DO WE NEED AN INSULIN INDEX OF FOODS?

If you asked me this question 10 years ago, I would have said no because knowledge of the GI and GL appeared to be sufficient to predict the insulin response. My PhD student at the time, Jiansong (Jason) Bao had proved this in an elegant study involving 121 single foods and 13 mixed meals (1). …

DIABETES REMISSION: FACT OR FANTASY?

If you have had a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, can it be reversed or ‘cured’ if you do all the right things? This was a question that scientists at the University of Glasgow asked themselves in 2015 when they began the Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial (DiRECT (1)). They recruited people aged 20-65 years who …

‘ULTRA-PROCESSED FOODS’ – ANOTHER RED HERRING?

It’s nothing new to demonise food processing. As a student of food science and nutrition, I read on one hand that food processing was necessary, helping to preserve foods and prevent food wastage, while on the other hand, it was a necessary evil that stripped foods of important nutrients. Milling of wheat grains into white …

MEDITERRANEAN DIET – DOES THE GI MATTER?

The health benefits of a Mediterranean diet (Med-diet) are simply undeniable. But what exactly do we mean by a Med-diet and does it matter if the carbohydrates that are consumed as part of it are low or high glycemic index (GI)? What exactly is the Mediterranean diet? The traditional Mediterranean diet was originally found in …

THE DREADED C WORD

It’s likely that nearly all of us have a relative or friend who has had a diagnosis of cancer, if not ourselves. As a woman, I know I have a 1 in 8 chance of developing breast cancer – very high stakes in anybody’s terms. Indeed, breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths …

IS A SLOWER METABOLISM THE REASON I’M GAINING WEIGHT AS I GROW OLDER?

The answer to this question was contained in one of the most important studies published in 2021. Herman Pontzer from the Department of Evolutionary Anthropology at Duke University in the United States and colleagues conducted the first ever meta-analysis of precise energy expenditure in humans across the whole lifespan [1]. In total, they studied over …

WHAT DO WE MEAN BY A LOW GLYCEMIC LOAD DIET?

If you put the keywords glycemic load AND diet into Google Scholar for studies published in 2020 and 2021, you’ll get over 10,000 results. Some of those hits describe clinical trials comparing a low glycemic load (GL) diet with a high one. But what exactly do we mean by a diet with a low glycemic …

THE DEMONISATION OF SUGAR

Fifty years ago, sugar was a good in anybody’s language. Sweetness was equivalent to goodness and Sweetheart was a name we called our closest loved ones. In the 1970s, as a student of food science and technology, I learned how refined sugar (sucrose) was an important preservative, a flavour enhancer in small amounts, and an …

WHAT IS RESISTANT STARCH? IS IT GOOD OR BAD FOR US?

Short answer: It’s good and we should eat more of it. But what is it and where can we find more? Resistant starch is just like it sounds – starch that resists digestion in the small intestine. Like many things in science, it was discovered by accident by John Cummings and colleagues at the MRC …

HOW IMPORTANT IS OUR MICROBIOME?

We know the average human being has about 20,000 genes sitting on 23 pairs of chromosomes. They make us into the unique individuals that we are. Surprisingly, however, we also have many freeloaders – various bacteria, fungi and viruses – within our body that contain about 100 times more genes – at least 2,000,000 and …