The other day, we went to a fascinating exhibit called, "Food: Our Global Kitchen" at the National Geographic Museum in D.C. Not only did we take a journey through the history and culture of food, but we learned about food systems, food transport, and food engineering. In an effort to feed the hungry, farmers and scientists have mass produced wheat and corn, increased crop yields, and selectively increased the size and sweetness of our food. For instance, instead of eating wild watermelons that are small and bitter, "...breeders gradually turned watermelons into huge balls of sugar and water."
Although sweeter and bigger may seem better, neither are necessarily healthier. What happens when you take a melon that is high in glycemic index, make it sweeter and bigger, and then feed it to an overfed population?
If you have been following my blog, you know that I consider foods low in glycemic index as healthy and those high in glycemic index as unhealthy. Even foods that are considered healthy, such as carrots, can be made unhealthy by what you do to them. For instance, the glycemic index of a raw carrot is 16 while that of a boiled carrot is 49. Understanding how foods change through cooking and processing becomes ever more important in a food environment where foods are genetically engineered or bred to be ever sweeter and ever bigger.
You can lower the glycemic index of the foods you serve your kids by:
- Sticking to whole, unprocessed foods.
- Keeping fiber intact.
- Serving starchy vegetables in raw form.
- Adding acid through fermentation.
Foster-Powell K et a. International table of glycemic index and glycemic load values: 2002. Am J Clin Nutr. 2002.
Liljeberg HGM & Bjorck IME. Delayed gastric emptying rate as a potential mechanism for lowered glycemia after eating sourdough bread: studies in humans and rats using test products with added organic acids or an organic salt. Am J Clin Nutr 1996;64:886-93.