Singapore is an island state that is composed of three major ethnic groups, namely Chinese, Malay and Indian. Its inhabitants consume food either using chopsticks (Chinese), fingers (Malay and Indian) or spoon (Chinese, Malay and Indian). Previous work by our group showed that the degree of mastication significantly influenced the glycemic response. The degree of mastication in turn may depend on the eating method as the amount of food taken per mouthful and chewing time differs between eating methods. Eleven healthy volunteers came in on six non-consecutive days to the laboratory and evaluated three methods of eating white rice (spoon, chopsticks and fingers) once and the reference food (glucose solution) three times in a random order. Their glycemic response (GR) was measured for the subsequent 120 min. Mastication parameters were determined using surface electrode electromyography. The GR to white rice eating with chopsticks was significantly lower than spoon. The GI of eating rice with chopsticks was 68 which is significantly lower than eating with spoon (GI=81). However there were no differences between fingers and spoon, and between fingers and chopsticks either in GR 120 min or GI. The inter-individual number of mouthful, number of chews per mouthful, chewing time per mouthful and the total time taken to consume the whole portion of rice were significantly different between spoon and chopsticks groups. Significant correlations between the number of mouthful to take the entire portion of rice and amount of rice per mouthful during mastication and the GR were observed for eating rice with spoon and chopsticks, but not for fingers. The results suggest that individual differences in number of mouthful and amount of rice per mouthful may be two of the causes for inter-individual differences in the GR between spoon and chopsticks. The present study suggests that eating rice with different feeding tools has different chewing times and amount of food taken per mouthful and then alters the GI of the rice.
Keywords: Eating method; Eating rate; Glycemic response; Mastication; White rice.
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