GI News Briefs

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Reducing the Risk of Metabolic Syndrome
The scientific benefits of eating low GI foods as part of a balanced diet are becoming increasingly clear according to Dr Gary Frost, head of the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics at Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust. Hammersmith researchers found that eating just one extra low GI item per meal can reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome. They measured the blood glucose levels of nine people on normal diets, and then put them on a low GI diet involving replacing one low GI item per meal for two weeks. When the readings were taken again eight out of nine had lower blood glucose readings. According to Dr Frost, ‘Any diet measure that was going to be successful needed to be realistic and manageable. The low GI diet (has) the potential to have a huge impact because of its simplicity.’
—Reported in the British Journal of Nutrition(2005) 93, 179–182

They Ate Plenty of Satisfying Foods and Lost Weight
‘A diet focused on glycemic index may be easier to follow than diets restricted in either fat or carbs’ reports David S. Ludwig, MD, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics at Children’s Hospital, Boston in a small study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.’ And there seems to be an additional benefit in reducing the risk of chronic disease.’ In a 12-month study he found that 11 obese 30-year-olds on a “slow carb” diet lost similar amounts of weight weight to 12 of their obese peers on a conventional low-fat diet. But they also lowered their risk of heart disease. They didn’t avoid fats or carbs. They didn’t count kilojoules/calories or eat prepackaged foods. The key was eating plenty of satisfying foods that the body can’t quickly convert into sugar—what are called slow or low GI carbs.
—Reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (1 May 2005)

The Type of Carb Can Tip the Scales
Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) analysed the eating habits of 572 people in Central Massachusetts and found a clear link between the intake of certain carbohydrate foods and higher body mass index (BMI). They found that people who ate more refined grains, starchy vegetables, white flour and similar carbohydrates were significantly heavier than people who ate foods with ‘good carbohydrates’ such as wholegrains, non-starchy vegetables, nuts and seeds. It wasn’t the total amount of carbohydrates that made the difference, it was the type of carbohydrates eaten that tipped the scales. “There are many factors involved in obesity, but our study found a clear association with eating certain carbohydrates and body weight,” said Yunsheng Ma, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine at UMMS.

Photo: Ian Hofstetter, The Low GI Diet Cookbook
—Reported in the American Journal of Epidemiology (15 February 2005; vol 161: pp 359–367)

This for That!
‘The simple change from white bread to lower-GI bread within a high carbohydrate diet could reduce the risk of diabetes,’ according to Australian researchers writing Diabetes Care. For many people, just swapping ‘bread type may be a more acceptable dietary change than one requiring a whole new eating pattern.’ The researchers who included Allison Hodge of the Cancer Council in Victoria, followed the diets and health records of more than 36,000 men and women in Australia for four years. They found white bread was the food most strongly related to diabetes incidence—participants who ate the most white bread (more than 17 slices per week) had the highest risk of diabetes.
—Reported in Diabetes Care (November 2004; vol 27: pp 2701–2706)