Bhupinder Kaur

Senior Research Officer
Clinical Nutrition Research Centre

Asia is in the grip of a pandemic in type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. It is also the unenviable epicenter of type 2 diabetes. The increased prevalence of type 2 diabetes has been ascribed to the high carbohydrate (CHO) diet that most Asians consume,  and their susceptibility to type 2 diabetes due to their phenotype. During the past two decades, the concept of the glycaemic index (GI) of food has emerged as an important nutrition concept. The GI is a classification of the blood glucose-raising potential of carbohydrates in foods. High GI foods are characterized by fast-release carbohydrates and higher blood glucose levels. Low GI foods are absorbed at slower rates which in turn results in a lower rise in blood glucose. Ironically, all the CHO-rich foods in Asia, notably rice, noodles and bread are high GI foods. Using a series of examples, the presentation will highlight how local foods may be incorporated in our diet to not only lower glycaemic response of starch-based foods, but also enhance the health outcomes of our population. Given the abundance of food variety both in terms of fauna and flora, the presentation will highlight how some commonly consumed foods may become the medicine of tomorrow endorsing the claim that food is the new medicine.