Posts Tagged ‘GI Foods’
Fast Food Consumption Drives Childhood Obesity: Family Education on Healthy Food is Essential to Healthy Lifestyle.Monday, August 8th, 2011
The following article appearing in Science News 2nd August 2011 summarises the problem the US is facing with childhood obesity and Australia is not far behind. Approximately 1.5 million Australians under the age of 18 are overweight or obese. This is a startling 20% to 25% of that sub group of the Australian population. If this trend is not reversed soon the cost to Australian taxpayers in health expenses will be massive.
“What’s in a Kids Meal? Not Happy News
ScienceDaily (Aug. 2, 2011) — High-calorie, high-sodium choices were on the menu when parents purchased lunch for their children at a San Diego fast-food restaurant. Why? Because both children and adults liked the food and the convenience.
However, the study of data compiled by researchers in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego, appearing this week in the new journal, Childhood Obesity, showed that convenience resulted in lunchtime meals that accounted for between 36 and 51 percent of a child’s daily caloric needs. In addition, 35 to 39 percent of calories came from fat and the meals provided more than 50 percent of the recommended total daily sodium intake for most children- and as high as 100 percent of sodium levels recommended for pre-schoolers.
“We found that families perceived fast-food restaurants as easy and cheap, and many were using fast food as a reward for their children,” said Kerri N. Boutelle, PhD, Behavioral Director of the Weight and Wellness Clinic at the University of California, San Diego and Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego, who has studied childhood obesity, its causes and treatment for over 15 years. “Considering the high prevalence of fast-food consumptions by adults as well as kids, it’s important to recognize the impact of fast food and its impact on the current obesity epidemic in the U.S.”
The UC San Diego researchers surveyed 544 families with children entering a fast-food chain restaurant located inside Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, California at lunch time over a six-week period. Families were asked to retain and present their receipts from food purchases and complete a brief survey. Families were provided a $2 incentive to participate.
Families were asked to clarify their purchases: for whom each item was purchased, if items were shared, sizes of individual items (small, medium, large), whether soft drinks were regular or diet, what items were included in any combination meals purchased, and if there were any modifications to their order. For every purchased item, the surveyors asked for age and gender of the person eating it.
“The number of meals and snacks eaten away from home is believed to contribute to excess calories consumed by children, and this number has increased dramatically in the past 30 years,” said Boutelle. “On a typical day, a remarkable 30 percent of youth report consuming fast food.”
The purpose of the study was to evaluate the nutritional content and quality of food, as well as the reasons reported for dining at a fast-food restaurant. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the top reasons for going to this restaurant were “the children like the food” and it was “convenient.” Just over half the families reported the choice as “a reward for visiting the hospital” (about the same number as replied “hungry with no other options”).
But adults also overwhelmingly reported that they liked the food. The toys included with the children’s meals did not appear to be a top reason (49 percent said it didn’t enter into their decision “at all”).
The nutritional content of the food choices supported other published data on fast-food and dietary intake on children. The highest percentage of daily caloric needs represented by these meals (51 percent) was in the age 2 to 5 years. Menu items most frequently purchased for preschoolers were French fries, soda, chicken nuggets, cheeseburgers and hamburgers. Meals for older children years were similar, with the addition of hot apple pies (ages 6 to 11) and chocolate chip cookies (ages 12 to 18).
Of note, soda was purchased much more often than milk or juice when a drink was purchased. The researchers also observed that while healthier options such as apple dippers or fruit parfaits were available, families did not seem to choose them over more typical fast foods.
Strengths of this study were that purchase receipts were an objective measure of meal choices, and a large number of families — both economically and ethnically diverse — was polled. However, limitations included the lack of data on what was actually consumed, and that the study may have been influenced by the restaurant’s location inside a children’s hospital, limiting the choice of restaurants if not the food choices themselves.
