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Nutrition: Glycemic Load vs. Glycemic Index

Posted on June 3rd, 2004 filed in Nutrition    |   

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The glycemic index (GI) measures how much blood sugar level rises following the ingestion of 50 grams of sugar coming from a particular food. The higher the number, the greater the blood sugar response will be and thus the insulin release. So a low GI food will cause a small rise, while a high GI food will trigger a dramatic spike. A glycemic index of 70 or more is high, 56 to 69 is medium, and a GI of 55 or less is low.

Glycemic Load (GL) addresses the matter a bit further by taking into account the amount of carbs are in a food serving. This is far more valuable and worth addressing than the glycemic index. For example, carrots have a high glycemic index and based on that GI, they may be considered ‘bad food’. However, 50 grams of sugar coming from carrots require the ingestion of 2 lbs of carrots in one meal. Carrots have a low glycemic food and for all practical purposes are excellent highly recommended foods.

A GL of 20 or more is high, a GL of 11 to 19 is medium, and a GL of 10 or less is low.

GL is GI *(carbs in food serving) / 100

As expected the foods with high GL and GI, are those filled with added sugar, processed flour, and those of low nutritional value. Not surprisingly, these wreak havoc on your body on top of making one gain weight. Examples include various bakery items (cakes, pastries, white bread, cookies, brownies, chocolate bars, most cereals (exception:Fiber one), sugary beverages, refined products, pasta, rice and potatoes.

The best (low GL) fruits are:

Strawberries 1
Cherries 3
Oranges 3
Plum 3
Pear 4
Peach 4
Cantaloupe 4
Watermelon 4
Apricots 5
Apple 6
Pineapple 6
Mango 8

All of these are great foods to have.

Most vegetables have low glycemic load.

As for legumes, the best are:

Chickpeas 3
Lentils 4

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