Does Cooking Affect the Glycemic Index of Foods?

pan fried eggs

The glycemic index (GI) provides a measure of how fast and how high a particular food can raise our blood glucose level. A food with a low GI usually means it causes a moderate rise in blood glucose, while foods with a high GI causes blood glucose levels to increase above favorable levels.

Fats and fibers are able to lower the GI of foods. Generally, the more cooked or processed food is, the higher the GI, but it can vary due to certain factors.

The following are a few examples:

Ripeness – Fruits and vegetable that are riper tend to have higher GI levels.
Processing – Taking whole fruits instead of juices, baked potatoes instead of mashed potatoes, both can help to prevent the GI from rising. Cooking methods – For example, how long the food is cooked. The less cooked the food is, the lower the GI.

Cooking Methods that Raises Glycemic Index
Changes in blood glucose levels after a meal are determined by the ratio of dietary carbohydrate and digestive enzymes, and the presence of other dietary factors, like fats and fibers, which are able to slow down carbohydrate digestion. Cooking methods that add heat to a grain or breaks apart a grain will increase the GI as it makes the dietary carbohydrates available for digestive enzymes.

Cooking Methods that Lower Glycemic Index
Adding fats and fibers into your diet will be able to slow down carbohydrate digestion and absorption, thus lowering GI. For instance, sautéing potatoes in olive oil will lower the GI as it adds fats and to the starchy potatoes carbohydrate. Slow-cooking methods, such as baking and steaming will result in a lower GI levels when compared against boiling and microwaving. Retaining the potato’s skin will add some fiber which then lowers the impact of the potato starch on blood glucose levels.

Taking in mind, no matter what sort of cooking methods used, some dietary carbohydrates, such as potatoes and grains, tend to have higher GI than others. The GI of any food is directly linked to your body’s ability to digest and absorb carbohydrates. These numbers will vary according to the health situations of individuals. For example, those with diabetes. It would be better to talk to your dietitian before you start planning your diet.

  1. Don’t overcook your food
  2. Choose less processed and whole foods
  3. Choose foods with high soluble fibre content (like Apples, beans and oats)

Sources:
www.diabetes.org
www.livestrong.com
www.montignac.com

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You Might Have Diabetes, But You Don’t Know It

unhealthy foods

Just how much do you know? Often people with diabetes might not know they even have it. The symptoms may not be obvious. It may not happen you but it could happen to your friends or family members. It is good to have some general knowledge of what diabetes is.

There are 3 main types of diabetes; Type 1, Type 2 and Gestational diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes

Also called insulin-dependent diabetes. It occurs when our body cannot produce insulin. The immune system attacks insulin producing cells in the pancreas. This type of diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, and was previously known as juvenile diabetes.

There is the risk of other serious complications such as heart disease, nerve damage, blindness, and kidney damage.

Symptoms can include increased thirst, increased urination, weight loss even with increased appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fatigue, and absence of menstruation.

Type 2 Diabetes

This is the most common type of diabetes diagnosed. It progresses slowly and may cause symptoms such as skin infections, poor healing, kidney problems, and vision problems. It is possible that the diabetes is not diagnosed after years of mild symptoms. Many people do not show not severe symptoms and as a result did not seek medical care.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes occurs during a woman’s pregnancy where they have high blood sugar levels.  It affects 4 % of all women during pregnancy.

Symptoms include increased thirst, increased urination, weight loss in spite of increased appetite, fatigue, nausea and vomiting and frequent infections including those of the bladder, vagina, and skin.

It is possible for gestational diabetes to be missed in pregnancy. That’s why it is important to get tested because it could harm the baby and lead to other complications.

If you show any of the symptoms of diabetes or suspect you have it, see your doctor immediately. Don’t put it off. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Buckwheat Can Help With Diabetes

It has been proven through research that buckwheat helps in controlling diabetes. Buckwheat is a grain that is used in making pancakes and noodles, and can help in controlling diabetes by maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.

An experiment conducted on rats showed that the extracts of the seed lowered blood glucose by 12 to 19 % when fed to diabetic rats. The rats were bred to have insulin dependent diabetes which is characterized by a lack of insulin- a hormone needed by the cells to use glucose correctly. Under controlled circumstances, the rats were given a dose of buckwheat and they observed that their glucose level dropped.

The researchers claim the new uses of buckwheat as a dietary supplement and functional food to help people with diabetes as it lowers the glucose level. It has also been proven that with absorption of buckwheat in the diet, it will provide an easy and inexpensive way to lower glucose level and reduce the risk of complications of diabetes.

Some experts view that buckwheat is not the treatment of diabetes but it is only a management aid to lower the glucose level in the body.

A similar experiment was done on people with diabetes, and the researchers concluded that it cannot be determined how much extract of buckwheat are beneficial for controlling glucose levels, but it has been proven that it helps in the management of the glucose and diabetes.

The researcher’s mentions that buckwheat contains an ingredient named chiro-inositol which may be responsible for lowering blood sugar because it is present in high percentage in buckwheat and is seldom present in other foods. It plays an important role in the glucose metabolism and cell signaling.

The researchers do not know exactly to what extent, it can control glucose levels and exactly how much amount of buckwheat is enough to control diabetes but, they are sure about the fact that it does helps in controlling the glucose level in the body and also manages the diabetes. They are sure that it makes the cells more sensitive to insulin and also acts as insulin mimic.

