot. Not regular protein-rich foods like meat, chicken, fish, milk, yoghurt, eggs, legumes, and grains nuts and seeds – it’s protein supplemented bars, balls, bites and shakes that are hot. And if that’s not enough protein-supplemented product, you can top up your protein tank with protein boosted breakfast cereals, protein noodles, protein bagels, protein cookies and protein coffee and protein water.

Protein balls
The food industry has really embraced protein. They love its health halo. It’s a gift to the bottom line which is why they are adding it in truckloads to all sorts of processed and ultra-processed foods. In 2014, the protein supplemented foods market in Australia was valued at A$545 million dollars and predicted to keep growing by around 10% a year.

“When the Box Says ‘Protein’, Shoppers Say ‘I’ll take it” was the headline of a 2013 article in the Wall Street Journal. Protein mania has partly come about because with so many people now regarding carbs or fats (and sometimes both) with suspicion in the current nutrition wars, protein has emerged as the last macronutrient left standing. “The whole macronutrient fixation is a boondoggle that has been calamitous for public health,” says Dr David Katz. “First they told us to cut fat. But instead of wholegrains and lentils, we ate low-fat junk food. Then food marketers heard the message about cutting carbs and sold us protein-enriched junk foods instead.”

“When we talk about protein,” says Katz, “we are dissociating the nutrient from its food source.” It certainly looks that way in the high protein snack aisle we discovered researching this story. Here are our tips to help you make better choices.

  • “When the Box Says Protein”, read the nutrition information panel (NIP). 
  • Ingredients are listed in descending order of weight from the most down to the least. 
  • Wise up on label lingo – what the highly processed ingredients in packaged foods, are, and on how these ingredients are made. 
 What did we find when we went shopping?

There are certainly protein bars packed with ingredients you may have at home. The Health Food Guys’ vegan Cacao Goji Raw Protein Bar contains: “Organic Wholegrain Bio-Fermented Raw Brown Rice Protein, Organic Raw Tahini, Crushed Raw Almonds, Organic Rice Syrup, Organic Chia Seeds, Organic Dates, Organic Coconut Nectar, Goji Berries, Raw Cacao Powder”. What’s “Bio-Fermented Raw Brown Rice Protein”? It’s a protein powder like soy and whey protein powders, and like them is used as a base for shakes, smoothies, bars and other protein-supplemented products.

We also found bars where the ingredient topping the list is something you’ll have at home like nuts. Carman’s Coconut, Yoghurt & Roasted Nut Gourmet Protein Bars contains “Nuts (Peanuts 17%, Cashews 10%), Soy Protein Blend (Soy Protein Crisps [Isolated Soy Protein, Tapioca Starch, Salt], Soy Protein Powder [Soy Lecithin]), Glucose, Honey, Seeds 9% (Sunflower Seeds, Pepitas, Sesame Seeds), Yoghurt Compound 9% (Sugar, Vegetable Oil, Milk Solids, Yoghurt Powder 4%, Emulsifier [Sunflower Lecithin], Food Acid [330], Natural Coconut Flavour), Coconut 7%, Sunflower Oil, Natural Coconut Flavour.”

However, while nuts at 27% “(Peanuts 17%, Cashews 10%)”, top the list, we don’t actually know if there are more nuts than soy protein in the bar by weight, because the manufacturer has used two kinds of soy protein powder and they are listed separately and without percentages.

There are also products where anything you are likely to find at home like cocoa powder or unsalted butter is at the end of the list. For example, Aussie Bodies Protein FX Lo Carb Mini Protein Bar Choc Caramel, described as an indulgent guilt-free low carb protein snack, contains: “Aussie Bodies® Protein Blend (29%) [Whey Protein Concentrate, Whey Protein Isolate, Soy Protein Isolate, Soy Protein Crisps (Soy Protein Isolate, Tapioca Starch, Salt, Emulsifier (Soy Lecithin)], Protein Milk Chocolate (22%) [Maltitol, Cocoa Butter, Milk Solids, Cocoa Liquor, Soy Protein Isolate, Emulsifier (Soy Lecithin), Flavour], Polydextrose, Glycerol, Maltitol, Caramel (5%) [Glucose, Sweetened Condensed Milk (Milk, Sugar, Lactose), Vegetable Fat, Unsalted Butter, Salt, Emulsifier (471)], Resistant Starch (Starch, Maltodextrin), Cocoa Powder, Unsalted Butter, Emulsifier (Soy Lecithin), Flavours.”

