The effect of nutritional composition on the glycemic index and glycemic load values of selected Emirati foods

Ayesha S. Al Dhaheri, Asila K. Al Ma'Awali, Louis C. Laleye, Sidiga Abdelrahim Washi, Amjad H. Jarrar, Fatima T. Al Meqbaali, Maysm N. Mohamad, Emad M. Masuadi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Population-based studies have shown an association between health, food composition, and diets; therefore, data on the composition of traditional foods for meal planning, nutritional assessment, and clinical nutrition research to build up a relevant database are needed. Methods: The objective of this study was to assess the effect of the nutritional composition of five commonly consumed traditional Emirati foods, Threed chicken, Marqoqa, Gurus, Assidah, and Saqo, on the glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL) values. Fifteen healthy subjects aged between 18 and 25 years old participated in this study. Results: The proximate analysis showed high amounts of protein in Gurus and Threed chicken and high-fiber content in Gurus. The carbohydrate percentages for the foods tested were as follows 54.4% in Gurus, 23.4% in Saqo, 21.1% in Assidah, 13.3% in Marqoqa, and 12.3% in Threed chicken. The corresponding GI values were high: 71.7, 99.4, 99.2, 84.6, and 71.9, respectively. The GL values of the foods tested were also considered high, varying from 35.85 to 49.7. The incremental increase in blood glucose was monitored and calculated for each food and when compared with the standard food (glucose) showed significant differences (P < 0.001) for all foods except Saqo and Assidah at 30 min, with similar responses at 45 min. At 120 min, no significant differences in blood glucose levels were observed (P > 0.05). The types of carbohydrate, different ingredients of foods, and cooking method used all contributed to the GI value. Conclusions: The GI value of traditional foods can be modified through altering the ingredients, cooking method, or the portion size served. This data will help to inform decisions on the diet and health of consumers in the UAE.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4
JournalBMC Nutrition
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 30 2015


  • Emirati foods
  • Glycemic index
  • Glycemic load
  • Traditional foods
  • United Arab Emirates (UAE)
  • University students

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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