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.

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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].