Read more:


Using the True Health Initiatives modernised protein quality metric, we chose a couple of the top-ranking plant sources of protein they mention in their paper (brown rice and chickpeas both get a 5 out of 6) that are good for our overall health, and good for the planet. We also have added in sweet potato, because it’s now grown in more developing countries than any other root crop.

BROWN RICE – Nutty tasting brown rice with just the inedible hull removed is the rice with whole grain credentials (it’s a good source of niacin and magnesium) and there are now 2-minute microwave options to help you get a meal on the table fast. In Australia you can buy low GI brown rice (SunRice Doongara Low GI Brown Rice, GI 51).


CHICKPEAS – Like other legumes, they are high in protein, rich in fibre, an excellent source of manganese and folate, and a good source of iron, phosphorous, copper and zinc. They have a low glycemic index (39).


SWEET POTATO – While sweet potatoes come in a variety of colours, shapes and sizes, it’s the orange-fleshed sweet potato that’s packed with fibre, beta-carotene and vitamin C that we like to roast and use in recipes. It has a moderate glycemic index (65).

Read more:


Ultra-processed foods have been in the media a lot lately, with new research suggesting that they cause weight gain and may increase the risk of heart attack, stroke and ultimately death. They can be described as “formulations mostly of cheap industrial sources of dietary energy and nutrients plus additives, using a series of processes, and containing minimal whole foods”. One of the more popular methods for identifying ultra-processed foods is the NOVA system which classifies all foods and food products into one of four groups:

  1. Unprocessed or minimally processed foods. Edible parts of plants or of animals, and also fungi, algae and water, after separation from nature. Minimally processed foods are natural foods altered by processes that include removal of inedible or unwanted parts, and drying, crushing, grinding, fractioning, filtering, roasting, boiling, non-alcoholic fermentation, pasteurization, refrigeration, chilling, freezing, placing in containers and vacuum-packaging. 
  2. Processed culinary ingredients. Include oils, butter, sugar, flour and salt. They are substances derived from Group 1 foods or from nature by processes that include pressing, refining, grinding, milling and drying. They are not meant to be consumed by themselves, and are normally used in combination with Group 1 foods to make freshly prepared drinks, dishes and meals. 
  3. Processed foods. Include canned vegetables, seafood, fruits in syrup, cheeses and freshly made breads, are made essentially by adding salt, oil, sugar, flour or other substances from Group 2 to Group 1 foods. Processes include various preservation or cooking methods, and, in the case of breads and cheese, non-alcoholic fermentation. Most processed foods have two or three ingredients, and are recognizable as modified versions of Group 1 foods. They are edible by themselves or, more usually, in combination with other foods. 
  4. Ultra-processed foods. Include soft drinks, sweet or savoury packaged snacks, reconstituted meat products and pre-prepared frozen dishes. They are not modified foods but formulations made mostly or entirely from substances derived from foods and additives, with little if any intact Group 1 foods. 
Ultra-processed foods can be summarised as energy-dense, high in unhealthy types of fat, refined starches, free sugars and salt, and poor sources of protein, dietary fibre and micronutrients (i.e., vitamins and minerals). The definition is important as it goes beyond the current meme about “limiting/avoiding fats, sugars and salt” and importantly includes refined starches and poor-quality protein in its definition – two extremely common food ingredients that have generally avoided scrutiny, in part due to poor food labelling policy which excludes starches altogether from the Nutrition Information / Facts panel, and only lists total protein.

