Q I’ve been using Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw’s Glycemic Control products, and I want to make sure that I’m getting the most out of these items. My biggest question: when is the best time to take the barley flour when mixing it into a beverage? Should I drink it before, during, or after a meal?
JANET, Binghamton, NY

A When you drink a liquid on an empty stomach, it moves rapidly through your stomach and into your intestines, because your pyloric sphincter (the circular band of muscles between your stomach and your duodenum) is normally open just enough to allow liquids (but not solids) to pass through. When solid food is ingested, however, the pyloric sphincter closes completely until the food has been sufficiently digested to be released into the duodenum.

So if your goal is to mix the barley flour with your food, thereby lowering the glycemic index of your meal and making it into a time-release meal, you should first put some food in your stomach. Drink the Glycemic Control barley flour during your meal or within an hour or two afterward, not before you begin your meal.

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