TRIBUTE TO MY FATHER
My father Alfred Kouris OAM passed away on the 10 June 2016 age 89.
He inspired me to develop my own food product and was a huge supporter of skinnybik and my career. He was a man with vision and social conscience, keen to help migrants in Australia improve their circumstances. He started late night shopping, ran for Melbourne city mayor 3 times and more. I have attached his Eulogy for those interested in finding out more about him and a link to an interview my father did with Channel 31. Australia is a better place because of him. My brother Paul Kouris was interviewed about dad on radio 3xy in 2016 part 1, part 2
- SBS: Features SkinnyBik when discussing the benefits of Lupin 13/5/19
- Channel Nine: SkinnyBik is the healthiest biscuit on the market 12/01/19
- OH! Magazine features Skinnybik in their “What’s New” section 1/2/16
- Dr Joanna McMillan gives Skinnybik a “massive tick” as a healthy cookie snack 8/12/15.
- Skinnybik product review by dietitian Sue Radd and her team at Culinary Medicine in Sydney 1/10/15
- Skinnybik product review by dietitian Susie Burrell 24/4/15
- Blog by dietitian Emma Stirling on launch of first cookie in Skinnybik range (Spelt) 05/11/2012
- Article on Spelt Skinnybik published in NEOS KOSMOS newspaper 21/07/2012
- Study showing that cookies for breakfast can help with weight loss
LOW CALORIE SWEETENERS
- Scientific Update on the safety of Artificial Sweeteners 2015
- Article on Safety of Artificial Sweeteners on About.com 2015
- Systematic review of 24 studies showing that replacing sugar with low calorie sweeteners (like stevia, sucralose) can help with weight loss and improve compliance with weight management plans
- Fancy Plants: by Prof Kouris & Nicole Murphy for Wellbeing Wild
- Lupin: the king of legumes by Prof Kouris Featured on Diabetes Victoria website 2017
- Dr Joanna McMillan predicts that TEFF, LUPIN and SEAWEED will be the next big weight loss foods for 2017
- Australian Lupin: the newest superfood on the block by A/Prof Antigone Kouris featured on Dr Joanna McMillan’s website 12-11-17
- Fact sheet on Lupin and its health benefits by A/Prof Antigone Kouris 9-11-16.
- How does lupin compare to other legumes and grains? read more…
- Prof Kouris’ lupin beetroot choc cake and Interview on healthier gluten free baking with lupin flour featured on Diabetes Australia website 1-4-16
- Read a scientific review paper on health benefits of Legumes & Lupin by Prof Kouris & Dr Beslki 29-1-16
- Prof Kouris’ interview with GI news about Lupin and Lupin products 1-3-16
- Read or Listen to PODCAST by lupin researcher Dr Regina Belski on “Heart Health benefits of Lupin”
- Read why lupin is Australia’s wonder food
- What is lupin? (fact sheet from Irwin Valley)
- Health Benefits of Lupin (fact sheet from Dept Agriculture, Western Australia)
- Lupin flour recipes
MEDITERRANEAN DIET AND OTHER DIETS
- Dr Kouris’ research: on the longevity of elderly Greek migrants in The Australian magazine 4-9-21
- How to avoid weight gain over the festive season.Interview Neos Kosmos newspaper Dec 2017
- Comfort weight gain in relationships. Interview Radio 2UE Talking Lifestyle with Prof Kouris 15-2-18
- Insight into the Mediterranean diet. Did you know that most studies on the Med diet have only looked at the food pattern/food groups rather than the cuisne? by A/Prof Kouris 2017
- La Trobe University Bold Thinking Series on Mediterranean diet and Mood 27-7-17. Expert Panel: Prof Itsiopoulos, A/Prof Antigone Kouris, Dr Norman Swan, and Chef Shane Delia more
- Evolution of Mediterranean diets and cuisine: concepts and definitions. Radd S, Kouris-Blazos A, Fiatarone Singh Maria, Flood V. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 2017
- Prof Kouris’ interview with GI news about the traditional Greek diet Dec 2015
- Scientific paper in “Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition” by our own Professor Kouris and Professor Itsiopoulos about the Health benefits of the Mediterranean diet 2014
