The low GI trend may be coming for your chicken rice

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Healthy rice might soon available in the market.

We’ve all heard the advice – eat more whole grains, swap white rice for brown rice or other low-sugar options. But for many people, it can hard to give up one’s chicken rice and Hokkien mee for alternatives with lower glycemic index (GI).

Luckily, a local food-tech laboratory is trying to everyone’s favourite staple into healthy rice.

Healthy rice and breads

The low GI trend may be coming for your chicken rice

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Alchemy Foodtech, which runs the lab, aims to create ingredients that can help lower the glycemic index (GI) of foods.

High GI foods like white rice and breads are metabolised quickly which makes one’s blood sugar to spike quickly. This aslo alsos these foods keep them full only for a short time. In contrast, low GI foods take longer to digest. This allows one’s blood sugar to rise more slowly making one’s energy last for longer.

Lower GI alternatives

Brown rice and wholegrain breads tend to have a harder texture and different taste from their white counterparts making it a lesser popular option among consumers.

“Giving up your favourite food like white rice for brown rice, or having chicken rice with brown rice – these are things people find very hard to accept,” said Alchemy Foodtech CEO Alan Phua in an interview with Channel NewsAsia.

Phua’s company is focusing on developing blends, called 5ibrePlus, which is made up of natural plant fibres and extracts, to help lower the GI of rice, bread and other carbohydrate foods without changing the taste, texture and appearance.

The tasteless powder ingredient can be added to food such as noodles and rice. It also comes in grains variation. The grains can be added to jasmine white rice to lower its GI levels to that of brown rice.

5ibrePlus took three and a half years to develop and involved both engineering trials and human clinical studies.

The company is working with four food manufacturers, including bread manufacturer Gardenia, to develop low GI versions of their products. With Singapore having the second highest rate of diabetes among developed countries, the company hopes to partner with more food manufacturers and brands, and scale up its production.

Written by

Abigail Ang