Roti or Rice! Which is harmful ?
We know that India is an Agriculture based Country and a major chunk of Indian Population is dependent on Agricultural foods. Since our childhood, we’ve been told that the grains and pulses viz. Wheat, Rice, Legumes were our major food sources as these were claimed to be nutritious. We adapted such food culture satisfactorily and without stressing our brain much, we’ve been eating it since ages. Now, let’s take a broader view of it.
With the rise in metabolic disorders that a common is suffering from, have we ever thought about the quality of food we have been consuming since ages! People eat food to lead a healthy life. But we can see that every third person nowadays is getting diabetic, hypertensive or suffering from many other metabolic disorders. It is high time we should think over it. Today I will discuss about our food and one of the most prominent diseases which is diabetes. If you will look around, you will find many people facing the blood sugar problem at early age. And instead of healing, it is getting worse day by day. And why so? Well, the reason lies in our food and eating habits.
A very common question that people ask is what should be their preference when it comes to eating roti or rice in diabetes. It is very much similar to the question, “where should I jump? Into a well or a valley!” because in any case, it is going to harm you. Whether, it is diabetes or weight loss, people are highly sceptical about “rice and roti”.
The functioning of our body depends upon hormones. If we manage to maintain the physiological levels of hormones especially Insulin and Glucagon inside our body, health issues can be tackled efficiently.
Carbohydrates & Insulin
I must have enlightened your knowledge of Carbohydrates in my previous article, “Types of Carbohydrates, Sources and Low Carb Diet Planning” and you can now understand how insulin goes out of control upon consuming carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are sugars and whenever sugar level rises above normal levels, our pancreas releases insulin in the blood. Insulin brings blood glucose or sugar level back to normal. The intake of carbohydrates like roti or rice throughout the day in every meal result in continuous spiking of insulin. This in turn leads to insulin resistant state of our cells.
Insulin is responsible to take the sugar or glucose from the blood to various cells. These can be muscle, liver and fat cells. There are some special insulin receptors present on each cell. Such receptors allow the entry of glucose or sugar upon getting signals from insulin. I will make you understand this with an example.
Do you have a doorbell at your place? So that someone can ring the bell and give you information. Now just imagine what will happen if that doorbell stops functioning! The same happens with the insulin receptors. There are millions of insulin receptors present on various cells of our body which acts like a doorbell. Whenever insulin will ring these bells and give signals to take the glucose in, the uptake of the glucose will be done by such cells.
The non-stop usage of these doorbells or the insulin receptors leads to the damage in receiving signals. So, there is a possibility that your pancreas may be producing enough insulin to handle the sugar in blood. But your insulin fails to transfer glucose efficiently from the blood to various cells. This happens due to improper functioning of its receptors.
In such cases, maximum amount of glucose will go to the fat cells leading to its swelling. And the left over, will now revolve in your blood weakening your body systems like digestive system, immunity etc.
That is how insulin resistant state of our cell is responsible for diabetes. In Type 2 diabetes, our pancreas is capable enough to produce sufficient insulin but it is ineffective in handling blood sugar level. This chronic state is a result of consuming carbohydrates for a longer period of time. Not only this, when it comes to weight loss, there are numerous studies that suggest eating sugar makes you fat. As we have already discussed, if our body is insulin resistant then we cannot manage the blood sugar level properly. And extra sugar goes to fat cells to store as fat.
Now let’s understand some facts about wheat roti and rice as these food items fall under the category of carbohydrates or sugars. We can measure their potency through Glycemic index and Glycemic load. It gives us an idea that how much wheat roti or rice place load on our body!
Doctors often ask you to avoid sugar in your diet indicating that sugar is not so good. Let’s talk in numbers. Kindly refer my previous article, “Types of Carbohydrates, Sources and Low Carb Diet Planning” for Glycemic Index or GI table. Glycemic Index of sugar is 70 and this is high. Wheat’s Glycemic Index is 55-60 which is medium but upon making its roti or chapati, it becomes fast digestible leading to a higher Glycemic Index of 80-90 depending upon the size and cooking method. GI of Cooked rice is 70 so the more GI index is, more is the load on your pancreas to release insulin.
Here, you can observe that neither rice nor roti is good for your body system though rice is slightly better than roti but we cannot ignore the fact that its GI is as high as that of sugar. The difference lies in the taste. Sugar is sweet & rice and roti are not but the cascading effects of these two are not less than sugar
At the end I would like to conclude that both are not good but yes, during initial stages when you want to bring positive changes in your diet and eating habits, you can eat small portions of rice. It is better to give up on wheat chapati, instead you can go for other flour having comparatively low GI viz bajra, jwar, ragi. Such low GI rotis contain one more benefit that’s it is gluten free. Gluten is a very dangerous and addictive protein present in high amount in wheat but it is absent in jwar, ragi and bajra. In my next blog, I will try to impart information on gluten and its adverse effects. Whether its diabetes or obesity, carbohydrates or sugars will remain the main culprit!