With one in five children and adolescents overweight or obese, pear growers are calling for Australian ‘foodies’ to set an example for Australian parents, by making sure their recipes taste good and are healthy too.
“Australia is facing a health crisis,” said Australian chef and media personality Peter Howard. “One in four Australian adults suffer from diabetes, at least 50% of NSW adults are overweight or obese, and cardiovascular disease accounted for 36% of all deaths in Australia in 2004.
“Both chefs in state-of-the-art kitchens and parents at home have a duty of care to ensure that their meals are part of the solution and not the problem,” said Howard.
Howard, who was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2004 following years of ‘succeeding by excess’, says that maintaining a low GI diet is the key to sustaining overall good health.
A low GI diet involves eating foods that contain carbohydrates that breakdown slowly during digestion, such as wholemeal pasta and fresh pears. Research suggests that following a low GI diet reduces the risk of heart disease and blood cholesterol and improves diabetes control.
“Look at Nigella Lawson, she is a fantastic British chef, but even her own husband had to stop eating her food to lose weight,” he said. “Incorporating low GI foods, such as pears, into the menu is a very easy step on the road to healthy eating.
“Simply add one pear to your morning and afternoon tea routine and a third to your supper,” he added. “Any time of the day can be pear o’clock, there is no need to delegate them to the snack food pile. Add one to your cereal, throw some pear into a salad or serve with pork at dinner time.”
University of Sydney Professor of Human Nutrition and former President of the Nutrition Society of Australia, Jennie Brand-Miller, agrees with Howard that a balanced low GI diet is the key to healthy wellbeing.
“Large studies into the impact of low GI have clearly demonstrated the positive affect that this lifestyle choice has on overall health,” said Brand-Miller. “The results indicated that eating high GI foods increase the oxidative stress in cells within hours of their consumption. This cell stress quickly leads to cell death, which can result in premature aging and cardiovascular disease – it is the first sign that things are wrong.
“The worst way to manage health through diet is to start counting calories and reduce the amount of food being eaten,” said Brand-Miller. “It is best to be choosy about what you eat, rather than simply reduce the amount you are eating.
“Swapping high GI foods for those with a low GI is the best place to start. It is incredibly important to eat well, take pleasure in what you are eating and choose what tastes good.
“Pears have the second lowest GI of any fresh fruit (second to only grapefruit). With the season just upon us, now is the perfect time to incorporate them into your diet.
This season’s pears are available from April to November and will include Australia’s most popular pear varieties Packhams, Williams and Buerre Bosc. Red Anjou, Josephine and Lemon Bergamot pears are also available.
There are over two million pear trees in Australia, which produce more than 180,000 tonnes of pears each year.