3 Practical Tips to Swap to Wholegrains at Ease

Rice is the main staple that is deeply rooted in our culture, right in the heart of Singapore. However, often, we see refined white grains over brown, wild, red rice and other ‘wholegrains’ that you can name, which are easily found in the local supermarkets these days.

So the golden question is, “Why still choose wholegrains when it is so tough to chew?”

What is a wholegrain?
To break it down simply, a WHOLE grain as the name suggests, comprises of the entire seed of the plant – whereby the bran, germ, and endosperm are intact. On the other hand, white rice has been polished where the germ and bran are removed.  Compared with unenriched white rice, wholegrains have more nutrients – including dietary fibre, protein, B-group vitamins, iron, magnesium as well as copper, that are mostly being stripped during the milling process of the grain.

What does science say?
According to evidence-based studies1, switching to wholegrains can improve total cholesterol, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, blood sugar control and inflammation. Also, in a recent large study of almost 200,000 adults from the United States that took place over 30 years, those who frequently included wholegrains in their diets are found that they are of lower risk in developing type 2 diabetes, compared with those who rarely did so2.

How do we Singapore fare?
According to the National Health Population Survey 2019, the proportions of Singaporeans with self-reported chronic diseases continued to rise gradually. For instance, the self-reported type 2 diabetes percentage grew from 4.9% in 2007 to 6.9% in 2019. Also, it is well noted that the prevalence of chronic diseases related to poor intake of wholegrain foods in Singaporean adults (18 to 64 years old) rose for type 2 diabetes and obesity from 1998 to 20103.

So, what can I do to accept the taste and texture of wholegrains?

#1. Introduce small amounts over time
Remember that any change should be gradual. The sudden switch from refined grains to wholegrain rice might be frowned upon. Saying so, we are aiming for gradual acceptance and adaptability. Try replacing 10% of white rice to brown rice and additional 10% after a couple of weeks, repeat! Before you have realised, you might be so used to brown rice in a long run.

#2. Barley and corn are wholegrains too
Especially in Southeast Asia, when we think of grains, rice will probably just come to mind. Readily available food ingredients like barley and corn are actually wholegrains as well. Yes, the bran, germ, and endosperm are all still intact! Incorporating both barley and corn into a mixture of brown and white rice would provide some crunch, sweetness and colour that even kids might be open to it.  

#3. Pair wholegrains with pulses and dried figs
Like barley and corn, mixing beans like adzuki beans (Japanese red beans), mung beans and even dried figs would not only add flavour but also increasing the profile of protein, dietary fibre and calcium content from the figs!

What if I choose to eat out?
Look out for Food Canopy outlets in your area where wholegrain options are available. Alternatively, pick an eatery that participates in the Health Promotion Board’s Healthier Dining Programme. At these outlets, there are higher in wholegrains options to choose from.


  1. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2020 Nov;120(11):1859-1883.e31. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2020.06.021. (Marshall S et al.)
  2. BMJ. 2020 Jul 8;370:m2206. doi: 10.1136/bmj.m2206. (Hu Y et al.)
  3. Neo, J. E., & Brownlee, I. A. (2017). Wholegrain food acceptance in young Singaporean adults. Nutrients9(4), 371.

World Diabetes Day – 14 November 2020

Diabetes is an illness that occurred when your body is unable to control your blood sugar levels. Without proper control of your lifestyle and diet during the early stage of a certain type of diabetes, it will lead to severe complications.

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes happens if your body is unable to effectively work with insulin, which is a hormone that is essential for your body to transform glucose(a simple form of sugar) to body energy. In Singapore, most diabetes patients have type 2 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes also commonly known as insulin-dependent diabetes which your body produces no or insufficient insulin. This type of diabetes normally occurs in the time of patient’s adolescence or childhood stage.