With all of the protein claims on the labels of packaged foods, and the associated health halos, it is hard for many people to swallow the fact that most of these ultra-processed snack foods are largely sources of junk protein – highly refined and purified extracts from Group 1 foods, largely devoid of vitamins, minerals or any other essential nutrients, but fortified with a sprinkling of a select few vitamins/minerals to make them look more nutritious than they really are.

Protein bar
Ingredient list
Additionally, most people in the developed world meet their Estimated Average Requirement (EAR: the daily nutrient level estimated to meet the requirements of half the healthy population) for protein without the need for supplementary protein in the form of ultra-processed snacks. For example, in Australia, the EAR for protein for men is 0.68g per kg body weight per day and for women it is 0.60g per kg body weight per day. Australia’s most recent nutrition survey in 2011/12 determined that men consumed an average of 104.6g of protein per day or 1.2g per kg body weight and women consumed 77.9g of protein per day or 1.1g per kg body weight. In other words, the average Australian man and woman consumed nearly twice as much protein as the Estimated Average Requirement each day.

What happens to the excess ultra-processed protein that we consume? Unlike carbohydrates and fats, we are unable to store excess protein as such. Like any other nutrient, proteins can be converted into other forms of energy, however. Many of the amino acids that make up proteins can be converted into the carbohydrate glucose which can be stored as glycogen in liver and muscles. The nitrogen portion of the amino acid molecule is excreted as urea in the urine. Just like it can from other dietary sources, glucose from protein metabolism can also be converted to fat and stored in our fat cells.

For your daily protein requirements, enjoy minimally-processed foods like beans, chickpeas, lentils, nuts and seeds, wholegrains, meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, milk and yoghurt. Save ultra-processed foods, including those high in protein, for special occasions – they are not daily fare.

Read more:
The UN Decade of Nutrition, the NOVA food classification and the trouble with ultra-processing
• Australian Health Survey - protein

Dr Alan Barclay
Alan Barclay, PhD is a consultant dietitian and chef (Cert III). He worked for Diabetes Australia (NSW) from 1998–2014 . He is author/co-author of more than 30 scientific publications, and author/co-author of  The good Carbs Cookbook (Murdoch Books), Reversing Diabetes (Murdoch Books), The Low GI Diet: Managing Type 2 Diabetes (Hachette Australia) and The Ultimate Guide to Sugars and Sweeteners (The Experiment, New York).

Contact: You can follow him on Twitter or check out his website.


We thought we’d ‘chick’ out the chickpea because they have some unique benefits, especially for people living with diabetes. Also known as garbanzo beans, chickpeas belong to the legume family and like their cousins, they are high in protein, rich in fibre, an excellent source of folate, and a good source of iron, phosphorous, copper and zinc. And to top it off, they have a low GI (40). Their neutral, nutty flavour blends into the background in a smorgasbord of dishes including curries, soups, stews and salads. They are famously used to make hummus, but try them dry roasted with herbs and spices for a crunchy snack.

They can help people living with diabetes by: 

  • Improving glycaemic control: Research has demonstrated that people who eat 5 cups of chickpeas or other legumes a week have improved fasting blood glucose levels (FBG), fasting blood insulin (FBI) and HbA1c (which reflects the average blood glucose levels over the past 3 months). A great example of what you eat influencing the important numbers discussed in your doctor’s office. 
  • Reducing obesity risk: Diets that include legumes/pulses help to regulate body weight and reduce obesity risk by improving satiety, or satisfaction after eating. This is great news to achieve the ideal situation of eating fewer calories (kilojoules) but not feeling hungry. 
  • Reducing CVD risk: People living with diabetes are at greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD). Enjoying chickpeas or other legumes daily can help lower your blood cholesterol and blood pressure, thereby reducing these important cardiovascular disease risk factors. 
 Chickpeas in a nutshell
  • Chickpeas and other legumes/pulses are highly nutritious with many health benefits including diabetes management, reduction of CVD risk and weight management. 
  • Aim to enjoy a serving of versatile beans, chickpeas or lentils every day. 
 Read more:
 Thanks to Rachel Ananin AKA TheSeasonalDietitian.com for her assistance with this article.  Nicole Senior     
Nicole Senior is an Accredited Nutritionist, author, consultant, cook, food enthusiast and mother who strives to make sense of nutrition science and delights in making healthy food delicious.   Contact: You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or check out her website.


