Vegetable Carbohydrates Cooked Uncooked
Vegetable Carbohydrates Cooked Uncooked – Carbs (carbohydrates) in vegetables can definitely be affected by cooking. They are not affected as quickly or as extensively as phytonutrients like flavonoids or carotenoids, but they are still subject to changes from baking, boiling, steaming, and roasting. The exact impact of cooking on vegetables-and on other foods as well -depends on how long you cook them, how high a temperature at which you cook them, and how much moisture you use when cooking them. But here are some basics about vegetables, cooking, and carbohydrates that you should know.
Conversion of starch to sugar
Heat can increase the rate at which vegetable starches get converted into vegetable sugars. A baked Russet potato, for example, will lose about 10% of its raw-form total starch content and convert that starch content into sugar. The baking of a starchy vegetable can also raise its glycemic index (GI) value. This increase in GI (often related to the conversion of starches to sugars) holds true for vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, plantains, and carrots. A raw carrot typically has a GI value in the 15-20 range. A cooked carrot’s GI will typically fall into the 35-50 range. (You can find a reliable list of GI values in the website established by David Mendosa and based on research at the University of Sydney in Australia at http://www.mendosa.com/gilists.htm)
Changes in resistant starch
Research studies show definite changes in levels of resistant starch naturally occurring in vegetables (and other foods). Resistant starches are generally viewed as helpful carbohydrates that resist breakdown in the digestive tract long enough to reach the large intestine and support the metabolic needs of helpful bacteria and cells lining the large intestine. However, the precise relationship between vegetable cooking and resistant starch is not yet clear. In some cases, the cooking of vegetables has presented some very favorable results with respect to the amount of available resistant starches. In other cases, no change in resistant starch levels has been determined to result from cooking.
Dry versus liquid heat
When vegetables are boiled in water, some of their sugars and starches are lost into the cooking water. When vegetables are roasted or baked in the oven, this loss of sugars and starches into water does not take place. For this reason, vegetables like boiled green beans will typically lose a small percent of both sugars and starches into the cooking water, whereas oven-roasted green beans will not. However, these changes in carbohydrate composition are once again relatively small and not usually a major factor in deciding about cooking method.
When it comes to their carb content, vegetables can generally be enjoyed without problems in either cooked or raw form. Ratios of sugar to starch may change during cooking, as can amounts of available resistant starch and GI value. Among all of these factors, GI value may be the most important factor to consider for individuals who are following a diet that is focused on blood sugar control and insulin balance.
Health-e-Solutions comment: We agree with that last statement, but we would add the Insulin Index as being equally important. That is why we follow the Roman Diet, which is very low-glycemic and very low insulinemic. The Roman Diet can be more beneficial by eating raw vegetables for the added glycemic control afforded by the lower GI values of the uncooked produce. However, cooking very low-glycemic vegetables has the benefit of making them easier to digest, thereby raising the potential for increase nutrient absorption. Whichever way you intake your vegetables, the most important thing is to eat them regularly!
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