Ways to prevent yourself from diabetes

  • Maintain your body weight to achieve Body Mass Index(BMI) in the healthy range
  • Have a balanced and healthy diet lifestyle, always monitor your saturated fats and sugar intake
  • Quit smoking, to reduce the risk of heart diseases and diabetes
  • Stay active, exercise at least 30 minutes for five days in a week
  • Restrict your alcohol consumption
  • Do medical check-up every year to monitor your body health

To help spread awareness on world diabetes day, all our outlets will have 20
¢ off on Milo kosong, Teh O kosong and Kopi O kosong. Do drop by to our outlets to enjoy this promotion tomorrow!

Reference: 2020. Diabetes. [online] Available at:

Carbohydrate: Do you know what is Glycaemic Index?

Have you ever come across glycaemic index in food? What is glycaemic index? This is a ranking where value from 0 to 100 is given to specific food depends on after eating this food, how much and how fast this food increase your blood glucose levels.

Foods with high (above 70) glycaemic index:

Foods that are broke down and absorbed fast in your body will lead to a spike in your blood glucose level and results in unstable blood glucose profiles. Thus, rated high in glycaemic index. Foods with high glycaemic index consist of:

  • White rice and white bread
  • Sugary and sweet foods
  • Potatoes
  • Soft drinks with high amount of sugar

Foods with medium (from 55 -70) and low (less than 55) glycaemic index:

Medium and low glycaemic index foods are broke down and absorbed more slowly which increase your blood glucose level in a stable manner. Some of the medium or low glycaemic index foods are:

  • Brown rice
  • Fruits
  • Non-starchy vegetables
  • Oats

Do you know?

Are foods with low glycaemic index is a healthier choice? Surprisingly the answer is no, as foods with low glycaemic index are not all healthy while not all foods with high glycaemic index are unhealthy. Such as pineapple and watermelon have high glycaemic index, but these are not unhealthy foods.

Apart from that, different recipe and cooking process will change the glycaemic index value. For example, foods that cooked with protein or fat will lower glycaemic index as protein and fat slower down carbohydrate absorption in your body. Having a balanced diet with right ratio of carbohydrate, protein, fats, vitamins and minerals are more important rather than focusing on glycaemic index value of foods.

Subscribe to our health blog via the green tab on the left of our website so that you can stay updated to our fitness, nutrition tips and many more. Join our first health blog lucky draw event now by subscribe to our health blog and tag 3 friends on our Food Canopy Pte Ltd Facebook page giveaway post to win free tickets to treetop adventure park, good luck!❤

Reference: 2020. Diabetes: Limitations of Glycaemic Index for Blood Glucose Control [online] Available at: <>

Carbohydrate: Facts about free sugars

High intake of sugar not only cause tooth problems but also obesity and other health issues. Free sugars are the hidden risks in your daily diet that lead to health problems.

Free sugars are:

  • Added sugars in drinks or food products. Such as cereals, soft drinks, cake, yoghurt and biscuits. Sugars might be added during the food processing at the factory, or by the baker at the bakery shop or by yourself at home.
  • Sugars which naturally found in foods like honey, vegetable juices, fruit juices and syrup. These are considered as free sugars as their food structure has been changed and these sugars are ‘freed’.

Sugars that are naturally found in fruit, vegetables and dairy-based products (eg. milk) does not consider as free sugars. However, these sugars still contribute to your total sugar intake.

Recommended daily intake of total sugar:

The recommended daily intake of total sugar is less than 10% of your total energy intake by Health Promotion Board. For example, if your daily calorie intake is 2000kcal then your total sugar intake should be 50g (10 teaspoons) of sugar. However, additional cutback to 25g (5 teaspoons) of sugar is greatly encouraged as this will bring more significant benefits to your health.