Soybeans and soy products (tofu, tempeh, soy drink and other soy foods) are the nutritional powerhouse of the legume family. A staple of Asian diets for thousands of years, they have long been a mainstay of vegetarian and vegan diets. They are an excellent source of protein, and rich in fibre, iron, zinc and B vitamins. They are lower in carbohydrate and higher in fat than other legumes, the majority of the fat is polyunsaturated.

On the whole, soy foods have not played a major role in the typical Western diet. In contrast, soy is regularly consumed by many Asians at all stages of life from weaning to old age. It’s this difference in levels of soy consumption that got the ball rolling in soy research says Dr Joanna McMillan. “Scientists found that levels of heart disease and many cancers, including breast cancer, were far lower in these soy-eating Asian countries, compared to levels in the West. Numerous studies followed to try to identify what it was about soy that might be protective,” she says.

“Research has centred on two aspects of soy – soy protein and compounds found in soy called isoflavones. Isoflavones are phytoestrogens (meaning ‘plant oestrogen’) and are similar in structure to the hormone oestrogen. These phytoestrogens can act in two ways:

  • They can act like oestrogen. This may be beneficial during menopause for example, when natural oestrogen levels are dropping. Theoretically consuming sufficient phytoestrogens-rich soy at this time can reduce menopausal symptoms. 
  • They can block the action of oestrogen. This is potentially beneficial in for example breast tissue where oestrogen stimulates growth of both normal and cancerous cells. At least one of the isoflavones in soy, called genistein, has been shown in animal studies to inhibit the development of breast cancer. 
 Additionally, isoflavones have been shown to be powerful antioxidants and may in this way contribute to protection against diseases including cancer and heart disease,” says Dr Joanna. “However, I don’t recommend consumption of highly processed soy foods, such as those made from soy protein extract. Consuming these processed foods may have different effects to consuming the wholefood soy products traditional in Asia.” (see Read More below for the link in her blog on soybeans).

Read more:


Lamb Shanks with Garden Peas and Mint from The Good Carbs Cookbook • Tomato, Mozzarella and Olive Quinoa Pizzas from Reversing Diabetes • Peanut Butter and Chickpea Energy Balls from Veggie-licious.

Lamb and pearl barley are a natural pairing and 1 large shank is enough for two people generally, though it depends how hungry they are. This is a one-pot meal you can prepare quickly and leave to gently cook. Add tiny whole carrots, peeled garlic cloves and extra onions with the barley if you like. Prep: 15 minutes • Cook 2 hours • Serves 6
1 tablespoon (20ml) olive oil.
4 large lamb shanks.
1 brown onion, chopped.
About 4 cups (1 litre) chicken stock.
1½ cups pearl barley.
1½ cups garden peas.
1 handful mint leaves, fresh.
1 large orange, zest and juice.
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF (fan 160ºC/315ºF). • Place a large casserole dish on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Pour in the oil and, when hot, add the shanks to brown all over, turning occasionally, for about 8 minutes. Push the shanks to the side of the dish slightly and reduce the heat. Add the onion and cook for about 8 minutes, or until golden. Pour in the stock, bring to a lively simmer, cover and place in the oven for about 1½ hours, or until the shanks are tender. • Rinse the barley, drain and add it to the casserole dish, making sure it is covered in liquid. If not, add a little more stock. Cover and cook for about 25–30 minutes, or until barley is al dente, adding the peas in the last 5 minutes of cooking. Roughly chop half the mint and stir it in with the orange zest and juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Using forks, pull the meat from the bone and serve with the barley and pea mixture, garnished with the remaining mint leaves.

