How You Cook is Just as Important as What You Eat When You Have Diabetes

cookery

I have many people who attend Diabetes Insight for meal planning, supermarket tours, cookery classes etc. I am constantly amazed at the amount of people who have attended several other professionals and practionners for their diabetes management and the issue of how the sugar content of foods is affected in the cooking process is never discussed.

Glycaemic Index (GI)

The glycemic index, or GI, measures how a carbohydrate-containing food raises blood glucose. Foods are ranked based on how they compare to a reference food either glucose or white bread.

A food with a high GI raises blood glucose more than a food with a medium or low GI.

Meal planning with the GI involves choosing foods that have a low or medium GI. If eating a food with a high GI, you can combine it with low GI foods to help balance the meal.

Examples of carbohydrate-containing foods with a low GI include dried beans and legumes (like kidney beans and lentils), all non-starchy vegetables, some starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes, most fruit, and many whole grain breads and cereals (like barley, whole wheat bread, rye bread, and all-bran cereal).

Meats and fats don’t have a GI because they do not contain carbohydrate.

For further information on glycaemic index please click here

How Does Cooking Affect the Glycaemic Index

How long a food is cooked can affect the GI of the food. For example an al dente pasta has a lower GI than soft-cooked pasta. As a general rule, the more cooked or processed a food, the higher the GI.

Root vegetables have a medium to high GI, but by cooking them al dente and mixing them with green vegetables will lower the GI of the vegetables and the other foods they are balanced against.

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)
Diabetes Insight Offers Several Types of Cookery Courses for People with Diabetes. For further information please click here

At Diabetes Insight We Don’t Just Tell You How, We Show You How!

Diabetes Insight is Ireland’s only private independent advisory service and education centre dedicated and specializing solely in Diabetes Self Management Education (DSME). Its aim is to make a difference in the lives of those living daily with diabetes by providing quality education, advice, support and resources in a clear, simple, practical easy to understand manner without fear of judgement or blame. We respect and see each person with diabetes as an individual, with individual needs, so all our services are tailored to your specific needs. 

All our services are designed and facilitated by Helena Farrell RGN, MSc Diabetes who has over 15 years experience working and studying in diabetes management. These services are unique, from cookery courses to one day courses and are not to be found in any other health service or provider within the Republic of Ireland. 

Contact us today to see how we can help you and make a difference to you living with diabetes by ringing Helena on (086) 1739287 &/or email hfarrell77@gmail.com. With services starting from as little as 20 euros, there is something to cater for every budget and need.

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