Our expert says:
There is no problem with eating maize meal porridge or 'pap' as it is known in South Africa if you are not suffering from insulin resistance or diabetes. Maize meal porridge has unfortunately got a high glycaemic index (GI) if it is eaten hot. South African researchers have, however, found that if you cook pap and let it cool down, the GI drops down to the low level. According to the SA Glycemic Index & Load Guide, pap can have the following GI-values: stiff maize meal porridge or 'phutu pap' cooked and cooled = GI of 50 (low); stiff maize meal porridge or 'phutu pap' cooked and eaten hot = GI of 75 (high); Soft maize meal porridge or 'phutu pap' cooked and eaten hot = GI of 83 (high).
Now in all these cases you can further lower the GI of the pap by adding half a cup of low-fat milk or low-fat sour milk. Individuals with insulin resistance and/or type 2 diabetes can, therefore, eat pap of any consistency provided they cook it, cool it down and then eat it cold together with low-fat milk or sour milk. Two other problems that may influence how doctors regard pap, is that white sifted maize meal has had practically all the dietary fibre removed by the sifting and it contains very little beta-carotene (the so-called “precursor” of vit A). Using unsifted maize meal or maize meal made from yellow maize (called polenta in Europe) is healthier than eating sifted white maize meal. However, nowadays all maize meal is fortified with vitamins A, B1, B2, niacin, folic acid, pyridoxine, iron and zinc, so its vitamin and mineral content has been improved.
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