“Bottom line, we need to educate families on making health decisions when in a fast-food restaurant,” said Boutelle, acknowledging that any intervention to decrease fast-food consumption will need to take into account that people of all ages simply like fast food.”
The education is in fact simple and the food choices are not only simple but tasty. Good food is not about wearing a sackcloth! It is simply about smart informed choices. Simple choices such as low GI (Glycemic Index) foods. Less refined sugar, no trans fats. At Nushie’s Natural we believe healthy food is not only good for you but tasty as well. Try our low GI ice creamery. No transfats and no refined sugars. It is also organic, dairy and gluten free and tastes fabulous.
Some well considered points made by highly regarded dietitian Nicole Senior.
“Myth: Sustainable food is only a greenie’s issue.
Fact: Sustainable food should be on everyone’s shopping list if we want quality of life for our children and grandchildren. World population is exploding and we’re starting to run out of the raw materials to grow food: land, soil, water, fossil fuel and fertiliser.
Farming: We’ve done a great job in producing more food and quite cheaply, but we failed miserably in feeding everyone and feeding ourselves in a healthy way: just look at the dual-scourges of hunger and over-nutrition. We have also done terrible damage to the environment while doing it. Our food systems have simply failed to account for the environmental costs of deforestation, soil erosion, salinity, residues of artificial fertilisers and pesticides, rivers drained for irrigation and severe losses of biodiversity: an awful case of short term-ism that is now starting to bite, and hard. We only have a small amount of arable land and fertile soil which we are losing at such a rate there are new terms to describe these dual disasters: ‘peak land’ and ‘peak soil’: Some experts say we only have 60 years of topsoil left.
Climate change is the big fat blow-fly in the ointment, adding further pressure to a system already under extreme stress. Changes in temperature, rainfall, carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere and increased extreme weather events all add uncertainty and variability to growing food the way we always have. Water is another precious resource to grow food, yet our rampant over-use, inefficiency and waste is compromising future food supplies: you can add ‘peak water’ to the list. Innovative sustainable agriculture is our best hope, but many governments around the world are complacent and not funding the research needed.
People: The global food system is under pressure from exploding population growth and the ‘nutrition transition’ whereby people emerging from poverty start to eat a more Western (higher protein) diet. We will have more mouths to feed, and more of them will want meat. And why shouldn’t they? Iron deficiency anaemia is one the most common childhood illnesses in the developing world and eating a little meat will fix it. And yet here we are ordering 500g (1lb 2oz) steaks in restaurants for lunch or dinner (enough meat for others for a whole week).
Choices We are lucky enough to be able to choose what we eat. Many people are already choosing better for a more equitable and sustainable food system. But there are also folks who don’t know where to start to make an impact on such huge complex problems. Here are my small but positive steps you can take to ensure you’re eating a fair share of the earth’s bounty, and moving our food system toward sustainability:
Respect and appreciate your food: it is precious and life-giving – you are lucky to have it
Base your meals on plant foods and use meat as a nutritious garnish: meats from smaller animals and eggs are nutritious and have a smaller environmental impact
Choose local, seasonal, organic produce and ‘fair trade’ when you can
Try not to overeat, and eat less highly processed ‘junk’ food
Teach your children where food comes from and how to cook healthy meals
Grow whatever vegetables, fruit and herbs you can (in a window-box if necessary)
Avoid food waste by only buying what you need and managing leftovers wisely
Recycle food packaging and compost green waste (or get a worm farm)”
We would simply add always choose organic wholefoods such as Nushie’s Natural products where possible. They do taste fabulous and are healthy for you.
© GI News, Human Nutrition Unit, University of Sydney
Nicole Senior is an Accredited Practising Dietitian, nutrition consultant, author and food enthusiast with an interest in food and environment issues. She believes healthy food need not cost the earth.
Lilly Babet on Health + Wellbeing summarises succinctly why sugar makes us fat. And it is all about processed refined sugar. Not fructose (which is also low on the Glycemic Index), although everything in moderation, but refined glucose and sucrose.
