The wellness revolution in 2019 has continued to introduce us to weird, wonderful and at times, confusing diets and trends. However, along with these food fads come many restrictions that make it challenging for the everyday Aussie to follow.
Many of 2019's trendy diets encourage us to completely cut out some of our favourite, yet highly beneficial, food groups in order to live a healthy life. At the top of this list has been eliminating all carbohydrates, despite low GI carbs found to be an important part of overall health. In addition, numerous recent studies have linked moderate-carb diets, such as the Mediterranean and DASH diet, with an increased lifespan.
Accredited Practising Dietitian and Nutritionist and SunRice Health and Wellbeing Ambassador, Lyndi Cohen said: "Carbs are a really important part of our diet and shouldn't be removed. You don't have to cut out carbs. My advice is to simply make healthier carb choices. Choose naturally low GI carbs, which can help you feel satiated between meals and provide sustained energy release".
The solution of simply swapping carbs to a healthier alternative that is low GI has become easier with SunRice – Australia's most popular brand of rice – relaunching their Low GI white rice, available alongside the existing brown variety.
Naturally grown exclusively by SunRice in Australia, the low GI rice range is the only rice product on the market with the official Low GI rating and symbol.
According to the GI Foundation, Chief Executive Officer, Kathy Usic, "The Glycaemic Index (GI) ratings allow Australian's to be able to understand more about the food they eat. The rating can be used as a powerful tool to quickly make positive and reliable food choices".
A low GI diet can provide a myriad of health benefits for everybody across all stages of life, from maintaining sustained energy to helping specific health concerns, such as weight management, heart disease and diabetes.
Low GI diets are also ideal for endurance. Research shows that eating low GI foods prior to exercise helps to keep you performing for longer.
Caleb Ewan, Australia's fastest road cyclist and two-time Grand Tour Stage winner, said: "Given the intensity of sprint cycling and the intensity of my training and races, having energy to allow me to go the distance, is hugely important. Having SunRice low GI white rice in my diet means I can have my preference of white rice with my meals and know I will have sustained energy to go the distance".
Featuring sleek new packaging designed to make it easily identifiable as low GI, SunRice Low GI White Rice and Low GI Brown Rice is grown in Australia and feature a GI rating of 54.
Naturally gluten-free, the range provides an excellent long-lasting energy substitute for other rice varieties, with the taste of white rice that the family loves.
SunRice Low GI White Rice and Low GI Brown Rice are available now in 750g for an RRP of $3.50 and at Coles, Woolworths, and independent stores nationwide.
Question: Why should we swap not stop our carb consumption?
Lyndi Cohen: People have become scared to eat everyday staples like bread, fruit and rice. Luckily, you don't have to cut out carbs to lose weight or be healthy. By simply swapping to healthier options - like high quality, low GI carbs – your body will benefit and you don't have to miss out on the foods you love. I recommend swapping to low GI carbs because they can help provide you with sustained energy release to keep you feeling and performing better for longer throughout your day. It's a simple swap!
Question: What are some of your favourite carbs?
Lyndi Cohen: When I was younger, I used to cut all carbs out of my diet because I thought I needed to do that to lose weight. It was such a relief to realise that I could have the body I wanted and still enjoy my favourite carbs. These days, I love wholegrains like oats, brown rice and freekeh. There are no fruit or vegetables that are off limits in my diet and I love all dairy foods too. I wish more people understood that rice is a naturally 'good for you' wholegrain that helps you get a lot of other healthy stuff into your diet – including veggies, fibre and antioxidants.
The trick with having a healthy relationship with carbs is to choose a variety of carbs that make you feel good. Simply make healthier carb choices and pair them with a healthy fat (like avocado), lean protein (like eggs) and loads of vegetables.
Question: Can you tell us about SunRice Low GI white rice? SunRice Low GI white rice is a naturally low GI variety of rice called Doongara - and it's grown right here in Australia. It's such a great product to buy when your family loves the taste of white rice but you want to make a healthier choice. Not many people know that rice is naturally gluten-free, which is great if you're allergic or sensitive to gluten. I like to have both the brown and white Low GI rice by SunRice in my pantry, and I'll cook whichever one works best with the dish I'm making.
Question: What other food fads will we see this year?
Lyndi Cohen: Hemp seeds (and other plant proteins like cricket flour) are still gaining popularity and the gut health craze is not finished yet. The Vegan, Keto and Intermittent Fasting diets were very big last year and I'm sure they'll continue to be popular again this year. The good news is that more people are starting to step away from diets completely and focus on balanced eating which is fantastic!
Question: What advice would you have to those who continue to follow diet fads?
Lyndi Cohen: The best health advice is to listen to your body – and take action when something doesn't feel right. Your body is constantly trying to give you feedback, helping you to best take care of it. For example, when you feel tired, your body is telling you it needs sleep. Likewise, if you try a diet trend and have symptoms like light headedness, low energy, gut discomfort, diarrhoea, constipation or find yourself constantly thinking about food, these are signs from your body telling you that this diet is not right. Your body is the expert on your own health. I'd recommend you make an appointment with a dietitian as that's where you'll get one-on-one advice without the faddish diet advice.
Question: What is the one thing we should focus on, in our diet, today?
Lyndi Cohen: Instead of focusing on what to cut out of your diet, as so many people do, simply focus on adding in more of the healthy stuff. Crowd in more vegetables, fruit, legumes and wholegrains and you'll fill up on more of the healthy stuff without feeling deprived.
Question: What five ingredients could you not live without?
Lyndi Cohen: 1. Extra virgin olive oil is my go-to for cooking – and is the first ingredient I use for so many of my meals
2. I always have rice on hand. It's a pantry staple for me. I love SunRice Low GI rice and always keep SunRice SuperGrains on hand, which are awesome for meal prep
3. I'm not sure chocolate is an ingredient but it's certainly a food I could not live without!
4. I have 2-3 tins of tomatoes in my pantry at all times, as it's such an easy way to sneak in extra vegetables
5. You'll always find a big jar of pickles in my fridge, as I love to snack on them or add them to salads and sandwiches.
Interview by Brooke Hunter