High GI foods linked to lifestyle diseases


Sydney: Scientists in Australia have found conclusive evidence that a high GI diet, generally rich in food that is burnt by the body quickly, leads to a higher risk of common lifestyle diseases.

The Glycemic Index (GI) is a measure of how different foods affect your blood glucose levels, with those that are “low GI” released more slowly and deemed better for health. This slow release means that less insulin is released into the bloodstream and the body’s stores less fat.

A team of nutrition experts at the University of Sydney evaluated 37 diet studies involving nearly two million people worldwide to analyse the effect of eating high GI foods, which are usually highly processed.

The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found a link between a high GI diet and a high risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.The diet was also linked to gall stones and some types of cancer.

Lead researcher, Alan Barclay said: “The key message from this study is that the GI of your diet is a powerful predictor of disease risk.Grandma was right, you are what you eat.”

He said the link with diabetes was “not surprising” because eating high GI foods inflates your blood glucose and insulin levels.

“You may literally ‘wear out’ your pancreas over time and eventually it may lead to type 2 diabetes in older age,” Mr Barclay said.

The researchers were more surprised by the “strong relationship” between GI and cancer.

High GI foods cause constant spikes in blood glucose which increase insulin and a related substance called ‘insulin-like growth factor one’, both of which have been shown to increase the risk of developing cancer.

“Other research shows that a high GI diet tends to reduce ‘good’ HDL cholesterol levels and raise triglycerides levels; bad news for cardiovascular diseases,” he said.

“And people with low HDL cholesterol and high triglyceride levels are more prone to gall stones.”

The researchers said their findings support eating a low GI diet to maintain healthy weight and help avoid disease.

Caryl Nowson, a professor of nutrition and ageing at Deakin University in Melbourne, said because high GI foods were typically high in fat and sugar and low in fibre, they were also ready known to be linked with disease.

“This review is just a new way of breaking down dietary information we already have,” Prof Nowson said.

She said while the benefits of eating according to GI rating had been proven, it was just one of many ways to structure a healthy diet.

“If you focus on having a classically balanced diet high in fibre and low in sugar, fat and refined foods you’ll find you’re eating relatively low GI anyway,” Prof Nowson said.

Low carbohydrate diet may slow prostate cancer


New York: A low-carbohydrate diet may help slow the growth of prostate tumours, according to researchers at Duke University.

They have discovered that a diet low in carbohydrates facilitates a reduction in insulin production which stalls prostate tumour growth, according to a report in Science Daily.

Lead researcher and urologist, Dr Stephen Freedland of the Duke University Medical Centre said: “This study showed that cutting carbohydrates may slow tumour growth.”

The research, on rodents, compared prostate tumour growth in 75 animals that were eating either a low-carbohydrate diet, a low-fat but high-carbohydrate diet, or a Western diet which is high in fat and carbohydrates.

They found that those ate a low-carbohydrate diet had the longest survival and smallest tumour size — the findings have been published in the ‘Prostate’ journal.

According to Dr Freedland, “Low-fat mice had shorter survival and larger tumours while mice on the Western diet had the worst survival and biggest tumours.

“In addition, though both the low-carb and low-fat mice had lower levels of insulin, only the low-carb mice had lower levels of the form of insulin-like growth factor capable of stimulating tumour growth.

“The low-carbohydrate diet definitely had the most significant effect on tumour growth and survival.”

Dr Freedland and his fellow researchers are now planning to test the findings of this study in humans. “If this is ultimately confirmed in human clinical trials, it has huge implications for prostate cancer therapy through something that all of us can control, our diets.”



This is main energy food needed by the body and it is found in sugars (honey, sweets, fruits) and starches (pasta, potatoes, flour, corn). But carbohyrate comes in two types – fast and slow release. Fast includes sweets, sugars, and honey which give a burst of energy via the blood sugars and slow release which includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains provide sustained energy – this is because they contain complex carbohydrates. Most people should aim to eat mostly slow-release as this stabalises blood sugar levels and helps maintain a health weight and assists in the prevention of diabetes.


Eating the right food for your age



ANAEMIA (IRON): Teenage girls, particularly vegetarians are prone to anaemia. Partly because they loose iron in menstruation

at the same time as not getting it in the diet. Leafy green vegetables and apricots are good iron sources, but unless you eat

red meat twice a week, he recommends that teenage girls take an iron supplement containing vitamin C to aid absorption.

ACNE (ZINC): Zinc is vital for growth and repair of tissues and it regulates hormones.Low levels can lead to hormone

sensitivity and imbalances, a common trigger for teenage acne. Found in green leafy vegetables and seafood, Nigel recommends

an intake of 15 to 30mg of zinc a day – the equivalent of two servings of green vegetables or one serving of seafood.