Tips to cut down sugar in food & drinks:

  • Replace soft drinks with sparkling water mixed with lemon or mint
  • Reduce sugar or opt for sugarless hot drinks, add low-fat milk instead
  • Fruit juices without added sugar still contain a high level of sugar, limit your intake less than 150ml every day or eat whole fruit instead
  • Read the nutrition label and pick the product with the lowest total sugar level
  • Try to go for sliced strawberry or banana as your toast spread rather than serving with chocolate, honey or jam on your toast.
  • Purchase unsweetened cereals and avoid those flavoured with honey or chocolate

Subscribe to our health blog via the green tab on the left of our website so that you can stay updated to our fitness, nutrition tips and many more. We will be having our first health blog lucky draw event next week, more details will be announced on our Food Canopy Pte Ltd Facebook page ❤

Reference: 2020. Sugar: The Facts. [online] Available at: <> Choose Beverages and Food with Less Sugar [online] Available at: <,such%20as%20cakes%20and%20candies>


Carbohydrate that cannot be digested by your body is known as dietary fibre. Nearly all carbohydrates can be broken down into the simplest sugar form, but fibre cannot be broken down into the simplest sugar and rather fibre move through your body undigested. Fibre has many functions such as helps to keep your body digestive system healthy and regulate body cholesterol and sugar levels.

Diseases that can be caused by low-fibre diets consist of:

  • Heart-related disease
  • Colon cancer
  • Constipation
  • Diverticular-related disease
  • Sensitive bowel condition

Steps to increase fibre intake in your diet:

  • Replace biscuits, chocolate bars and chips with fresh vegetables(e.g. carrot stick) for snack.
  • Avoid drinking fruit juices, instead eat the whole fruits.
  • Choose lentils, beans, and peas over meat items.
  • Buy cereals for breakfast that consist of wheat, oats or barley.
  • Add on an extra portion of vegetables to your dinner.

Reference: The Nutrition Source. (2020). Fiber. [online] Available at: <>

Carbohydrate and Starchy Foods

One of our major source for carbohydrate is starchy foods and starchy foods play a significant part in a well-balanced diet.

Wholegrain bread
Starchy Foods

The major source of energy (calories) comes from starchy foods and starchy foods also contribute to a wide variety of nutrients (examples: vitamins B, fibre, calcium and iron.) towards your healthy diet.

In general, people have the conception that starchy foods will cause fattening, but starchy foods actually consist of lesser than half calories of what fats consist of. While cooking starchy foods, control the fats added into the dishes as this will cause high calories contribution in your diet.

To eat extra starchy foods in healthier ways, you will have to:

·         Choose brown rice over white rice, which increase the fibre intake in your diet

·         Go for wholegrain oats or cereals with low-fat milk and some of your preferred fruits

·         Opt for a baked potato with the skin on with some baked vegetables along

·         Always choose baked potato wedges over fries or deep-fried potatoes dish

·         Have a different type of bread for breakfast, such as granary, wholemeal, multigrain, seeded and oat. This will increase the variety of nutrients intake of your diet


Reference: (2019). Starchy foods and carbohydrates. [online] Available at:

Carbohydrate and Added Sugars


Carbohydrates are widely known to provide energy for the body. Our body breaks down the carbohydrate into glucose, which powers everything we do. Carbohydrates are subdivided into several categories – sugars, starches and fibre.


Sugars are found naturally in food like fruits and milk products. Sugars are added during food processing to improve shelf life and taste of food and they are referred to as added sugars. It is not a secret that high consumption of sugars, especially added sugars, are bad for health and can lead to obesity and diabetes. In addition, added sugars are empty calories – it provides zero nutritional value but increases calorie intake. Excess calories will be stored as fat.

Added Sugars

Based on the Health Promotion Board, it is recommended to take no more than 8 to 11 teaspoons (40 to 55g) of added sugar a day. However, Singaporeans are consuming 60g of added sugar daily – according to the National Nutrition Survey conducted in 2018. One could start reducing their sugar intake by asking for less sugar (siu dai) in kopi or teh, or choose drinks with Health Promotion Board “Lower in Sugar” Healthier Choice Symbol (HCS).

Do you know?

All drink stalls in Food Canopy offer “Lower in Sugar” HCS drinks.


Reference: Erickson, J. and Slavin, J. (2015). Total, Added, and Free Sugars: Are Restrictive Guidelines Science-Based or Achievable?. [online] NCBI. Available at: http://Total, Added, and Free Sugars: Are Restrictive Guidelines Science-Based or Achievable? [Accessed 11 Apr. 2019].