My mom had been diagnosed as diabetic a while ago and she is the only one having this disease in our family, I started my research on the internet to find the right diet plan for her, then I discovered the difference between Glycemic Index (GI) & Glycemic Load (GL) is confused me a lot.
Many people think the Glycemic Index (GI) and Glycemic Load (GL) are one in the same, but the food ratings on each list are actually very different. Looking at a GI food list would lead you to eat M&M candies and avoid foods such as carrots, while a GL food list would have you eat the carrots and skip the chocolate candies. It’s important for people with type 1 or types 2 diabetes, to understand the difference between GI and GL, and how they actually go hand in hand.
Glycemic Index Calculation:
Glycemic Index ranks carbohydrate foods on a scale from 0 to 100 in relation to how they affect your blood sugar levels. The lower the number the smaller the fluctuations are in your blood sugar and insulin levels. Foods with a GI of 70 or higher are considered “high” foods, foods with a GI of 55 to 70 are “moderate,” and foods with a GI 55 or below are considered “low.”
Facts About Glycemic Index:
Glycemic Index does not take food serving size or proportion into consideration. When foods are measured, or indexed, scientists take the index from the amount of food that would have 50 grams of carbohydrate. This is where foods such as carrots and watermelon come in. Carrots are considered a “high” food, yet an individual would have to eat a whopping pound and a half of them to match the amount of food that puts carrots in the “high” category.
GI is also very sensitive and easy to manipulate. Little things such as the ripeness of your produce, the doneness of your pasta, or what foods you combine, affect the GI of a food.
Glycemic Load Calculation:
Glycemic Load is the amount of carbohydrate in a food multiplied by that food’s GI, with the serving size taken into account. The GL for a single serving of a food can be calculated:
as the quantity (in grams) of its carbohydrate content multiplied by its GI and that total divided by 100Take a 100g slice of watermelon for example. It would have a GI of 72 and a carbohydrate content of 5g, which makes the calculation… 72 x 5 divided by 100 = 3.6. So the GL is 3.6.
As with the Glycemic Load, the lower the Glycemic Load, the lower the spike in your blood sugar levels. Aim to eat mostly low-GL foods, which have a value of 10 or less. Foods considered moderate-GL have a value range of 11 to 19. Any food with a value of 20 or higher is considered a high-GL food, which can cause large spikes in your blood sugar and insulin levels.
While both watermelon and carrots are considered “high” on the GI index, they are considered low on the GL index. Common sense tells you that produce is good for you based on its nutritional value but looking at the GI and GL, it can be hard to tell. It is important for you to understand the serving size was not a factor in calculating the GI.
Remember that not all carbohydrate foods are created equal, and each food can have a different reaction in your body. It is a great benefit to your health that you regulate your blood sugar levels by eating foods with a low GI and GL index and to understand how the indexes were calculated.
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