Glycemic Index (GI) And Glycemic Load (GL)Dr. Nitin Gupte
Learning What GI And GL Are And How They Affect Blood Sugar
Most people have heard about the Glycemic Index (GI) And Glycemic Load (GL).
Let’s learn what they exactly are.
Glycemic Index is a numerical value assigned to a food as per how quickly or slowly it raises your blood sugar when compared with 100 gm pure glucose. The speed of 100 gm glucose is considered 100 and all other foods are given a numerical value of between 0 and 100, as per the speed at which they raise the blood sugar.
The thumb rule is, the more processed a food is, the higher its GI, and the more fiber or fat in a food, the lower it’s GI.
The lower the Glycemic Index of a food, the slower it raises your blood sugar and the higher the Glycemic Index of a food, the faster it raises your blood sugar.
So obviously, we should be looking to avoid high Glycemic Index foods if we are watching our blood sugar or watching our weight and health in general.
But does Glycemic Index tell us the whole story?
No, it doesn’t.
Glycemic Index of water melon is pretty high, between 75 to 80, but the amount of glucose in a serving of it is very low, so its Glycemic Load is very low, at 5. This means diabetic people can eat watermelon in spite of its high Glycemic Index, without worrying about their sugar climbing up much.
This is the reason why we need another kind of measurement system of a food’s impact on our blood sugar.
Glycemic Load fulfils that requirement.
Glycemic Load is the number that tells us how much a food is going to raise our blood sugar, not just how quickly, when we consume it. The amount of rise in our blood sugar is considered as one unit, when we consume 1 gm glucose.
So obviously the Glycemic Index and the Glycemic Load are two different measures of the effect of a food on our blood sugar.
Glycemic Load is calculated by multiplying the grams of available carbohydrate in the food by the food’s glycemic index, and then dividing by 100.
Thus the Glycemic Load not only takes into account both how quickly a food raises our blood sugar, but also how much glucose it delivers into our blood, per serving.
Glycemic Load can be calculated for any size serving of a food, an entire meal, or an entire day’s meals.
There are experts who advocate using one or both of the above numbers in choosing your food if you are a diabetic. Others believe that using these numbers is too complex.
The American Diabetes Association, on the other hand, says that the total amount of carbohydrate in a food, rather than its glycemic index or load, is a stronger predictor of what will happen to blood sugar.
But reaching and staying at a healthy weight is more important for our blood sugar and our overall health.
So instead of worrying too much about Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load, learn to eat healthy, balanced food in moderation, focusing on food that includes whole grain cereals and pulses in moderation and vegetables and fruits and avoiding simple and processed carbohydrates and excess fat and lose weight by walking or taking up any more vigorous cardiovascular exercise if you are fitter.
The slimmer and fitter that you are, the better will be your sugar control.
Read the articles ‘Basics Of Nutrition’, ‘Preventing Diabetes’ and ‘The Good And The Bad Carbohydrates’ on this website.
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