- Food and Health beliefs of Elderly Greeks in Greece and Australia – read my fascinating paper based on the research I did 30 years ago which provides unprecedented insight on how to live a long healthy life
- “Fifty Plus News” Newspaper interviews Prof Kouris on “Mediterranean diet & Healthy Aging” 2014
- “Sydney Morning Herald” Newspaper article “Ten Healthy Habits from the Mediterranean” journalist Paula Goodyer interviews Prof Kouris 2008
- “GI News” article “7 Healthy Eating Habits from Greece” journalist Philippa Sandall interviews Prof Kouris 2008
- “Paleo vs. Mediterranean Diet” Dietitian Sandra Mikhail interviews Prof Kouris June 2014
- “Herald Sun” newspaper interviews Prof Kouris and other experts on “Fad Diets” Feb 2013
- “Spectator” newspaper interviews Prof Kouris about “Living Longer with a Mediterranean Diet” 2014
- Study showing that high meat/protein low carb diets can shorten your life 2014
INTERVIEW WITH A/PROFESSOR ANTIGONE KOURIS
As far as I am aware, there are no other cookies like Skinnybik which tick so many ‘good nutrition’ boxes, making them suitable for most people, even with health problems.
For example, two skinnybik cookies have the same amount of fibre as 2 slices of grain bread! I am horrified by the monster size cookies (especially the refined high sugar/fat gluten free cookies) sold at many cafes which are usually packed with calories, sugar, fat and salt. Cafes are very popular these days, and it’s important that a healthy cookie choice is available, especially to people with health problems, but without feeling they are compromising on taste.
Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute healthy choice criteria for label reading are: Total fat 10g/100g or less, Saturated fat 2g/100g or less, Sugar 15g/100g or less, Fibre7.5g/100g or more, Sodium 120mg/100g or less.
Diabetes Australia Healthier Options criteria for sweet biscuits are: kilojoules 1500 kJ/100g or less, total fat 10g/100g or less if saturated fat is <1/3, sugar (no target), fibre 3g/100g or more, sodium 400mg/100g or less.
Skinnybik cookies compare reasonably well to these recommendations, except for total fat. They are moderate in fat (about 15%) but low in saturated fat (about 2%) and trans fats (0%). They contain only good fats from canola oil and almond meal.
I was continuously being asked by my patients if there was a healthy but tasty cookie they could have with their cup of tea or coffee which would not interfere with their weight loss, or their blood sugar levels or their digestion. I would scratch my head and say “No – all the cookies out there are either too high in sugar, saturated fat and calories and too low in fibre”. And then I would feel sorry for them and say “well OK, you can have 1-2 plain oatmeal biscuits” which were pretty average tasting and not ideal with respect to saturated fat, sugar, fibre and salt.
So I took on the challenge to develop tasty healthy cookies that were suitable for my patients and better than oatmeal biscuits. It took 2 years, because every time I tried to make them healthier the result was closer to card board. Finally, after 2 years, success.
I got the taste and texture right and the nutrient profile is pretty impressive with less than 50% sugar, 40% less starch, 23% less calories, 350% more fibre, double the protein, 80% less saturated fat, 0% trans fats, 50%-80% less salt than ather plain sweet biscuits with only 56 calories per cookie. Skinnybik are also a source of magnesium.
The cookies are called Skinnybik to highlight their desirable macronutrient profile i.e reduced (or skinny) in total fat, saturated fat, sugar, starch, calories and salt. I tried reducing the calories further but the result was not that tasty! Despite the moderate calorie content (56 calories/15g cookie) you can’t eat too many because they are so filling due to the fibre and chewy texture.
