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Ghana Post Digital Address: GA-018-1233

Inaugural Leture 2023 – Blood Sugar

Blood Sugar6

About the Speaker

Profile: Prof. Mrs. Sarah Darkwa, FGA

Professor of Food Science in the Vocational and Technical Education Department (VOTEC), University of Cape Coast (UCC)

Prof. (Mrs.) Sarah Darkwa (nee Opai-Tetteh), a Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences, is a Professor of Food Science in the Vocational and Technical Education Department (VOTEC), University of Cape Coast (UCC). She is currently the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, 2020 – date. Prior to this position, she served as the Head of VOTEC Department from 2019 – 2020 and 2010 – 2013, Vice Dean, Faculty of Science and Technology Education (FSTE) from 2019 – 2020 and 2016 – 2018. In March 2018, she was appointed as the Chairperson for the 3-member Interim Committee that led and managed the administrative activities of the Cape Coast Technical University.  

She holds a PhD in Environmental Science with specialization in Environmental Systems, Risk Management and Food Environment from the State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, New York, USA. She also holds an MPhil in Food Science from the University of Ghana, Legon.

A Fulbright Scholar and Australian Leadership Award Fellow, She is also the current Vice President of the Ghana Association for Food Scientists and Technologists, a Delta Gamma World Fellow, 2004 – 2006, SUNNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry Award of Excellence 2009, and SUNNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry Green Ink Award 2007 – 2008. She is a member of the Ghana Science Association, the National Scholars Honors Society of America, Society for Conservation Biology, and the American Chemical Society.

She has over 24 years of teaching, research and consultancy experience in the areas of Food Science, Nutrition, Environmental Science and Education. Prior to that she worked as a Food Microbiologist at Fruits & Flavour Company in Asebu, an affiliate company of Schweppes International and D & C Company Limited. She taught at her Alma mater, Wesley Girls High School after completing her first degree at UCC. Her research focuses on Food and Nutrition, Education and Environmental Science. She has supervised over Eighty (80) MPhil theses, and Six (6) PhD theses and published widely in national and international peer-reviewed journals. She has authored several publications in local, national and international journals based on her areas of interest and specialization. She has won a grant from the Digigrad Erasmus Project 2022 -2025 in collaboration with colleagues from other universities and participated in HORIZON-CL6-2022-FARM2FORK-01-13Nutri-Trans-Africa. She had earlier enjoyed grants from the Great Lakes Research Consortium 2008 – 2007, MELDI – Michigan 2007, Ghana Environmental Protection Agency 2003 and DANIDA grants for research in African fermented foods 1997 – 1999 for various research projects

She has been a chief examiner for Food and Nutrition in the Colleges of Education since 2010 and an external examiner at the University of Education, Winneba from 2010 – 2012 and 2020 – date. She has served and continue to serve on a number of University-wide committees and boards in and outside UCC. A few to mention are the Executive Committee of Academic Board 2020- date, UCC Institutional Review Board 2020 – date, International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) Steering Committee, UCC 2018 – 2020, College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences Board 2017 – date, UCC Medical School Board 2010 – 2013, Academic Board 2010 – 2013; 2017 – date, Academic Planning and Management Board 2015 -2017; 2019 – 2020, School of Graduate Studies Board 2015 – 2017; 2019 – date, OAK City International College Board 2018 – 2019, Chairperson, Centre for Teacher Professional Development Practice Committee 2017 – 2019 and UCC Estate Committee 2017- date. 


Synopsis of Lecture

In the recent past, the social discourse on the consumption of all carbohydrates and starchy foods was focused mainly on high blood glucose. Today, scientific discourse shows that different carbohydrate foods add different levels of glucose to the blood (Glycemic index). What should be the social discourse now? What are the glycemic indexes of our local staple foods? Where does social discourse meet scientific discourse today in this respect? With a sharp continuous rise in Type 2 pre-diabetes and diabetes cases in Ghana, it is time for nutritionists, dietitians, food scientists, and other allied health professionals to join hands with medical practitioners in stepping up the discourse on healthy diets that could help address this menace. This discourse has become more important in this post-COVID-19 era where the global economy has declined and we must confront the reality of producing what we eat. Are Ghanaians better off eating their local cereals, roots, tubers, vegetables, and fruits rather than the “exotic foods” that have plagued most Ghanaian homes? The amount of glucose released into the blood when most “exotic foods” are eaten is well documented; yet, that of our local indigenous foods is just beginning to be researched. This lecture will provide comprehensive findings on these foods so as to help consumers make more healthy choices of what they consume.

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