The study revealed that consuming traditional staples like ‘Konkonte’ processed through solar or sun dry, could reduce your blood sugar levels and lower the risk of heart diseases.
A Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology has shown that foods processed through solar and sun drying possess a lower glycaemic index, which is healthy for consumption.
However, during sun drying, care must be taken to prevent microbial contamination.
The school’s Department of Food Science and Technology research that was published in the Journal of Food and Nutrition Science, established that cooked konkonte with sun-dried flour possessed a significantly lower glycaemic index (is a rating system for measuring how specific foods increase blood sugar levels) of 40.20%.
The lower GI recorded for ‘konkonte’ may be due to the formation of resistant starches emanating from gelatinization of starches during the cooking process and the intermittent heating regimes that occurred in the course of the drying process.
The study indicated that food processing methods have a significant effect on starch breakdown and release of sugars into the body, which is attributed to varying degrees of the processing temperature.
Studies have confirmed that low GI diets reduce blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, reduce body weight, and also improve pregnancy outcomes in women with gestational diabetes. The research work also recommended that food processors should ensure the use of sun or solar drying to produce lower glycaemic index food products, whilst ensuring complete compliance to good hygiene and sanitation during the drying.
About the research
The KNUST research work sought to determine the effects of some food processing methods on the bioavailability of starch and also predicted the GI of some cassava-based traditional staples consumed in Ghana.
The food processing methods included boiling, steaming, fermentation, and drying.
Ghanaian cassava-based staples such as boiled cassava (locally known as ampesi), ‘akyeke’ (a meal known amongst the Nzema prepared through a steaming method), and cooked konkonte with sun or solar-dried cassava flour were used for the analysis.