Office Munchies

01 Aug 2006
Office Munchies

The problem with biscuits

Most biscuits cost a lot of kilojoules for a very small portion. For example, two cream-filled biscuits supply 860 kilojoules. Yet a medium apple, which is much more filling, provides only 315 kilojoules—less than half that amount! Being made of finely ground white flour (or sometimes wholemeal), biscuits are usually high GI , meaning they provide the wrong type of carbohydrate, causing blood sugar to rise rapidly then fall—basically, a quick-hit effect without the sustaining energy you need to get you through the afternoon. For this reason, high-GI , low-fibre foods are undesirable for weight control. Such foods are also linked with an increased risk of type-2 diabetes, certain cancers and even heart disease.

The amount and type of fat hidden in biscuits is also alarming. For example, two shortbread biscuits provide around 10 g fat, which is one-quarter of the daily allowance of a low-fat diet! More concerning is that the type of fat (often from butter or hydrogenated vegetable oil) is nasty, being saturated or trans fat.

These fats are known to increase insulin resistance and raise blood-cholesterol levels and therefore promote disease.

What to nibble

If you get hungry during the afternoon or are working late and need to top up to last till dinner, first of all have a piece of fruit. Or try one of the following quick and easy suggestions. They contain the right types of carbohydrates and fats and don't cost the earth in kilojoules.

  • Small pack (30 g) of mixed nuts (785 kJ)
  • Small can of baked beans (585 kJ)
  • Small can of vegetable soup, for example, Dr John Tickell's 12 Vegetable Soup Minestrone (490 kJ)
  • Small pack (40 g) of sultanas (460 kJ)
  • Small carton (200 g) of natural low-fat yoghurt (420 kJ)
  • Small banana (360 kJ)
  • Medium cob of corn (350 kJ)