Here’s what Libby has to say:
You’ve heard it a million times… sugar makes you fat. In fact, with all the hoo-ha about evil ol’ sugar, you’re probably even beginning to believe that the devil himself comes in the form of a small, white, sickeningly sweet granule!
But what you may still be asking yourself is just why sugar is so bad for you. After all, it’s a ‘natural’ product and hasn’t got any fat in it… and isn’t it fat that makes you, well, fat?!
There are so many studies out there on the sugar/health connection but one man who sums it all up pretty well is Doctor Robert Lustig, a Professor in the Division of Endocrinology at the University of California, who has been a real pioneer in decoding the way sugar is metabolised in the body.
According to Lustig, “It’s not about the calories. It has nothing to do with the calories. It (sugar) is a poison by itself”.
But why? Here’s what Dr. Lustig has to say:
• Eating too many dietary carbohydrates, especially from sugars, causes fat to become fixed in fat tissue (rather than used as energy, or moved out of the body).
• Sugar intake raises your insulin levels, which can prevent fat from being released and ‘flushed’ from the body.
• Eating too much sugar directly causes free fatty acids to turn into triglycerides that get stored as fat (this is particularly true of fructose, a kind of sugar found in just about any processed food, baked item or sweetened drink, including fruit juice. Also found in high levels in dried fruit!)
Sugars can directly interfere with your brain’s communication with leptin, the hormone that suppresses your appetite. So your likelihood of overeating and obsessively craving not-so-wholesome foods increases.
So how much is too much?
According to Dr Joseph Mercola, a renowned expert in natural health, these are the guidelines you should follow (most of the time) to make sure your diet is balanced, foods are processed effectively and the evil little sugar monster doesn’t take too firm a grip on your health (and your bod!):
• Limit sugar intake to less than 25 grams per day. At least 15 grams of these sugars should come from fruit, which doesn’t leave a lot of wriggle room for other, more processed foods. An apple alone has between 5-10 grams of fructose, so imagine the damage a single can of Coke would do!
• Limit or eliminate processed foods, which contain hidden sugars – the worst kind!
• Eliminate as much gluten and other highly allergenic foods from your diet as possible (this includes Soy, which can be fairly sugary).
• Eat organic, locally-grown foods where possible, or give your fruit and veg a good wash! Hidden toxins from spraying can contribute to a stressed-out liver. Combine that with excess sugars flooding that same lil’ liver and it ain’t pretty!
• Eat at least one-third of your food raw/uncooked. A big salad at lunch time should do it!
• Increase the amount of vegetables in your diet. Even a little can make a big difference.
• Avoid artificial sweeteners of all kinds (they’ll just make you crave real sugars and are not great for you in the first place).
• Swap all trans fats (vegetable oils, margarine etc) for healthful fats like avocado, raw butter or coconut oil. These healthy fats help to ‘flush’ stubborn fats from the body and decrease sugar’s impact.
• Take a high quality omega-3 supplement (fish or krill oil, or flaxseed oil for vegetarians): this helps your body to process sugars in a more healthful way and will increase fat burn too!
• Drink plenty of water
Optimise your vitamin D levels, either through appropriate sun exposure, eating the right foods, or with a D3 supplement.
Nushie’s Natural recognises the unhealthy nature of too much sugar in a daily diet. Nushie’s Natural wholefoods are Australian Certified Organic. They do not contain any added refined processed sugar and are lactose and gluten free. Try Nushie’s Natural Ice Creamery which tastes fabulous and is a low GI food. Nushie’s Ice Creamery contains no transfats, is lactose free, gluten free and all organic.
New research (from the Marche Polytechnic University (UNIVPM, in Italy) and the University of Granada (UGR, in Spain and published in Food Chemistry )has confirmed the anti oxidant capacity of strawberries and that they help reduce many diseases.
The research demonstrated that regular consumption of strawberries can improve the antioxidant capacity of blood plasma and also the resistance of red blood cells to oxidative haemolysis (fragmentation).
