Reducing Glycemic Index: A Guide

rice

Why are we talking about reducing the glycemic index of foods? Obesity and diabetes are no longer only affecting the wealthy developed nations. They are now quickly becoming a global epidemic. Pacific island nations such as Samoa and Tokelau have a whopping 75% obesity rate.

One in three Americans is now obese. The UK, Canada and Australia are not too far behind. An obesity-related disease, heart disease, is now the number one killer in many countries. Each year heart disease kills about 650,000 people in the United States alone.

Why Reducing Glycemic Index Matters

Overconsumption of carbohydrates in the form of starchy foods and sugars is the primary cause of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, diabetes, obesity and even Alzheimer’s disease.

The process of how obesity occurs is as follows:

  • The small intestine breaks down the starch in food into glucose.
  • Glucose gets absorbed into the bloodstream. Cells in our body will use it as fuel.
  • Excess glucose molecules in the blood are transported and stored inside the liver as glycogen.
  • As high consumption of starch continues, more glycogen molecules fill up the liver.
  • When glycogen in the liver reaches a certain level, the body converts it into its more concentrated form, triglycerides, for long-term energy storage.
  • Eventually, the liver becomes engorged with the fatty substance triglycerides. This is how fatty liver disease is formed.
  • When triglycerides completely fill the liver, the body will then store excess triglycerides in the muscles and adipose (fatty) tissue, primarily around the abdominal area.
  • This process can continue for years and decades, creating obesity.

Glycemic index (GI) is a scale that measures how much a food raises blood sugar. As we’ve reviewed, excess glucose in the blood over time can lead to obesity.

Regular consumption of higher glycemic index foods can lead to obesity. Thus, reducing the glycemic index of foods is one strategy for promoting a healthy weight.

Resistant Starch

Resistant starch is a type of carbohydrate which resists digestion in the small intestine, causing the slow release of glucose into the bloodstream. This results in a more sustained, stable blood glucose level.

Resistant starch content in food also has an inverse (opposite) relationship with GI. This means the higher the resistant starch content in food, the lower GI the food will be. Remember, reducing the glycemic index is a good thing!

According to a recent study, you can change the resistant starch level and GI of a food by following a simple cooking method. Let’s learn how.

Reducing Glycemic Index by Increasing Resistant Starch

Researchers from the American Chemical Society showed that changing how you cook rice can result in an increase of resistant starch (1), causing your body to absorb 50-60% fewer calories.

They did this by adding a teaspoon of coconut oil in water per half a cup of rice during the cooking process. They then cooled the cooked rice and refrigerated it for 12 hours.

These simple changes increased resistant starch by 10 times higher than regularly cooked rice.

Why did this happen? The oil enters the rice grains while cooking, which changes the architecture of the rice. This change causes the rice to become resistant to the action of digestive enzymes.

The cooling is essential. It causes the amylose, or soluble (digestible) part of the starch, to leave the rice. This turns it into resistant starch, thereby reducing glycemic index.

Another study (2) found similar results with white bread. By freezing it, defrosting it and then toasting it, we can increase the resistant starch level and lower the GI of white bread.

The cooling, freezing and reheating method to increase resistant starch may not be limited to rice and bread. Further studies are needed to confirm whether this is an effective method for other carbohydrate foods.

What Does This Mean When Consuming Carbohydrates?

Even though it is possible to manipulate the resistant starch of foods like rice and bread, reducing the glycemic index, it is still not a good idea to gorge on carbs.

If you want to lose weight by following a low-carb protocol, use the method outlined in this article to complement your low-carb diet on days when you eat high-carbohydrate foods. However, don’t let it become an everyday occurrence.

If you need help overcoming any health challenges, please contact our Naturopath Bernard Chu at 0412 723 823 or email bernard@greenheartnaturalhealth.com.au for an obligation free discussion.

Online consultation is also available for your convenience.

 

Rice recipe idea

pineapple-cashew-friedrice-300x139

Pineapple Cashew Fried Rice

Fried rice is one of the easiest dishes to cook and a great way to use up leftover vegetables in your fridge. Adding diced pineapple and cashew nuts give this timeless dish a little twist.

 

rice

Overconsumption of carbohydrates in the form of starchy foods and sugars is the primary cause of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, diabetes, obesity and even Alzheimer’s disease.

Glycemic index (GI) is a scale that measures how much a food raises blood sugar. As we’ve reviewed, excess glucose in the blood over time can lead to obesity.

Regular consumption of higher glycemic index foods can lead to obesity. Thus, reducing the glycemic index of foods is one strategy for promoting a healthy weight.

Resistant Starch

Resistant starch is a type of carbohydrate which resists digestion in the small intestine, causing the slow release of glucose into the bloodstream. This results in a more sustained, stable blood glucose level.

Resistant starch content in food also has an inverse (opposite) relationship with GI. This means the higher the resistant starch content in food, the lower GI the food will be. Remember, reducing the glycemic index is a good thing!

According to a recent study, you can change the resistant starch level and GI of a food by following a simple cooking method. Let’s learn how.

Reducing Glycemic Index by Increasing Resistant Starch

Researchers from the American Chemical Society showed that changing how you cook rice can result in an increase of resistant starch, causing your body to absorb 50-60% fewer calories.

They did this by adding a teaspoon of coconut oil in water per half a cup of rice during the cooking process. They then cooled the cooked rice and refrigerated it for 12 hours.

These simple changes increased resistant starch by 10 times higher than regularly cooked rice.

Why did this happen? The oil enters the rice grains while cooking, which changes the architecture of the rice. This change causes the rice to become resistant to the action of digestive enzymes.

The cooling is essential. It causes the amylose, or soluble (digestible) part of the starch, to leave the rice. This turns it into resistant starch, thereby reducing glycemic index.

Another study found similar results with white bread. By freezing it, defrosting it and then toasting it, we can increase the resistant starch level and lower the GI of white bread.

The cooling, freezing and reheating method to increase resistant starch may not be limited to rice and bread. Further studies are needed to confirm whether this is an effective method for other carbohydrate foods.

If you need help overcoming any health challenges, please contact our Naturopath Bernard Chu at 0412 723 823 or email bernard@greenheartnaturalhealth.com.au for an obligation free discussion.

Online consultation is also available for your convenience.