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Add tuna fish buns and glutinous rice balls to the glycemic index catalog

April 8, 2010 |  4:42 pm

Ever wonder what the glycemic index is for baked barbecued pork puff? How about sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaf? Green bean dessert? A new study has determined the glycemic index and glycemic load of a number of traditional Chinese foods, adding them to the 2,000-plus values already available.

KzquinncThe glycemic index ranks carbohydrates in relation to how they affect blood glucose levels. For some people, low glycemic foods--those that don't produce big spikes in blood glucose and insulin (broccoli, cherries)--are preferred over high glycemic foods that do (dough-nuts, parsnips). Glycemic load is how the carb content in foods is ranked based on their glycemic index, and is determined by a formula. While the current list of foods included in the index is vast, many are Western-based.

Researchers from the department of sports science and physical education at the Chinese University of Hong Kong wanted to broaden the list of foods and include 23 long-established dishes popular in Hong Kong, to better help people with their daily diets.

Study participants included eight men and seven women. Their blood glucose levels were analyzed after eating specific portions of food, or glucose. That information was used to determine the glycemic index of the foods. Some of the dishes contained a mix of ingredients but are considered popular in China.

Foods lower on the glycemic index included spring roll and tuna fish bun, and ranking higher were fried rice in Yangzhou-style and sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaf.

The study appears in March 28 issue of the World Journal of Gastroenterology.

-- Jeannine Stein

Photo credit: Deborah Yao / AP