To be low GI, you need to shooting out super charged saliva.
The glycemic response is in your spit
The process of digesting of any food, begins long before the food item hits the swirling acidic mileau of the stomach.
Starch digestion starts as soon as you take a bite. Copious amounts of saliva, flood into the mouth, mixing with the food and turning it into a mushy soft goo, which can then easily slip down the oesophagus and into the stomach. Water is the principle ingredient of saliva, but in the mix is the enzyme salivary amylase.
Amylases are enzymes that slice and dice the starch molecule, an extremely long collection of glucose molecules, into individual sugar molecules.
Spitting up a storm ?
The amylases in your spit determine how quickly the starch is broken down. Some people inherit super efficient amylases, while others get a more laid back version, which gets the job done, but just.
The million dollar question, does it matter ?
It seems to, your amylase activity impacts on the glycemic index of the foods you’re eating.
You want an amylase workhorse
Researchers from Monell tested the responses of 48 adults to a corn starch drink.
Spit analysis categorized the participants into high amylase (HA) types and low amylase (LA) types.
The participants were required to drink a corn starch solution and the researchers then kept tabs on blood glucose and insulin concentrations over a two hour period.
The HA types had less of a sugar spike, than the LA types. The reason for the difference in response, seemed to be due to a difference in the release of insulin. HA types were quick on the up take and released insulin snappily. Getting insulin to the party quickly, caused the sugar level to be better controlled.
Low amylase is potentially risky business
If your amylase response is on the slow side – you’re more likely to have trouble controlling your sugar level. In the short term, this little genetic aberration increases your chances of having weight troubles, long term you’re a candidate for type 2 diabetes.
But it is not all doom and gloom.
Slow amylase just needs more time
There is a simple inexpensive fix – just give your slow coach amylase, a little longer to get the job done, by keeping contact with the food for longer.
If you chew each mouthful, a couple more times, your slow coach amylase will have a little longer to break down the starch molecules and kick start the rest of the carbohydrate digestion process.
Chewing has few additional benefits
- it will get the rest of the gut juices flowing, speeding up the dispatch of the “I am full message,” so you end up eating less
- while burning a few extra calories in the process.
So listen to Mom
Chew with your mouth closed.High Endogenous Salivary Amylase Activity Is Associated with Improved Glycemic Homeostasis following Starch Ingestion in Adults. The Journal of Nutrition (2012) 142(5):853-858. Abigail L. Mandel and Paul A. S. Breslin.
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