Sunday, 22 April 2012

Bread: why it can be worse than pure sugar

 Most people are surprised when they first hear that a white bread has more of a sugar hit than sugar itself! Fluffy, soft white bread made with finely processed flour has long been considered a delicacy, and certainly tastes great! Unfortunately, it is very high GI – in the order of 70-100 depending on how it is processed, cooked, and how fresh it is, and also influenced by what it is eaten with.
However, bread doesn’t have to be bad for you. Finding yourself a good sourdough bakery that uses wholegrain flours is half the battle!
In NSW we love Morpeth sourdough bread, whose bakery and restaurant are located in Morpeth Village in the Hunter Valley region – and whose bread is stocked in most Harris Farm Markets stores in Sydney. We also enjoy Phillippa’s Bread and Irrewarra Sourdough in Melbourne (available at cafes and gourmet supermarkets).  Recently we found a wonderful sourdough bakery cafe in Melbourne – their bread is pictured above! The bakery is called Knead Bakers, in Burwood Road, Hawthorn. If you know any great sourdough bakeries, let us know and we will link them here for our other readers!
If you go to the GI data tables published by the Sydney University site dedicated to GI, and type bread, you will come up with a list of breads which have been tested for GI. When going through these tables, I have summarised for you what I take as the main principles in choosing bread that is lower GI. Remember, just because a fluffy white loaf has the label “sourdough” does not mean it is low GI. It may have a very small amount of sourdough added.
Jennie Brand Miller explains much better than I can some of the reasons why grain products prepared in different ways can have such different values, including particle size, starch gelatinisation, physical entrapment, quantity of amylose starch, and the type of fibre in the grain. In her article “going the WHOLE grain” she explains that just because something is labelled “wholegrain” it is not necessarily low GI. We encourage you to subscribe to the official GI websites GI News, which publishes monthly articles explaining GI principles.
We think the best idea is to look for breads with a GI symbol on them, and keep in mind the following principles if no GI symbol is yet available:


Denser bread (less air, more substance) will feel heavier when you hold it. If you tap the side of a loaf, it will also make a sound more like a “thud” (more solid). If you are buying it, feel it’s weight, and leave it on the shelf if it feels like a light, fluffy loaf. If you make your own bread, consider the following values published on the GI website:
White bread, prepared with a 10 min prove and a second 2 min proving (low loaf volume)
-GI:38, GL:5
White bread, prepared with a 30 min prove and a second 12 min proving (moderate loaf volume)
-GI:72, GL:9
White bread, prepared with a 60 min prove and a second 30 min proving (moderate loaf volume)
-GI:86, GL:11
White bread, prepared with a 40 min prove, a second 25 min proving and a third 50 min proving (large loaf volume) -GI:100, GL:13
Source: GI database,
It is clear that the longer the yeast is allowed to take effect prior to cooking, or the higher the loaf rises, the higher the GI value will be! My guess is that the science behind this involves the yeast spreading out, taking effect, and doing its work to make the bread easier for us to digest. Following these principles, un-leaven bread should also be lower in GI value.


Rye and barley breads have lower GI values than plain wheat bread, as do breads with seeds added, such as oat flakes, soy and linseed, and multigrain varieties. Stoneground wholewheat flour breads are also lower GI. The principle here to understand is that the more fibrous chunks there are in the bread (such as the larger, coarser grains of stoneground flour), the more work the body has to do to break down and access the starches.
Pumpernickel rye bread with coarse rye kernels has a particularly low GI of 41 with a GL of 5.


As well as grains, sourdough is the most well known additive to lower GI. Sourdough wheat bread has variable GI values, depending on other factors, but seems on average a GI value around 50-60, and a GL value of around 7-8.
People have also added other things to bread to see the effect on GI, such as insoluble fibre, or enzyme inhibitors. These both lower the GI quite significantly. Here an example of what happens to GI when fibre is added in the form of beans:
White bread with 3 g Sunfibre (Cyamoposis tetragonolobus) (Indian cluster guar beans), viscosity 1 (Taiyo Kagaku Co., Ltd, Yokaichi Mie, Japan) GI:53 GL:8
White bread with 5 g Sunfibre (Cyamoposis tetragonolobus) (Indian cluster guar beans), viscosity 1 (Taiyo Kagaku Co., Ltd, Yokaichi Mie, Japan) GI:49, GL:8
White bread with 10 g Sunfibre (Cyamoposis tetragonolobus) (Indian cluster guar beans), viscosity 1 (Taiyo Kagaku Co., Ltd, Yokaichi Mie, Japan) GI:47, GL:8
White bread with 15 g Sunfibre (Cyamoposis tetragonolobus) (Indian cluster guar beans), viscosity 1 (Taiyo Kagaku Co., Ltd, Yokaichi Mie, Japan) GI:37, GL:6
Source: GI database,

