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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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

 

Interesting Reads:

Buckwheat for Weight Loss

Buckwheat is a great choice for weight loss as it is rich in fibre so it makes you fill full quicker and help suppress your appetite.

Incorporating buckwheat into your diet can also help you manage your blood sugar levels, thanks to its glycemic index(GI) of 51 (this means it is low GI !). (Source: http://www.glycemicindex.com)

Keeping your blood sugar levels steady throughout the day is an important factor to your weight loss plan.  How does it work? Well, when we eat, our body converts digestible carbohydrates into blood sugar. Our blood sugar level can affect how hungry and how energetic we feel.  It also determines whether we burn fat or store it.

If you don’t know what the glycemic index (GI) is, i’ll be talking about it in my next post.

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