There is no end in sight to the debate as to whether grains help you lose weight, or if they promote weight gain. Even more importantly, do they help or hinder blood glucose management?
One thing is for sure. If you are going to eat grain foods, pick the ones that are the most nutritious. Choose whole grains. Whole grains are rich in vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and fibre. The Health Promotion Board (HPB) says that the quality of a person’s diet can be improved by replacing refined carbohydrate intake with whole grains.
According to the 2010 National Nutrition Survey, 52 per cent of Singaporeans’ dietary energy come from carbohydrates, which is mainly made up of refined staples such as white rice, noodles and white bread.
The same survey also showed that Singaporeans were consuming nine times more sugar from starchy staples such as rice and noodles than from sweet drinks, said the Health Promotion Board.
Refined carbohydrates lack fibre and hence are broken down and converted into glucose very quickly, resulting in a spike in blood sugar levels.
An HPB spokesman said, “Over time, this imposes a significant burden on our body, leading to eventual fatigue of the insulin- producing cells of the pancreas which, in turn, leads to the development of diabetes.”
To prevent obesity and diabetes, people need to improve the quality of carbohydrates consumed, as well as ensure that their overall diet is balanced. They also need to limit the consumption of alcohol and foods that are high in added sugar and saturated fat, as well as exercise regularly.