New sugar not so bad

Sugar is generally not good for you, but an Australian innovation means it is about to become less of a sin.

The world’s first “low GI” sugar is to be launched on Monday, and a nutritionist says it is the healthier alternative to white sugar.

“We’re not trying to say eat more sugar,” said Professor Jennie Brand-Miller, from the University of Sydney.

“But a replacement of current sugar intake by this one would sound like a good idea.”

Manufactured by CSR and marketed under the LoGiCane logo, the new formulation of sugar was developed with the aid of $5.4 million in grants from the Australian and Queensland governments.

Independent tests have put the sugar’s glycemic index (GI) at 50, compared to a GI average of 65 for white sugar.

The glycemic index is a ranking of carbohydrates in food using a 100-point scale according to its differing effect on blood glucose levels.

Foods with a high GI – like white bread, potatoes and jelly beans – are converted to glucose quickly by the body, and Brand-Miller said those spikes in blood glucose levels could damage vital tissues and organs over time.

Low GI foods – such as rolled oats, apples and yoghurt – are converted much more slowly, and they have been shown to reduce glucose levels in people with diabetes while also aiding in efforts to keep a healthy weight.

“There’s a lot of evidence in the medical literature, which is mounting and mounting, to that effect,” Brand-Miller said.

“A low GI diet can help the average person avoid some of the chronic diseases which affect us in increasing amounts – type two diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease.

“The refining process of low-GI sugar was also changed to ensure it retained the micro-nutrients – antioxidants, potassium, calcium, magnesium and more – present in the original sugar cane.

“It’s not just an empty source of calories, what you call ‘hollow calories’,” Brand-Miller said.

“This is a step in the right direction … because the overall glycemic load of the Australian diet is too high and we need to make changes.”

The new sugar is to be officially launched by Agriculture Minister Tony Burke in Canberra.


Send this to a friend