I'm a very keen cook. Here's one burning question for me: what about flour? If I make my own bread (or dumplings, pancakes, muffins etc) which flours, if any, are low GI? There's some implication in the book that chickpea flour (baisen) is low GI. How about soy flour? Wholemeal flour probably isn't any better than white, judging by the results on commercial breads ...
To date there are no GI ratings for refined flour whether it’s made from wheat, soy or other grains. This is because The GI rating of a food must be tested physiologically that is in real people. So far we haven’t had volunteers willing to tuck into 50 gram portions of flour on three occasions! What we do know, however, is that bakery products such as scones, cakes, biscuits, donuts and pastries made from highly refined flour whether it’s white or wholemeal are quickly digested and absorbed.
What should you do with your own baking? Try to increase the soluble fibre content by partially substituting flour with oat bran, rice bran or rolled oats and increase the bulkiness of the product with dried fruit, nuts, muesli, All-Bran or unprocessed bran. Don’t think of it as a challenge. It’s an opportunity for some creative cooking. Here’s how we reduced the overall GI of our baking in The Low GI Diet Cookbook.
- These low GI ‘Cherry Oat Crunchies’ are made with fruit, nuts, oats and bran flakes. Just two delicious cookies will give you 2 grams of fibre. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Lightly spray two baking trays with olive oil. Put 55 grams (2 oz) soft brown sugar, 90 grams (3 oz) pure floral honey, 125 grams (4½ oz) reduced fat margarine or butter, 2 eggs, ½ teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda and 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence in a large mixing bowl. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Fold in 150 grams (5½ oz) wholemeal flour, 200 grams (7 oz) rolled oats, 90 grams (3 oz) chopped dried apricots, 60 grams (2 oz) roughly chopped walnuts, 80 grams (2¾ oz) bran flakes cereal, crushed. Mix thoroughly. Drop spoonfuls of the mixture onto the prepared baking trays, spacing them about 5 cm (2 inches) apart. Bake for 15 minutes, or until light brown. Leave for 5 minutes before lifting off the tray and placing on a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container. Makes 42.
- To make low GI ‘Buckwheat and Buttermilk Pancakes with Berries’, combine 130 grams (4 1/2 oz) buckwheat flour, 35 grams (1¼ oz) wholemeal flour, 1½ teaspoons baking powder and 2 tablespoons of raw (demerara) sugar in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in 2 lightly beaten eggs, 250 ml (9 fl oz) buttermilk and 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence and whisk until smooth. Add a little more milk if the pancake batter is too thick. Heat a frying pan over medium heat and lightly spray with olive oil. Pour 60 ml (2 fl oz) of the mixture into the pan and cook for 1–2 minutes each side, or until the pancakes are golden and cooked. Repeat with the remaining mixture. Top the pancakes with a spoonful of yoghurt
Photo: Ian Hofstetter, The Low GI Cookbook, Buckwheat Pancakes
And remember, you don’t have to avoid all high GI foods. While you will benefit from eating low GI carbs at each meal, this doesn't have to be at the exclusion of all others.’ So enjoy baking your own bread or occasional treats. And if you combine high GI bakery products with protein foods and low GI carbs such as fruit or legumes, the overall GI value will be medium.