Per serve 
1665kJ/400 calories; 27g protein; 13.5g fat (includes 5g saturated fat; saturated : unsaturated fat ratio 0.56); 37.5g available carbs (includes 4g sugars and 33.5g starches); 8g fibre; 560mg sodium; 630mg potassium; sodium : potassium ratio 0.89

Recipe sourced from The Good Carbs Cookbook by Dr Alan Barclay, Kate McGhie and Philippa Sandall (Murdoch Books). Photography by Alan Benson.

Quinoa has a light, nutty texture with a slight crunch and will give the pizza bases a lovely crisp texture. Serves 4 • Preparation 20 minutes + 1 hour resting • Cooking 1 hour
¼ cup quinoa, rinsed
2 teaspoons instant dried yeast
1 cup wholemeal plain flour
½ cup stone-ground plain flour semolina, for sprinkling
140g (5oz) artichoke hearts in brine, rinsed and halved
100g (3½oz) reduced-fat grated mozzarella cheese
⅓ cup black olives, halved
1 handful basil leaves
200g (7oz) baby English spinach leaves
250g (9oz) baby Roma tomatoes, halved
1 small Lebanese (short) cucumber, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Tomato sauce 
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
500g (1lb 2oz) ripe tomatoes, finely chopped

Put the quinoa and ½ cup water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 10–12 minutes or until all the liquid has evaporated. Transfer to a bowl to cool. • Stir the yeast into 185ml (6fl oz/¾ cup) tepid water until the yeast has dissolved. Combine the quinoa and flours in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre, add the yeast mixture 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. Return the dough to the lightly oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel (dish towel) and rest in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

To make the sauce, heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook the onion, stirring, for 4 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and stir for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. Remove the lid and cook for 5 minutes or until reduced by two-thirds. Set aside to cool, then purée using a stick blender.

Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F). Sprinkle two large baking trays with semolina. Divide the dough into four portions and roll each on a lightly floured surface into a 20cm (8inch) round, about 5mm (¼inch) thick. Place on the prepared trays. • Spread the tomato sauce over the bases, then top with the artichokes, mozzarella and olives. Bake the pizzas for 18–20 minutes or until crisp and golden. Top with the basil leaves and cut into wedges. • Drizzle the spinach, tomatoes and cucumber with the vinegar and serve with the pizzas

Per serve 
1790kJ/ 426 calories; 21g protein; 9.5g fat (includes 3g saturated fat; saturated : unsaturated fat ratio 0.46); 58g available carbs (includes 10g sugars and 48g starches); 11g fibre; 270mg sodium; 1150mg potassium; sodium : potassium ratio 0.23

Recipe sourced from Reversing Diabetes by Dr Alan Barclay (Murdoch Books). Photography by Chris Chen.

Dietitian Caroline Trickey says one of the most common requests she gets from clients is for healthy snack suggestions. These energy balls from her new cookbook, Veggie-licious, are speedy to make and require no cooking. You can use choc chips or cranberries instead of apricots if you prefer. For a vegan version, use maple syrup instead of honey. • Makes about 30 • Prep time 10 minutes.
400g (14oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
½ cup natural peanut butter
¼ cup honey
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup whole rolled oats
⅓ cup chopped dried apricots (optional)
¼ cup shredded coconut, for rolling

Place the chickpeas, peanut butter, honey, cinnamon and oats in a food processor and blend until well combined. • Carefully mix through the chopped apricots by hand if using. • Place the shredded coconut on a dinner plate. Scoop out teaspoons of the mix and roll between your palms to form a ball then roll in the coconut. • Place in an airtight container and store in the fridge.

Per serve (1 energy ball)
246kJ/58 calories; 2g protein; 3g fat (includes less than 1g saturated fat; 6g available carbs; 1g fibre

Recipe sourced from Veggie-licious by Caroline Trickey (www.healthyhomecafe.com) and reproduced with permission.


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