MOODS(B-VITAMINS): Teenage blues are exacerbated by low levels of B-vitamins as well as zinc, magnesium and selenium. Vitamin

B6 (50mg daily) in particular has been shown to reduce PMS related mood swings. To ensure sufficient B-vitamins and

magnesium, teenagers should be eating three to five helpings of vegetables a day. Brazil nuts are a good source of selenium.

BONES (CALCIUM): Calcium is contained in cheese but it is far better to get it from grains and leafy green vegetables. Also

regular weight-bearing exercise which encourages calcium deposition in the


For every unit of alcohol consumed drink at least half a glass of water on top of the daily water requirement of two litres

per day. Eat fresh fruit and vegetables and take a good multivitamin and mineral supplement, which includes vitamins B and C as these are destroyed by alcohol.

ENERGY & STRESS (B-VITAMINS): Vitamin B helps the body release energy and promotes skin and hair health. The Bs are also

stress busters supporting the adrenal glands and nervous system. In addition to eating plenty of fresh vegetables, take a B

complex supplement to boost energy levels and reduce stress.

LATE 20s TO MID 30s

FERTILITY (MULTI VITAMINS/ZINC): Zinc plays a key role in fertility so a diet rich in leafy green vegetables and seafood for

good for women, and men, attempting to conceive. Vitamins C and E found in fruit and vegetables are also implicated in health reproductive function.

PREGNANCY (FOLIC ACID/OILY FISH): Women of childbearing age should consider a folic acid supplement (400mg daily) as this

reduces the risk of key birth defects. Pregnant women should also eat lots of oily fish containing essential fatty acids as these help with brain development in unborn babies.

AGEING AND WRINKLES (ANTIOXIDANTS): To slow the formation of wrinkles, drink plenty of water to prevent dehydrated skin and

eat lots of fruit and vegetables containing antioxidant nutrients which fight the effects of ageing. A daily antioxidant

supplement should be taken to protect against ageing diseases such as those of the heart or cancer.

STRESS (GINSENG/B-VITAMINS): Career and personal life stress can be assisted with B-vitamins and
Siberian Ginseng, a herbal supplement that protects the adrenal glands,

MID 30s TO 40s

SLOWING METABOLISM (HEALTHY SNACKS): Metabolism slows with age resulting in weight gain but a major study recently found that snacking – eating little and often – could prevent this. Blood sugar is also better controlled, preventing hunger pangs. To boost your metabolic rate, he also recommends Kelp supplements which contain iodine, a substance needed by the thyroid gland which regulates food breakdown.

WATER RETENTION (OILY FISH/SEEDS): Water retention, dry skin and mood swings at this age may be caused by low-fat diets

replacing them with so called slimmers’ foods. The body needs good fats for
skin health, hormone production and water regulation, so always remember to eat oily fish or seeds which contain essential fats. Eat slow release carbohydrates in fresh fruits and vegetables rather than slimming foods.

SKIN (EVENING PRIMROSE OIL): As well as antioxidant vitamins, eat plenty of oily fish or supplements of Evening Primrose Oil to prevent dry skin and fat soluble vitamins which fight wrinkles.’

50s AND 60s

MENOPAUSE (SOYA BEANS): Soyabeans and their derivatives Tofu and Tempeh – are rich in plant oestrogens, which replace falling oestrogen levels at the menopause. Eating two servings daily, or a 30mg supplement of soya isoflavones can offset the menopausal symptoms such as osteoporosis and mood swings. Tofu is also known to lower breast cancer risk.

HOT FLUSHES (BLACK COHOSH): A herbal remedy, available from most health
food shops, has been found in scientific studies to relieve hot flushes.


IMMUNITY (THYME): Thyme picked from the garden and used in food is an excellent antioxidant and immune boosterUsed as an infusion in hot water, or rubbed onto the skin in oil, it can also break up mucus to relieve congestion. Eat little and often as large meals strain the digestive system, especially in the elderly, lowering immune function.

MEMORY (GINKGO BILOBA): This herbal supplement boosts circulation and oxygen supply helping prevent cold hands and feet. Studies have also found it effective in preventing memory loss and dementia.’

JOINTS (GLUCOSAMINE): Glucosamine is produced naturally in the body to repair cartilage, but with age, we produce less and less. Supplementation with glucosamine sulphate has been found to promote joint repair and supplements of 500mg daily can even reverse mild arthritis.’

To keep bones healthy, you should also eat lots of calciumrich grains and leafy green vegetables.