The take home message from health authorities for the past three decades has been 'eat less fat, especially saturated fat'. Now a new paradigm is arising: that the processed carbohydrates which replaced the energy from fat, may increase the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease more so than fat - a finding that has enormous implications for the Australian food and agricultural industry. Both quantity and quality of carbohydrate are relevant to the debate. The rate of digestion and absorption of carbohydrates is assessed as their ‘glycemic index' (GI).
This lecture will focus on well-designed studies demonstrating that carbohydrates that are slowly digested and absorbed (i.e. low GI carbs) are good for health and reduce risk factors associated with lifestyle-related diseases such as diabetes. Improving carbohydrate quality is therefore a better approach to health and sustainability issues than ‘ditching the carbs'. Professor Jennie Brand-Miller is recognised for her work on carbohydrates and diabetes. Her books under the series title The New Glucose Revolution have sold over 3.5 million copies worldwide and appeared in 12 languages.