Sorry. Move to another post if you expect this to be about absurdities that the US military feeds its troops.
The BBC reports that that “High GI foods are associated with liver disease”
Boston-based researchers, writing in the journal Obesity, found mice fed starchy foods developed the disease
With an appropriately slim – nay starved – knowledge of food science, I assume that “starchy” means that carbohydrate-based foods are responsible. But a table on the BBC page shows this list of BAD “starchy” and GOOD, presumably “non-starchy” foods:
High GI foods:
Some breakfast cereals (eg Cornflakes, Rice Krispies, Coco Pops)
Steamed white rice
Moderate GI foods:
Low GI foods:
Roasted salted peanuts
Rye and granary bread
Whole and skimmed milk
These foods are nearly all carbs, apart from milk, peanuts and (possibly) beans. So what distinguishes the groupings and how could you tell where other carbs would fit into the groups? After all, if this is all true, and you want to avoid liver disease, especially for your kids, (it posits fatty liver disease as a serious future danger for today’s kids) you need to know the difference.
But “mashed” and “boiled” potatoes are in separate groups? Has the BBC never cooked food? It has enough food programmes and celeb chefs on its staff. Well let me explain.
Mashed potatoes are boiled potatoes. Mashed up. A bit like the effect of chewing up boiled potatoes. I think you could reasonably assume that a chewed portion of mashed potatoes and a chewed portion of boiled potatoes hit your stomach in the exact same condition. Chips (“French fries” to non-Brits) are slightly different, given the addition of fat, but the carb part of a chip is still pretty much what you’d get if you boiled a potato.
Steamed white rice is different from Basmati white rice? Why? Because it’s less tasty? Because it’s cheaper? Does the steaming make a difference?
Wheat breads and spaghetti are made from the same natural product. Unsurprisingly, that’s wheat. Which is mainly starch, whether or not you take the bran out. It’s certainly just the same starch if you shape it into a standard loaf or pitta shape. It even remains wheat if you throw in a few bits of grit from other grains (granary) or add a bit of semolina (spaghetti).
I can accept that the body may respond to wholemeal flour differently than to refined flour. Wholemal flour has more nutrients and roughage. However, it’s not a completely different substance. It may indeed be the case that semolina and bran and wheatgerm or chunks of other grains change the way that the body absorbs starch, possibly by slowing the rate of absorption. Or maybe by making you eat fewer carbs because you feel full with less carbs in your stomach.
So far, this would suggest that avoiding liver disease means eating fewer carbs and/or eating carb foods closer to their natural condition. These suggestions may or may not be true, but they are at least reasonable and don’t depend on a spurious carb classification.
The GI index is an odd way to categorise foods, which seems to be gaining ever more authority. I looked at these groups and could think of several alternative ways to categorise them. E.g.
Social/cultural: Group one is the carbohydrate food of the urban western poor. Group two contains the diet fillers more likely to be eaten by the better-off. (Just ignore the boiled potatoes nonsense.) Hmm, let me think. Does social class have anything to do with health?
Colour: Group one is mainly white or false-coloured (coco pops). Group 2 is generally a bit darker. Group 3 has some brightly coloured foods, if you ignore milk.
Number of vowels in their names: Gave up there, sorry. I was too idle to count them all. Feel free to take up the slack.
In any case, there’s another question hanging around. Group 2 contains muesli (non-toasted) Would toasting muesli push it up or down the food group chain?