diet

Cous cous vs rice

Monday, January 11, 2010
Cous cous, rice, potatoes, pasta

"How healthy is cous cous compared to rice? Is there rice that's better than other rice? Does cous cous have a low GI?"

Cous cous is a wheat product and is very popular in the Middle East. It can be used as a fluffy grain alternative to rice.

Neither rice nor cous cous is low-GI, but different types of rice vary in their GI levels. (See table below)

Some people who suffer from wheat intolerance should avoid cous cous, whereas rice is a very low allergen food and tolerated by nearly everyone. If you are managing high blood sugar levels and/or diabetes, then select a rice from the table below that is low-GI and avoid cous cous in favour of lower-GI barley, buckwheat, bulgar and quinoa.

Type of riceGILow/Medium/High
Arborio risotto rice, white69Med
Basmati rice, white58Med
Calrose rice, brown medium grain87High
Calrose rice, white, medium grain83High
Doongara Clever rice54Low
Doongara rice, brown66Med
Instant rice, white, cooks in five mins87High
Jasmine rice89High
Jasmine rice, white, cooked in rice cooker109High
Moolgiri rice54Low
Sunrise koshikari rice73High
Wild rice, boiled57Medium



Salmon vs tuna

"I was wondering which is better for you: canned salmon or tuna, keeping in mind nutrition and diet?"

Salmon and tuna are both excellent dietary sources providing similar amounts of energy (KJ). They are both an outstanding source of protein and contain fish oils which help to ease symptoms of PMT and joint and rheumatic pain.

If you had to pick one over the other, however, salmon would pip tuna at the post. Being a smaller fish and slightly lower in the food chain, it does not feed on as many smaller fish that absorb mercury through their gills. Consequently, salmon presents a lower risk of mercury contamination. It's also a slightly better source of Omega 2 fatty acids and, when you eat the soft bones in canned salmon, provides a great source of calcium.

At the end of the day, however, what's most important for great health is a varied and balanced diet — therefore, if you like both, eat both.

Note: When buying either tuna or salmon, to reduce KJ, buy brands in spring water or brine.



Carbs

"I hear it is not good to have potatoes and pasta in the same meal. This leads to too many carbs floating around in your body. If not worked off, they store as fat. Is this true?"

Technically, carbs don't float around your body. Like all foods, they are taken into the stomach before being passed into the small and large intestine. During this process, energy and nutrients are absorbed by the body for a variety of uses. While proteins like meat, chicken and fish are mostly used by the body to repair and replace body cells, carbohydrates are the body's preferred source of energy, used for all bodily functions. Even when you are not physically moving, the body is using energy. When you eat more food (and energy) than the body requires, it's stored in the form of fat, to be used at a time when food may be scarce.

The game is to find a balance and studies have shown that while there are health risks associated with a diet free of carbohydrate, there is evidence to prove that reducing carbohydrate and slightly increasing the amount of protein in the diet is an effective way to lose weight.

There are many other health benefits from eating carbohydrates, including improved mental performance and concentration, but the evidence suggests you eat quality low-GI carbohydrates.

Potatoes and pasta together is certainly overkill. I would suggest you choose the lower-GI pasta and eat a modest serve of one cup cooked only.


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