Some of the researchers said that there could be other compounds that are also responsible in controlling the glucose levels but they were not clearly identified in the experiment.

That said more studies still needs to be done.

Source:
www.diabetesdigest.com
Fagopyrum tataricum (Buckwheat) Improved High-Glucose-Induced Insulin Resistance in Mouse Hepatocytes and Diabetes in Fructose-Rich Diet-Induced Mice

 

Can Diabetics Eat Fruits?

Flesh kiwi cut ripe orange

Yes, those with diabetes can eat fruits! Fruits will indeed raise our blood sugar levels temporarily, so is important to control and monitor ones blood sugar levels. Moderation is the key.

Fruits is important for a healthy diet.

Some fruits have higher natural sugars than others. This natural sugar is called fructose. Fruits contain fiber, vitamins and minerals  that can contribute to good health.

However, the extent to which fruit can raise blood glucose levels depends on the type of fruit eaten. Here is a list of 10 fruits that diabetics can eat (but not limited to this list):

  1. Kiwi
  2. Guava
  3. Cherries
  4. Peach
  5. Berries
  6. Apple
  7. Pear
  8. Papaya
  9. Orange
  10. Watermelon

The best way to know how different fruits affects blood sugar levels is by measuring it before and after eating the fruit. Choose whole fruits instead of fruit juice. Fruit juice blends bought outside may contain additional hidden sugar.

Further reading:
Will fruit affect my blood glucose levels? (www.diabetes.org.nz)
Diabetes Myths (www.diabetes.org)

10 Reasons to Include Buckwheat In Your Diet Plans

bowl of buckwheat seeds

The name buckwheat is misleading because it isn’t related to wheat at all. In fact, buckwheat isn’t a true grain, but rather the fruit of a leafy plant belonging to the same family as sorrel and rhubarb. It is often referred to as a pseudo-cereal, since the grain is used in ways similar to cereal grains. Its name comes from a Dutch word that translates as “beechwheat,” most likely a reference to the plant’s triangular fruits, which resemble beechnuts. Most of us are most familiar with buckwheat flour used to make the pancakes, crepes or noodles (Japanese Soba). Here are 10 reasons why you should give buckwheat a try:

  1. Buckwheat is high in fiber; good for those with constipation.
  2. The protein in buckwheat has all 9 essential amino acids (that the body cannot manufacture), making it closer to being a “complete” protein.
  3. Buckwheat is high in the amino acid lysine, which is used for tissue growth and repair.
  4. Buckwheat is gluten-free so this makes it suitable for those with wheat allergies.
  5. Buckwheat is rich in calcium, iron, vitamin E, and B vitamins, magnesium, manganese, zinc and copper.
  6. The magnesium in buckwheat, helps relaxes blood vessels; helps improve circulation, decrease blood pressure and reduce cholesterol.
  7. Buckwheat helps to stabilize blood sugar levels. Due to the slower breakdown and absorption of the carbohydrates in buckwheat, this helps to raise our blood sugar levels more evenly. This especially good for those suffering with diabetes by helping to control their blood sugar levels.
  8. Buckwheat is low in calories, good in helping to reduce fat accumulation.
  9. Buckwheat contains rutin, a chemical that strengthens capillary walls.
  10. Buckwheat being high in insoluble fiber, can help women avoid gallstones. It is also protective against childhood asthma.

Sources:
www.buckwheat.com.sg
www.whfoods.com

Glycemic Index Foods

In my earlier post, i talked about the how glycemic index (GI) affects weight loss. Here is a more detailed explanation of what it’s about.

Glycemic Index

GI is the ranking of carbohydrates on a scale of 0-100 according to the extent they raise blood sugar levels after consumption of food that contains carbohydrates.

High GI means that the carbohydrates in food breaks down quickly and thus releases the glucose into the blood quicker. Low GI means the opposite; slow digestion and slower release of glucose into the blood stream. Diets that are low GI have shown to improve both glucose and lipid levels in people with diabetes and aids in weigh loss because it helps to control appetite.

  • High GI: 70 and above (Whole wheat bread, corn flakes, watermelon, potato)
  • Medium GI: 56 to 69 (Pumpkin, honey, popcorn, pineapple)
  • Low GI: 55 and below (Chocolate, soy milk, carrots, apple)

Glycemic Index Chart

Should I eat a low GI diet?

A low GI diet is helpful for everyone. It can help those with weight problems, diabetes, low blood sugar, low HDL levels and help increase physical activities or sports.

Switching to low GI meals

First check your daily meals to find out where most of the carbohydrates is coming from (usually it is the rice, noodles, breakfast cereals, potatoes). Aim to swap some high GI foods with low GI foods. You don’t need to exclude all high GI foods from your diet but instead choose more low GI foods.

For example switching cornflakes for wholegrain cereals/rolled oats/bran. White bread for multigrain bread. Examples of high GI foods include short grain rice, pumpkin and watermelon. Meat, eggs and oils have no or very little carbohydrates. So they may not have a GI value.

The GI is not meant to be the only determinant when choosing foods. Look at the overall nutritional quality and quantity of your food.

Tip: Include 1 low GI food in every meal.

Do note that the glycemic index is  not to be confused with glycemic load values.
To find out  about a specific food’s GI, you can visit nutritiondata.com

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GYLCEMIC INDEX OF BUCKWHEAT

Source: glycemicindex.com

Source: glycemicindex.com

 

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