White rice lovers: Here are some expert tips on lowering blood sugar without turning to alternatives. It’s all in the combination of foods.
Fancy the regular bowl of white rice? That is bad news for your blood sugar. Consumption of the Asian staple raises the risk of diabetes by 11 per cent, according to a meta-analysis of four major studies by the Harvard School of Public Health.
Singapore’s Health Promotion Board has suggested eating a 4:1 ratio of white to brown rice, that lowers the odds of contracting the disease. Still, even a portion of white rice can be hard to give up.
Ms Bhupinder Kaur, a senior research officer at Singapore’s Clinical Nutrition Research Centre (CNRC), recently dived into the topic at health conference Food That Heals.
Calling Asia an “epicentre for diabetes,” Ms Kaur listed ways to lower your blood sugar, without forgoing even a spoon of white rice. It’s all in pairing the staple with foods that lower the glycaemic index (GI), she said. GI is a measure of the extent foods raise blood sugar levels.
These tips are grounded in research by her colleagues at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research.
1) Pre-meal ritual: Drink a bottle of Brand’s Essence of Chicken
Just 15 minutes before a meal, consume a 68ml bottle of Brand’s Essence of Chicken. This lowers blood glucose levels by close to a third, a CNRC study published in the British Journal Of Nutrition found. Researchers suggested that the drink’s amino acids spurred the secretion of insulin and encouraged tissues to absorb sugar. The benefits of two bottles were the same as one.
2) Sip on a soya bean drink at lunch
CNRC researchers found that the consumption of soya protein reduces energy intake for subsequent meals. While seen as a strategy for weight management, this can also help in managing blood sugar levels, Ms Kaur said.
3) Have some tau kwa (soya beancurd) with your rice
Another study by the centre, also published in the British Journal of Nutrition, found that consuming rice with tau kwa (soya beancurd) was most effective at lowering GI. Having the staple with fish is the second best option. “We speculated that it was something to do with the composition of these foods,” Ms Kaur explained.
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