Let them eat cake

For most of us the phrase "Let them eat cake" is like music to our ears. Whether Marie Antoinette really uttered those famous words is still debated by scholars today, but what is true is the fact that most people have a sweet tooth and would do anything for a piece of cake.

Just have a look in your office when it's someone's birthday. That piece of cake is everyone's highlight for the day. The same is true for diabetics. Even though diabetics are regularly told to limit their intake of rich and sugary (high fat, high GI) foods, it doesn't necessarily mean the desire will go away.

The good news for diabetics is that they can have cake every once in a while, it just depends on how you prepare it, how much you have and remembering to compensate.

Dieticians Liesbet Delport and Gabi Steenkamp have adapted numerous teatime classics for their bestselling series of Eating for Sustained Energy cookbooks. The recipes are lower in fat and have a lower glycaemic index (GI) than their traditional counterparts, but still retain the great sweetness and creamy texture that you're after.

The latest addition to the cookbook series, Eating for Sustained Energy 4 has some great teatime treats, ranging from Baked Berry Cheesecake and Milk tart to a decadently rich Chocolate Cake.

Baked Berry Cheesecake

"Our Baked Berry Cheesecake is much lower in kilojoules than regular baked cheesecake, owing to the use of lower fat ingredients, as well as the absence of a thick crust," says Delport. "And, because there is so little base, one slice of this cheesecake contains only half of a starch (in the form of sugar). The sugar contributes to 75% of the GL of one slice. Berries are also very low in carbohydrate and energy and thus have a very low GL. One cup of sliced berries has a GL of 4!

"However, remember to eat that half a portion of starch and one portion of protein or dairy less at either your previous or your next meal, especially if you need to keep an eye on your weight." Delport also recommends that the cheesecake is made a day in advance to allow the flavours to develop fully.

Milk tart

Though Milk tart usually has a lower GI than other cakes, it often has a thicker crust and contains much more sugar. "In this recipe the base, sugar and serving size have been reduced to give a more acceptable GI, GL and sugar content," comments Delport. "However, it is still sufficiently sweet and tasty."

For example, the recipe has some oat bran added to the dough, to help lower the GI. "It is hardly noticeable, so you can easily replace a quarter of the flour in any batter with oat bran, without affecting the texture or taste too much."

The cinnamon that is sprinkled on top of the milk tart is also known to help control blood glucose levels, so don't be shy with it!

But once again, remember to compensate!

Says Delport: "There is a whole chapter on this in Eat Smart and Stay Slim: the GI Diet and this is what naturally slim people do all the time; that is why they are slim.

"One serving of the milk tart is equivalent to 1.5 starch portions, as well as one portion fat, which is like eating a thick slice of lower GI bread spread with soft margarine. So replace the starch of your next or previous meal with the fruit portion you were actually supposed to eat as a snack, when having one slice of this milk tart as your teatime snack."

Dense Chocolate Cake

The pièce de résistance for your tea party is the must-have Dense Chocolate Cake. This cake is delicious, dense and rich, and also known as a mud cake.

"Although chocolate is normally high in fat, so little is used in this cake that one slice of cake only contains one portion of fat," says Delport. "Regular chocolate cake contains four times more."

The flour content has been reduced by adding lower GI oat bran, whereas the amount of sugar has been substantially reduced by the surprise addition of a tin of pears (in fruit juice).

"Adding the fruit also enabled us to reduce the amount of oil. The flavour of the pears complements the chocolate cake very well." Once again, however, remember to compensate for the 1.5 starch and 1 fat portion per slice of cake.

For more information on the glycaemic index, visit the website of the Glycemic Index Foundation.

View recipes:

- Baked Berry Cheesecake
- Baked Milk Tart
- Dense chocolate cake

Baked Berry Cheesecake: nutritional information per serving

One slice is equivalent to ½ starch and 1 low fat dairy.

GI low (51)

Kilojoules 594

Carbohydrates 17g

GL 9

Protein 9g

Fat 4g

Fibre 0.7g



(Birgit Ottermann, Health24, Diabetes Newsletter, March 2010)

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