Curly Questions

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Should you be worried about the GI status of your food?
In this podcast recorded in July 2008, Prof Jennie Brand-Miller talks to ABC Radio’s Hilary Harper and answers the question: “Should you be worried about the GI status of your food?” Jennie also answers questions from callers.

Play the Podcast above or download here

Some parents in my child’s under-9s sports team have decided to offer jelly beans as well as the usual orange segments at half time, as they think it will give the kids more energy to finish the game. Is this so? Can you suggest some healthier alternatives?

Dr Emma Stevenson

We asked Dr Emma Stevenson, a specialist in sport nutrition to answer this:Thanks for this good question. It is common belief that it is necessary to consume jelly sweets during exercise to provide more energy but in reality, energy stores will not have run out at half time. The most important thing is to ensure that the kids are well hydrated, so at half time the main focus should be providing them with fluid, either in the form of cold water or cordial. I would not encourage children as young as nine to be consuming sugary snacks or drinks during exercise, especially if they are overweight. My advice would be to carry on with the orange segments (perhaps sometimes providing fruit alternatives such as a handful of grapes or raisins) and ensure that some fluid is taken on board. After the game, you can encourage the intake of high carbohydrate foods for recovery but this can be in the form of fruit bread, malt loaf, bananas, low sugar cereal bars and low sugar cereals with milk. It is important that children do not associate exercise with the need to eat sweets to re-energise and good nutritional practices from a young age need to be adopted.


‘I am interested in grinding and flaking my own grain for home baking and muesli. What can you tell me about doing this?’
We aren’t experts in this, but here’s a tip from someone who really is the expert – Lorna Sass. Her fabulous book Whole grains every day every way is an invaluable and essential guide to cooking grains, and has some really great recipes (and it deservedly won a James Beard Award in 2006).


She reports that ‘a small coffee grinder makes a fine job of making coarse meal and grits from whole kernels and flour from rolled grains.’ This is probably a bit of a laborious way to grind and flake grain in the quantities you need for home baking and muesli, but worth a try. We have certainly used the coffee grinder option to make a sort of rolled oats flour for adding to muffin recipes as a partial substitution for refined flour. You might like to check out her website for more information. There’s contact form for detailed questions:

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