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The most popular is baking powder a mixture of a carbonate or bicarbonate (usually sodium bicarbonate) and one or more acid salts. Baking powder works by releasing carbon dioxide gas into the dough when it gets wet creating bubbles that expand the wet mixture. It is used instead of yeast for breads where the flavours of fermentation would be undesirable or where the dough lacks the elastic structure needed to hold gas bubbles for more than a few minutes. Because carbon dioxide is released at a faster rate through the acid-base reaction than through fermentation breads made by chemical leavening are called quick breads. Examples of quick breads include Irish soda bread banana bread pancakes carrot cake and muffins.The big question for diabetics of course is whether the rising method has any effect on the glycemic index (GI) value of the bread.
Bread and the glycemic index The glycemic index rates foods on a scale of 1 to 100 based on how the foods affect your blood glucose levels. A rating of less than 55 is considered low 56 to 69 medium and 70 plus high. Bread ranges from 34 to 73 or more depending on the kind of grains used to make it. Bread with a low rating will be broken down more slowly in your gut giving you a steady increase in your blood sugar level. Bread with a GI value of 70 or more will cause your blood glucose to spike ie to surge and then drop suddenly. Labels for bread do not usually show whether bread has a low GI value. However you can usually estimate whether the GI value is low or not by checking the ingredients. These are usually listed in descending order by weight.
The intuitive answer is that it must worsen the GI value because it introduces air into the matrix. But according to researchers in New Zealand the leavening agents used in making bread do not have any impact on the GI of the bread. Types of bread There are hundreds of different breads in the world. Here are a few of the most common. Notice the subtle differences which may or may not be designed to confuse the consumer. White bread is made from refined flour ie grain from which the bran and germ have been removed so that it only contains the endosperm (the central core of the grain). By contrast wholemeal bread is made from the whole of the wheat grain (endosperm bran and germ) ie from unrefined flour. Brown bread is not the same as wholemeal bread.