Food For Thought

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‘We urgently need nutrition messages that fire the imagination and encourage even unmotivated people to adopt effective dietary strategies that reduce the risk of chronic disease,’ writes Prof. Jennie Brand-Miller in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2005; 81: 949–50).’ She points out that during the past two decades when low-fat diets and plenty of cereal foods were actively promoted, the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes has soared and the overweight are the majority in industrialised nations.

‘The new Dietary Guidelines in the US sensibly give greater emphasis to increasing wholegrain foods as opposed to refined grains,’ she says. But, they still don’t come to grips with the fact that most individuals will simply choose to ignore that advice (it’s been around for over 50 years). Furthermore, there are clear advantages to eating low GI foods, even when the diet is high in fibre. Many so-called wholegrain breads and breakfast cereals produce as much postprandial glycemia as their white counterparts.

If the experience in Australia and more recently the UK is anything to go by, many people warm to the low GI message according to Prof. Brand-Miller. They don’t find it a difficult concept to understand at all. They are making the switch to low GI carbs and finding that a low GI diet is easy to live with, flexible, fits in with family and friends and reduces hunger even during weight loss.

The research shows that a low GI diet will:

  • Lower day-long blood glucose and insulin levels
  • Maximise the oxidation (burning) of fat
  • Help control hunger
  • Reduce risk of diabetes, heart attack, stroke and some cancers

Prof. Jennie Brand-Miller is Professor of Human Nutrition at the University of Sydney and author of a number of books on the glycemic index including The New Glucose Revolution and The Low GI Diet.