Scientific Affairs Analyst at Nestlé, Jean Kim (PhD)
The following three research papers have been selected by our Scientific Affairs Analyst at Nestlé, Jean Kim (PhD). They are designed to provide a topline overview and summary of the relevant research paper – they are not a full scientific review. For further details of the research paper, click through to the abstracts in the links provided.

1. How does the glycaemic index of the diets of Australian adults’ fare?

A recent analysis of the 2011-2012 Australian Health Survey.

Louie JCY, Jones M, Barclay AW and Brand-Miller JC (2017). Dietary glycaemic index and glycaemic load among Australian adults – results from the 2011-2012 Australian Health Survey. Scientific Reports, 7:43882.

Low GI diet

Evidence from recent meta-analyses suggest that a low glycaemic index (GI) eating pattern is associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, gallbladder disease and breast cancer.(1-4) Yet, there was previously no national survey data on what the GI of the typical Australian diet is.

This study used data from the large and nationally presentative 2011-12 National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey to determine the dietary GI of the Australian adult population.

Overall, the mean dietary GI was 54, with a higher GI in younger age groups. Epidemiological research suggests that a dietary GI of 45 or below is associated with reduced risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, yet only 9% of Australian adults were meeting this target. Dietary interventions should therefore be considered for many patients to reduce their dietary GI. Swapping high GI staple food with low GI versions, such as Corn Flakes for oat porridge or multi-grain bread for white bread, and discouraging the consumption of high GI processed foods for nutritious and lower GI alternatives, are two straightforward ways to do this.

1. Barclay AW (2008), Glycemic index, glycemic load, and chronic disease risk – a meta-analysis of observational studies. Am J Clin Nutr 87, 627-37.
2. Greenwood DC et. al. (2013), Glycemic index, glycemic load, carbohydrates, and type 2 diabetes: systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. Diabetes Care 36, 4166-71.
3. Fan J et. al. (2012), Dietary Glycemic Index, glycemic load, and risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and stroke mortality: a systematic review with meta-analysis. PLoS One 7, e52182.
4. Choi et. al. (2012), Glycaemic index and glycaemic load in relation to risk of diabetes-related cacners: a meta-analysis. Br J Nutr 108, 1934-47.


2. Is it safe for a patient with celiac disease to eat oats?

A systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical and observational studies.

Pinto-Sanchez MI, Causada-Calo N, Bercik P, Ford AC, Murray JA, Armstrong D, Semrad C, Kupfer SS, Alaedini A, Moayyedi P, Leffler DA, Verdu EF and Green P (2017). Safety of Adding Oats to a Gluten-Free Diet for Patients with Celiac Disease: Systematic Literature Review and Meta-Analysis of Clinical and Observational Studies. Gastroenterology, S0016-5085(17)35474-4.


Celiac disease (CD) is a well-known autoimmune disorder triggered by gluten,(1) and patients with the disease must maintain a gluten-free diet by excluding wheat, rye and barley. A common question from patients is about oats – can they be part of a gluten-free diet, or must they too be avoided?

This systematic literature review evaluated clinical trials and observational studies to determine the effects of including oats in a gluten-free diet of patients with CD, including any effect of oats on patients’ symptoms and their serological and histological responses. They found that oat consumption for up to 12 months did not affect symptoms, histologic scores, intraepithelial lymphocyte counts or results from serologic tests, in adults or children, but that overall the evidence was very limited.

The authors concluded that pure oats are safe for most patients with celiac disease – a recommendation supported by the North American Society for the Study of Celiac Disease – and that they may help to improve the nutritional value, palatability, texture and fibre content of the GFD(2,3). Yet the overall quality of the evidence is very low and contamination with other cereal sources must be avoided.

1. Setty et. al. (2008) Celiac Disease: risk assessment, diagnosis, and monitoring. Mol Diag Ther 12(5): 289-98.
2. Comino I et. al. (2015) Role of oats in celiac disease. World J Gastroenterol. 21(41), 11825-31.
3. Peraaho M et al. (2004) Effect of an oats-containing gluten-free diet on symptoms and quality of life in coeliac disease. Scand J Gastroenterol. 39(1), 27-31.


3. What can we recommend for patients to prevent and manage metabolic syndrome?

An international panel recommendation.

Perez-Martinez P et. al. (2017). Lifestyle recommendations for the prevention and management of metabolic syndrome: an international panel recommendation. Nutrition Reviews, 75(5):307-26.

Mediterranean diet


We know that metabolic syndrome is continually increasing and has now reached epidemic proportions. The good news is diet has a key role – but what nutrients, foods, and dietary patterns does the evidence suggest can help to prevent and manage it?

This article reviews the evidence and presents the recommendations of an international expert panel. The panel found that the evidence supports following a dietary pattern that is built on a Mediterranean style of eating, and suggest that this style of eating be recommended for the prevention and management of metabolic syndrome. This includes an increased intake of:

  • unsaturated fat, primarily from olive oil
  • legumes
  • cereals (whole grains)
  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • nuts
  • fish
  • low-fat dairy products.

The total energy intake of the diet is also important and this can be achieved by moderating the consumption of alcohol and reducing sugar-sweetened beverage and meat consumption.