So in some respects they are truly skinny! They have only about 1500Kj/100g (regular biscuits have around 2000kJ/100g), 15% fat (regular biscuits 20%-25% fat), only 2% saturated fat (regular biscuits 12%), 14% sugar (regular cookies 25%-30%), total carbohydrate content 35% (regular cookies 63%-68%), 10% fibre (regular cookies 2%) and only 100mg-200mg sodium/100g (regular cookies 300mg-600mg/100g).
Skinnybik Spelt was compared to an oatmeal biscuit because it is high in oatbran. Skinnybik Lupin choc chip was compared to a regular choc chip cookie and Skinnybik Lupin cranberry was compared to a fruit & nut biscuit due to the reasonable amount of cranberries and almond meal.
By reducing the sugar (by 50%) and refined starch content (by 40%) and increasing the fibre (by 350%) I was able to reduce the carbohydrate load of the cookie which in turn should reduce the glycaemic index (which has not been formally tested yet) and so making it suitable for people watching their blood sugar levels.
Skinnybik is around 14% sugar; regular cookies are around 25-30% and some cookies can be as high as 50% sugar! Skinnybik total carbohydrate content is only 35% which is much lower than the 63%-68% found in most other cookies. Skinnybik have 10g fibre per 100g; oatmeal cookies have around 3g and other cookies are usually less than 2g per 100g! Also, by reducing the carbohydrate load and increasing the fibre the cookies are more satisfying and ‘filling’.
In order to reduce the total sugar and carb content of the cookie I replaced some of the sugar with an artificial sweetener. I also replaced half the flour with high fibre oat bran and rice bran or lupin flour and added almond meal to reduce the total refined carb content and to increase the fibre content. Sucralose has an excellent safety profile and is tolerated by everyone.
I did not want to use xylitol or isomalt or other sugar alcohols like erythritol and sorbitol (often used in diabetic products) because these can cause quite terrible wind and pain and can aggravate irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. I did not use aspartame because some people have an intolerance to this sweetener. I tried using stevia but it affected the taste.
Some studies have linked artificially sweetened soft drinks to diabetes and weight gain, probably because they contain large amounts of artificial sweeteners and these drinks are usually consumed in large amounts. This in turn may upset the body’s natural ability to count calories resulting in excess energy intake over the day. However, consuming small amounts of sweeteners in tea, coffee or solid foods like cookies has not been linked to health problems.
Click here to see how little sweetener was used in Skinnybik >
For more information about the safety of sweeteners see Diabetes Australia Website >
Spelt flour, oat bran and rice bran are low in fructans, compared to wheat flour, so may be better tolerated/digested by people on the low Fodmap diet for irritable bowel syndrome or for people avoiding wheat. This is why I have called the cookies “fructose friendly”.
Also, the cookies contain negligible fructose (the date & almond content is less than 2g per cookie) and zero lactose. These ingredients are also high in fibre, helping to increase the fibre content of the cookies.
Skinnybik contain only good fats from almonds and canola oil. They are very low in the bad saturated fats (having only 2% compared to 12% in regular biscuits) and trans fats (0%). The total fat content is moderate at around 15% (compared to 20%-25% in regular biscuits), but as I said, it is only comprised of good fats so a higher total fat content is acceptable.
The Baker IDI allows more than 10% fat in products that contain nuts as long as saturated fat content is low (2% or less). Research suggests that we need to increase our intake of good fats and reduce our intake of bad fats.
No. There is less than 10mg of cholesterol per cookie. One egg has around 200mg cholesterol and the Heart Foundation is now recommending that everyone has up to one egg a day. By using nutritious whole egg I was able to increase the protein content by 70-100% (10g-13g/100g) compared to regular cookies (5g/100g).
Well, yes . Three skinnybik cookies have a similar nutritional and energy profile to a serving of natural muesli with nuts. If you have them with a cup of milk or milky coffee or tea then the nutrient and energy profile would be similar to muesli with milk.