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Grinding Split Peas Before Cooking and Diabetes

by Bhadra
(U.S.)

Bhadra's Question:

Does grinding then cooking dry split peas change the glycemic index of the peas? I am cooking for a pre-diabetic person and she was opposed to a soup recipe that called for some powdered dry peas and green peas.

Suzy's Answer:

Hi, Bhadra,

Thank you for your question about the glycemic index of split peas that are ground versus used whole. Unfortunately, we do not have a definitive answer for you. However, here are some suggestions that may help:

-Split peas are not a high glycemic food, since they are relatively low in carbohydrate, while at the same time, they are a significant source of fiber and protein.

-Split peas contain "soluble fiber" which helps stabilize blood sugar.

-While grinding them before cooking may slightly increase their digestibility, it is unlikely that it would have a significant effect on the glycemic load of the soup you are making.

Also, is it possible to use them in the soup without grinding them, since this seems to be the issue that bothers the person you are cooking for?

Legumes are not the problem.

I understand the concern that a person who is pre-diabetic may have about including starchy vegetables, such as peas, in the diet. However, foods such as split peas, whether they are ground before cooking or not, are generally not the problem. The real culprits for most people are processed foods made with white flour, lots of sugar and not much nutrition. On the other hand, legumes are a great source of vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein, so in moderation, they can be part of a healthy diet for a person with pre-diabetes.

What a pre-diabetic eats is important!

Your friend is wise to be paying close attention to diet, since a balanced diet along with regular exercise have been shown to help prevent the onset of diabetes.

Here are some links that may be of interest to you:

Nutritional Value of Split Peas

What is the Glycemic Index?

Diabetes Facts

Meeting with an expert may help.

Another option would be to meet with a dietitian to get help planning a balanced diet that includes nutritious foods like split peas and other starchy vegetables. This would help your friend to understand how to include healthy carbohydrates and still keep blood sugar at desirable levels.

Hope this information helps answer your question, Bhadra, and thank you for visiting our healthy eating website!

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