Managing diabetes · Recipes

The Ancient Grain of Farro

2013 farroA few weeks ago I made a farro side dish.  I really liked it.  I needed to find a replacement for rice.  We used to eat rice about twice a week.  I can tell you that my blood sugar numbers the next day were high.  This all has to do with the glycemic index of a carbohydrate.

What is glycemic index?  Of all places I found the where they give a very good definition:

The glycemic index (GI) is a ranking of carbohydrates on a scale from 0 to 100 according to the extent to which they raise blood sugar levels after eating. Foods with a high GI are those which are rapidly digested and absorbed and result in marked fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Low-GI foods, by virtue of their slow digestion and absorption, produce gradual rises in blood sugar and insulin levels, and have proven benefits for health. Low GI diets have been shown to improve both glucose and lipid levels in people with diabetes (type 1 and type 2). They have benefits for weight control because they help control appetite and delay hunger. Low GI diets also reduce insulin levels and insulin resistance.

Recent studies from Harvard School of Public Health indicate that the risks of diseases such as type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease are strongly related to the GI of the overall diet. In 1999, the World Health Organization (WHO) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recommended that people in industrialized countries base their diets on low-GI foods in order to prevent the most common diseases of affluence, such as coronary heart disease, diabetes and obesity.

What does that have to do with rice vs farro.

2013 RiceRice has a glycemic index (GI) of 70 – that’s a high GI for a cup of white rice.  Farro, on the other hand, has a GI of 40 and has a much richer taste than rice.  Very nutty and delicious.

I subscribe to a few Italian FB pages and two of my favorites are Proud Italian Cook, Maria (who’s in the Chicagoland area) and Italian Food Forever, Deborah who lives in Naples, Florida for half the year and Umbria, Italy the other half.  Deborah had a fantastic faro risotto recipe that looks pretty tasty on FB today.

So when you’re thinking of sides, you do have a choice of grains to choose from.  Do your homework on which is best for you and your family.  You can check out this site as well when comparing grains.

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