July 27, 2023

Glycemic load

The glycemic index (GI) measures the speed at which a food increases blood sugar levels, and a low GI indicates higher-quality carbohydrates. Opting for foods with lower GI values can lead to a more gradual rise in blood sugar levels.

While the GI of a specific food is useful for comparing different foods, it doesn't fully capture the actual blood sugar impact of a regular serving. To address this, the concept of glycemic load (GL) was introduced.

Glycemic load (GL) takes into consideration both the quality and quantity of carbohydrates in a food. It is crucial to consume moderate amounts of high-quality foods to effectively manage blood sugar, insulin levels, and weight.

GL serves as an additional tool for a more precise assessment of the impact of carbohydrates on blood sugar. Unlike GI, which only reveals how quickly a particular carbohydrate converts to sugar, GL indicates the actual amount of carbohydrate in a serving.

Serving sizes can vary based on cultural and dietary practices, and GL helps individuals account for both the quantity and quality of carbohydrates they consume.

To calculate GL, multiply the grams of available carbohydrates in the food by the food's GI and divide the result by 100. Foods with higher GL values, especially those rich in carbohydrates, tend to have a more significant impact on glycemic response. GL values are categorized as low (≤ 10), medium (11 to 19), or high (≥ 20) for standardized portions of carbohydrate-rich foods or products.

Examples of foods with a low glycemic load (GL of 10 or less) include:
~¼ cup peanuts (GL of 1)
~8 oz skim milk (GL of 4)
~2 cups watermelon (GL of 4.3)
Glycemic load

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