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Background and objectives: Glycaemic index (GI) is an important parameter of food quality that compares the hypoglycaemic effect of a test meal with pure glucose. Low glycaemic index diets have been recommended for diabetics. The study was to determine the glycaemic indices (GIs) of standardized cocoyam and corn based traditional dishes consumed in south-eastern Nigeria.
Methods: Focus group discussions were conducted in eight randomly selected communities in Nsukka LGA to document the variations of each dish and their recipes. These were standardized and prepared. Nutrient compositions of the prepared dishes were determined using standard procedure. A serving portion of each dish containing 50g of available carbohydrate was served to ten healthy adult subjects. Glucose was used as the reference food. The postprandial blood glucose response of the test and the reference meals were measured over two hours at 30 minutes interval. Blood glucose curves were plotted, area under each curve and corresponding glycaemic index value for each dish determined. Data were analyzed using Statistical Product for Service Solution (SPSS). Analysis of variance was used to compare the means.
Result: Three variations of cocoyam-based dishes were documented: ‘achicha’(dried cocoyam chips, soaked and steamed) with pigeon pea, ‘achicha’ with fresh ‘akidi’(fresh cowpea in pod) and ‘achicha’ with vegetable (Solanum melongena). The corn- based dish had two variations: ‘ayaraya oka’ (coarsely ground soaked, steamed corn) with pigeon pea” and ‘ayaraya oka’ with fresh ‘akidi’. The dishes had appreciable proximate, vitamin and mineral composition though the protein content of the cocoyam-based dishes were low 0.7 – 1.0%. vitamin B2, iron and zinc content of the dishes were also low. The GIs of the cocoyam-based dishes were within the range of 47 and 69 being highest in ‘achicha’ with vegetable and ‘ayaraya oka’ without fresh ‘akidi’(69) and lowest in ‘achicha’ with pigeon pea (47).
Conclusion: ‘Achicha’ with pigeon pea, ‘achicha’ with fresh ‘akidi’ and ‘ayaraya oka’ with fresh ‘akidi’ had low glycemic indices, respectively and could be recommended for diabetics.