Understanding Your Glycemic Load

Glycemic load is a fairly new way to understand the glycemic value of a food. Historically, individuals have focused on the glycemic index of a food, specifically of a carbohydrate. Recently, researchers have felt that the glycemic index is not an accurate representation of a food and developed the glycemic load as a better alternative.

The glycemic load incorporates the glycemic index of a food in addition to its overall amount of carbohydrates and sugar. For example, a watermelon has a relatively high glycemic index, but it does not have a large quantity of carbohydrates and sugars, therefore the glycemic impact of the fruit is relatively low.

What is the Glycemic Load Scale?

Foods that have a glycemic load of 10 or less are considered low. Foods with a glycemic load of 11 to 19 have a relatively medium glycemic load and foods with a glycemic load of 20 or greater have a high glycemic load. Almost all foods with a low glycemic load also have a low glycemic index. Foods that are listed on the medium or high ends of the glycemic load could have anywhere from a very low to a very high glycemic index.

Determining Glycemic Load

There is a simple formula that helps you determine the glycemic load of a particular food. To determine this number, you will need to know the glycemic index of the food. Simply divide the glycemic index by 100 and multiple this number by the number of net carbohydrates. Net carbohydrates are determined by taking the total cholesterol and subtracting dietary fiber from it.

How is Knowing Glycemic Load Helpful?

According to the Mayo Clinic, the glycemic load can help individuals with diabetes and other healthy conditions make smart food choices. The glycemic load is shown to help individuals lower their blood sugar levels, regulate blood sugar level, reduce the need for diabetic medication and control appetite.

Comparison of Glycemic Load to Glycemic Index

A cantaloupe has a glycemic index of 63, which is considered medium, while on the glycemic load index, a serving of cantaloupe only has a glycemic load of 4, which is considered low. A cup of raw carrots has a glycemic index of 47, which is low, yet on the glycemic load scale, a cup of raw carrots has a load of 3, which is very low. A Snickers bar has a glycemic index of 68, which is considered medium, while on the glycemic load, it is a 23, which is considered high.

In conclusion, the glycemic load is a tool that can help individuals measure how much a particular serving of food will raise their blood sugar level. The glycemic index only measures how fast a food will raise blood sugar levels. The glycemic load is a better way to control or balance blood sugar.


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