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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.
To beat your diabetes you need to eat food that is low in sugar low in fat low in salt high in fibre and has low GI values ie it releases glucose into your bloodstream relatively slowly. Some kinds of bread fit this bill; others do not. Bread is made from flour ie grain that has been ground into powder. Common wheat is usually used because its flour has high levels of gluten which gives the dough sponginess and elasticity. But bread is also made from other species of wheat (eg durum and spelt) and other grains such as rye barley corn (maize) and oats. The non-wheat grains usually have wheat flour mixed into the flour. The quality of bread depends largely on the protein content of the flour. The best breads use flour with 12 to 14% protein rather than all-purpose wheat flour which only contains 9 to 12% protein.
Whole grains or refined grains? When cereal grains such as wheat are harvested they are surrounded by a tough protective coating called a husk. Before you can eat the grains the husk has to be removed. This is done by threshing (beating the grains) and winnowing (blowing away the chaff ie the broken off bits of husk). The grain without its husk is called a groat. It consists of three main parts: the endosperm germ and bran. The endosperm is the main tissue inside the grain and provides nutrition in the form of starch protein and oils. The germ is the embryo the reproductive part that germinates and grows into a plant. It is surrounded by the endosperm. The germ contains several essential nutrients. Wheat germ for example is a concentrated source of vitamin E folate phosphorus thiamine zinc and magnesium essential fatty acids and fatty alcohols. Bran is the hard outer layer of grain. It is rich in dietary fibre and essential fatty acids and contains starch protein vitamins and minerals.