Learn about Glycemic Index (GI) and Prevent Diabetes!

Learn about Glycemic Index (GI) and Prevent Diabetes!

November 9, 2019 1 By Jose Scott


Hello everyone! My name is Derrick, a dietitian. And welcome to the game The GI Low! And in this game, you have to choose which food is low in GI. Today, I will be challenging you on your food knowledge. But first, do you know what GI is? Glycemic Index is the measurement of how quickly carbs are digested causing blood sugars to rise and fall. High GI are being digested faster. Thus, causing a spike in blood sugar levels. But you know the food coma you experience after a heavy lunch? This is caused by the excessive production of insulin to bring down the blood sugar levels Still think you know about food? Alright, grab a pen and paper and note down the GI values. We have a total of 5 rounds to go. And here we go! By consuming the same amount of watermelon and apple. Which fruit has the lowest GI? Even though it has 90% water, The watermelon contains sugars which are easily digested. Whereas the apple is rich in certain sugars that are more slowly absorbed by the body. Watermelon may be high in GI but they do have other nutritional benefits so, remember to take the fruit rather than the juice which has no fibre. Apple wins! Next up, we have white rice and brown rice. Which has the lower Gi? Brown rice contains bran and germ which are high in dietary fibre and that makes digestion slower. Whereas white rice is refined and left with ust the endosperm which has high amount of starch. And thus, the difference in GI. Brown rice wins! Which do you think is the lowest in GI? Soda cracker or plain peanuts? The soda crackers have been processed to make the starch easily digestible. Plain peanuts are lower in GI because of the fat and protein content. Therefore, plain peanuts wins! Breakfast choice between cornflakes and low GI bread, choose the lowest GI. Cornflakes are high in GI because of the processing of the cereal that causes the change to its starch structure to make it easily digested. This low GI bread contains ingredients such as oats and flaxseeds which helps control blood sugars. The low GI bread wins! Boiled sweet potatoes and instant mashed potatoes. We have these as side dishes, which has the lower GI? The difference in GI are due to the different starch structures and also the level of processing. Instant mashed potatoes are heavily processed. Hence, boiled sweet potatoes is the winner! You have made your choices! Now add up your GI values. If your total is 173, well done! You have chosen all the low GI foods! And now, let me explain why low GI is important to you! Let us use cars to represent our bodies. A car with high GI fuel can travel really quickly at the start but it can only do so for a short period of time. As the energy burns out, there will be a rapid decline in speed and performance and the car will begin to move really slowly. This is where food coma happens and we start to use things like coffee to perk us up. And here we have another car that runs on low GI fuel. It is able to travel slowly but steadily. The car performs more efficiently and is able to perform at optimal period over longer periods of time as compared to the high GI car. As it travels farther, the low GI car can last longer and better than the high GI car. That is why low GI foods are good for everyone. Especially for people with diabetes, prediabetes or pregnant mothers with gestational diabetes. If you are constantly eating high GI foods, the foods are quickly digested causing spikes and crashes. This will lead to swings in energy levels and concentration, hunger that leads to more eating and weight issues, and poor blood sugar control for people with diabetes. Knowing how Singaporeans love our hawker fare, here is a graph to rank some local foods that we love. Foods like Peng Kueh, Yam Rice and Chee Cheong Fun are ranked as high GI as they are above 70. Foods like Ipoh Hor Fun, Roti Prata, Ban Mian and Lor Mee are considered medium ranked between 56 to 69. Low GI foods are ranked at 55 and below such as Black Sesame Paste, Pork Chives Dumpling, and Low GI Bread. The GI of this bread is only 37 and it also contains beta glucan which is good for lowering your cholesterol levels. It is good advice to incorporate a low GI food in every meal. And if you are cooking at home, you can certainly have good control over the GI of your meals. Here are some delicious recipes that contains low GI ingredients that you can try at home, such as French Toast with Chocolate and Berries Aussie Chicko Bread Roll, Baked Cheesy Portobello Mushroom Sandwich, Traditional Claypot Rice, and Indo-Style Bee Hoon Ayam Soto. Even if you don’t have diabetes, low GI foods are for everybody. Low GI foods helps to facilitate weight control, and reduce the risk of heart diseases. Let’s start by incorporating at least one low GI food in every meal. Make a smart change today! I’m Derrick and I challenge you to go for low GI!