Tapioca has become a food that practically the entire country uses, mainly because it provides energy for the body. But how does tapioca influence the blood glucose of people with diabetes?
Can people in this condition make use of tapioca? In these cases, does the preparation and consumption require some more appropriate care?
Read on and discover the influence of tapioca on the glycemic index of a person with diabetes.
What is tapioca?
The person can use the name tapioca for tapioca flour or for the dish that the individual prepares with it. This tapioca flour, previously handmade and now sold in any supermarket, is the manioc starch, gum or sweet flour.
Cassava, after being peeled, is crushed, washed and left to soak. Subsequently, it is strained and pressed to get out all the liquid, which, in turn, is put to decant (a powder is deposited at the bottom of the decanting vessel).
In this way, 3 products are obtained:
- grated, washed and pressed cassava which, after roasting and grinding, gives rise to cassava flour ;
- the liquid resulting from decanting known as manipuera ;
- the decanted product that constitutes the starch , starch or tapioca starch .
It is with this starch that the dish so appreciated and known as tapioca is prepared. It can also be said that tapioca is the starch extracted from the root of the cassava plant.
What are the main characteristics of tapioca as a food?
Tapioca is a dish widely used in the cuisine of the North and Northeast of Brazil. Some time ago it gained national preference and began to be regularly consumed throughout the country.
Essentially, as we have seen, its composition boils down to cassava starch, that is, tapioca is pure carbohydrate. However, although low in protein and fat, tapioca is a great food.
First, because carbohydrates are indispensable in human nutrition to provide the energy necessary for life. Tapioca, like cassava starch, is an excellent source of this nutrient.
In addition, as it has a neutral flavor, it combines with anything and lets the creativity of those who prepare it run. This versatility has been one of the great advantages of this food.
However, tapioca is also an excellent food because, despite being starch, it is gluten free. This feature, for those who need a functional diet, is essential and very valuable.
In fact, those who need a gluten-free diet find it very difficult to eat. This difficulty results from the fact that almost all food produced with starch originates from wheat, which is rich in gluten.
Finally, we must highlight the presence of the following nutrients in tapioca: vitamin K, B vitamins, calcium, iron and copper.
Why does a person with diabetes need to be careful with tapioca?
As it is pure carbohydrate, the tapioca starch macromolecule is made up of several glucose units. This chain is broken during digestion, releasing the countless glucose molecules that make up starch.
Tapioca, for this reason, is a food whose glycemic index is high. This characteristic could mean that when a person digests it, tapioca would raise blood glucose levels more quickly, and that’s all a person with diabetes doesn’t need.
It happens that in tapioca, part of the starch is in the form of resistant starch, which works like a fiber and is not digested and, therefore, does not release glucose molecules. Therefore, people with diabetes can use tapioca in their diet, but in a moderate way.
How does tapioca influence the blood glucose of people with diabetes?
The Glycemic Index (GI) is the value corresponding to the speed with which the sugar present in a certain food reaches the bloodstream, altering blood glucose levels.
In this sense, people with type 2 diabetes need to be aware of the value of nutrients in their diet, so as to avoid hyperglycemia due to low production or resistance to insulin by the body.
To give you an idea, the GI of tapioca is 115, which makes it surpass sugar itself and French bread in glucose absorption levels. In other words, the body digests food quickly, which can pose a problem for people with diabetes if they consume too much or prepare food in isolation.
But, calm down, that doesn’t mean you can’t use this product in your diet. Check out some valuable preparation tips below that make tapioca a good option for your menu!
So who can eat tapioca?
Contrary to what many may imagine, anyone can make use of tapioca in their diet. For people with diabetes, however, it is essential that the person moderate this consumption and, preferably, adapt it to the condition of the body’s fragility to high levels of glucose in the bloodstream.
For that, some tips can be valuable. Among them, the combination of tapioca with other foods of low or medium glycemic index. Likewise, it is possible to combine the nutrient with products that delay the speed with which glucose is absorbed, that is, reduce the glycemic load of tapioca. Also recommended to combining the food with others that give greater satiety in meals is recommendable.
How to decrease the glycemic load of tapioca?
As it turns out, due to its carbohydrate constitution, tapioca can increase blood glucose levels after its ingestion, since its digestion is fast. However, this negative aspect for the person with diabetes can be reduce with a very simple trick.
For you to know how tapioca influences the blood glucose of people with diabetes, you need to be able to reduce glucose formation and avoid blood glucose spikes, just add fiber to the tapioca dough. For this purpose, one can use oat bran, for example.
With this simple care, part of the digestion will be slowed down, because that’s what fiber does. The result is fewer glucose molecules available in the blood.
Another important measure that a person can take, both to reduce the glycemic load and to improve their nutritional potential, is to take care of the tapioca filling. An egg-based protein filling or shredded beef, for example, would fulfill this role very well.
Therefore, tapioca is not a forbidden food for people with diabetes, but only requires some care with its preparation and moderation in consumption. Add to that another tip: the best time to eat tapioca is after physical activity , as it also reduces the glycemic load.
What are the benefits of tapioca as a food?
A Brazilian food, easily accessible for the entire population, tapioca has characteristics that make this national delicacy an excellent food with several benefits.
See below the main advantages it offers to those who consume it!
Provides the energy the body needs
Tapioca provides much of the energy that the body needs for everyday tasks. In turn, the person with diabetes should moderate its use so as not to cause excess glucose in the blood.
No fat, gluten or sodium
Considered as the 3 villains of food when in inadequate amounts, fat, gluten and sodium are absent in tapioca. To have this advantage, therefore, care must be take in preparation so as not to lose the benefits.
Allows you to reduce your glycemic load with simple measures
As it turned out, although it originally had a high glycemic index , a person can change this condition with simple measures. Thus, mixing fiber into tapioca flour reduces the immediate availability of glucose for digestion.
Helps to control blood pressure
It is also worth mentioning the presence of potassium which helps in controlling blood pressure. This is because the substance has a vasodilator function, reducing the tension between blood vessels. In this sense, the consumption of tapioca can improve blood flow and reduce the incidence of heart problems.
Contributes to bone strengthening
Finally, tapioca also contributes to the strengthening of bones. The presence of calcium in food offers greater protection against problems that can arise from a decrease in bone mineral density. For example, osteoporosis, loss of flexibility among others.
Has a neutral flavor
The neutral flavor is a big plus in cooking, especially for people who need to control their diet . This feature facilitates combinations with various ingredients for the production of balanced meals, rich in nutrients and, at the same time, pleasant and pleasant to the palate.
Knowing how tapioca influences the blood glucose of people with diabetes is the best way to include a Brazilian delicacy in the menu of those who live with this condition and need to change eating habits.