The body has an extensive arsenal of very diverse antioxidant mechanisms, which act at different levels. These can be cellular tools that repair oxidised genetic material, or molecules that are either manufactured by the body itself or consumed through the diet, which neutralise free radicals. Strawberries contain a large amount of phenolic compounds, such as flavonoids, which have antioxidant properties.
These substances reduce oxidative stress, an imbalance that occurs in certain pathologies, (such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes) and physiological situations (birth, aging, physical exercise), as well as in the battles between “reactive kinds of oxygen” — in particular free radicals — and the body’s antioxidant defences.
When the level of oxidation exceeds these antioxidant defences, oxidative stress occurs. Aside from causing certain illnesses, this is also implicated in phenomena such as the speed at which we may age, for example.
“The important thing is that strawberries should form a part of people’s healthy and balanced diet, as one of their five daily portions of fruit and vegetables,” Maurizio Battino, lead author of the study and a researcher at the UNIVPM, said.
Strawberries have been well know to have health benefits but this is the first time a live study has demonstrated the actual benefit to red blood cells.
Some of the other health benefits of Strawberries are:
• Since strawberries are rich in fiber, they help the body in absorbing nutrients.
• Strawberries are good for diabetics, as they help stabilize the level of blood glucose. Strawberries have a low GI factor.
• Strawberries help in regulate blood pressure and thus, diminishing the risk of heart disease.
• Strawberries have been associated with inhibiting the production of cholesterol in the liver.
• Strawberries have been known to help the body in getting rid of harmful toxins.
• The high antioxidant levels in strawberries can help the body neutralize the destructive effects of free radicals.
• The potassium in strawberries helps regulate the electrolytes in the body, in turn lowering the risk of stroke
• strawberries are high in antioxidants and flavonoids, compounds that have been shown to reduce the risk of cancer
Nushie’s Natural Strawberry Ice Creamery contains 23% organic strawberries. 2 servings or scoops contain approximately 25% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C.
The Glycemic Index (GI as it is commonly known) is a measurement of the quality of carbohydrates in a particular food and how fast 50 grams of this carbohydrate raises blood glucose levels, (and consequent insulin secretion and effects produced by the pancreas) as it is digested.
The GI ranks carbohydrates on a scale from 0 to 100 according to the extent to which they raise blood sugar levels after eating. Foods with high GI levels and which are rapidly digested and absorbed result in marked fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Low GI foods are slowly digested and absorbed and therefore produce gradual rises in blood sugar and insulin levels. Low GI foods have been proven to have benefits for health.
Low GI diets:
- improve both glucose and lipid levels in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and
- reduce insulin levels and insulin resistance
Recent studies from Harvard School of Public Health indicate that the risks of diseases such as coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes are strongly related to the GI of the overall diet. The World Health Organisation in 1999 recommended that we base our diets on low GI foods in order to avoid the common diseases of affluence such as obesity, coronary heart disease and diabetes.
Low GI foods are most fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts and wholegrains and fructose. High GI foods include corn syrup, most ice creams, starches, rice, glucose and sucrose.
A low GI diet can also help reduce stress. By providing a steady low release of glucose to the blood stream through a low GI diet, the body is able to have a long lasting supply of energy which can maintain a high performance at work, or be used for extra leisure activities and a good general mood.
Stress is a major factor affecting our overall health today Stress is a non-specific ailment that affects the body as a whole. The immune system is depress arising allergies and prone to get sick. The digestive system does not function effectively and the absorption of nutrients is reduced.
Managing stress involves a good diet. A low GI diet can prove beneficial by improving digestive function, enhancing the immune system and providing a long lasting and steady supply of energy (glucose) to maintain an active life style.
Try Nushies Natural Ice Creamery. It is an all natural plant based food that is not only lactose and gluten free but also low GI. A fabulous healthy alternative to unhealthy high GI foods.