Cooking method

One of the interesting values I noticed among the various GI values for bread published was a comparison between barley bread made with 70% barley flour and 40% wheat flour cooked at different rates. The same bread mix had a lower GI when baked more slowly and at a low temperature. GI:70/GL:9 compared to GI:49/GL:6

What it is eaten with

The artificial thing about knowing the GI values of bread is that we don’t just eat bread, we eat it with things, usually in the form of sandwiches. Interestingly, an almond manufacturer measured the effect of consuming various amounts of almonds along with white bread. The GI values were dramatically reduced by consuming more almonds with the bread. If 60g of almonds was eaten, GI value dropped to 44, GL 23, whereas if 30g of almonds were eaten, GI value was 74, GL 37.

In summary…

There is no need to be obsessional, which is why we wanted to explain the principles to you. Overall, choose a heavier, denser loaf, multigrain or sourdough, and eat it with low GI foods. Have a lovely salad sandwich, and follow it with a handful of almonds, and you’ll know you are on the right track!!

Source: (Please aubscribe to the blog feed or bookmark. Lots of great tips for low GI eating)

Monday, 9 April 2012

Foods That Make PCOS Worse

Did you know that what you eat can make your PCOS problems better -- or worse? There are dozens and dozens of medical studies to bear this out. 

Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation and confusion about what foods you should be eating or avoiding. As we see it, medical research is one of the best ways to separate fact from fiction, and thus discover the best way forward. That's why we talk a lot about medical research in this newsletter. 

Today, I want to share what I think is a very important observation about diet. It's a bit technical but try to follow along. This is very important. 

First some background. It seems that most doctors believe that PCOS is a problem of excessive amounts of androgens, which are male hormones produced by your ovaries and adrenal glands. That is why they prescribe pharmaceuticals like birth control pills or spironolactone. 

The purpose of these medications is to reduce androgens and thus make your symptoms go away. (PCOS is actually a disorder that is much more than a problem with male hormones. But that's a topic for another time.) 

If we assume that androgens are causing the symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome, what is causing the excessive androgens in the first place? 

There are many possible answers to this question. A very interesting study just released from Universit√© de Sherbrooke in Canada sheds some light on this confusing issue. 

In a laboratory setting, researchers analyzed androgen-producing adrenal gland cells. When the cells were exposed to high amounts of a saturated fat, they were stimulated to produce more androgens (male hormones). 

Based on this research, could it be that you are consuming too much of the wrong kinds of fat and thus forcing your adrenal glands to produce more androgens? 

The researchers conclude: "This study is the first to demonstrate that lipotoxicity can directly trigger androgen overproduction in vitro, in addition to its well-described impact on [insulin resistance], which strongly supports a central role of lipotoxicity in PCOS pathophysiology." 

"Lipotoxicity" is defined as the "the pathologic changes in organs resultant from elevated fat levels in blood or tissues". One pathological change appears to be that adrenal gland cells start producing excessive amounts of androgens. These androgens contribute to your symptoms of PCOS. 

Essentially, the problem is that you have too much of the wrong kind of fats floating around in your body. 

OK, so what causes this fatty buildup in your tissues? Some of it comes from the fat you eat, especially saturated fat. 

Some of it comes from the refined carbohydrates and convenience foods you eat. For example, high fructose corn syrup is a substance that induces your liver to manufacture fat. This contributes to fatty liver degeneration, which is present in nearly one-half of women with PCOS. 

A third source of the fatty buildup is your inability to efficiently burn fat. Fat-burning is a complex process beyond the scope of this article. But increased exercise would help. 

Bottom Line: 
1) "Lipotoxicity" is a major cause of your PCOS symptoms. 
2) You must distinguish between dietary fats you should be avoiding and those you actually need. 
3) You must understand that consumption of refined carbohydrates and sweeteners makes your fat problem worse. 
4) Excessive undesirable fats in your body increase your symptoms and damage your organs. Even your brain can be adversely affected! 

Your diet is the #1 key to solving your PCOS problems. If you have a copy of "The Natural Diet Solution for PCOS and Infertility" ebook, please review the section on Fats and Oils. Also take a look at the section on Carbohydrates. You need to apply this information if you are to make progress against PCOS.