Glycemic index and glycemic load, what are they and what do they serve?

When you want to talk about the amount of carbohydrate containing food is often used the concept of glycemic index, rather it refers to how that food affects our blood sugar when you take. But it is not a very exact term to say, although it can be practical with the naked eye.

Another concept that is generally known less but that’s more accurate is the glycemic load, which relates how it affects us the amount of sugar that has a food ration but edible. It makes more sense since it is not the same the hydrates that are in 100 grams of food and how it affects us that the one in a ration that we usually eat.

Glycemic index and glycemic load, what are they and what do they serveWhat is the glycemic index and what are its limitations?

The glycemic index (GI) measures how a food affects our blood sugar. That is, the ability of a food to raise the amount of sugar in blood after being ingested. The limitation of the glycemic index is that these calculations are made with such a quantity of food containing 50 grams of hydrates, in order to compare it with the intake of 50 grams of pure glucose.

In the tables of glycemic index, the maximum varlor 100 corresponds to that of glucose . These 50 grams of pure glucose provide a maximum change in glycemia and, therefore, in the insulin response. If a food approaches 100 in the glycemic index tables, we estimate that it will modify the glycemia in a similar way to what glucose does and vice versa.

  • Foods high IG : 100 to 70.
  • Medium GI foods : between 69 and 56.
  • Low GI foods : 55 or less.

Take a practical example: an apple has a glycemic index of 35. But actually an apple has only 17 grams of carbohydrates, so its glycemic index to calculate about three blocks (51 grams of carbohydrates) were used. We normally do not eat three apples at a time, so the impact of the apple on our blood sugar will not be exactly what your glycemic index tells us.

In addition, the absorption of carbohydrates a food depends on several factors. Normally we eat several foods at the same time and this affects the absorption of hydrates, unlike how the glycemic index calculations are done, where only that food is eaten. Even the GI of a food can vary from one person to another.

What is the glycemic load and what is it for?

It is another measure that relates the hydrates of a food and its impact on blood glucose. Unlike the glycemic index, glycemic load does take into account the size of the ration we will eat that food, so we can say it is a little more real when you know how it will affect measure our blood sugar Eat that food

The glycemic load of a food is calculated by dividing its glycemic index between 100 and multiplying by the number of grams of carbohydrate having a ration. In this way the size of the ration to be taken is taken into account, something that is noticed when comparing the GI of a food and its glycemic load, look at the following table:

But this measure is not the panacea, as it only serves if we want to know how a single food affects our blood glucose. As with the glycemic index, when we eat various foods usually mix, bringing the concept of glycemic load is blurred and can not apply to one hundred percent.

  • Foods with high glycemic load : more than 20.
  • Food average glycemic load : between 11 and 20.
  • Food with low glycemic load : 10 or less.

What must be considered ?

Data index and glycemic load are going to be useful if we want to know how it will affect a single food to our blood sugar after eating. For diabetics, for example, if they have a drop in sugar it will be useful to know what food will raise your blood sugar more quickly.

Or if we do sport, we will be interested in foods high glycemic load at the end of training to recover and replenish glycogen stores. Or low-glycemic foods before training or competing to not have blood sugar spikes.

If we want to know exactly how it would affect our blood sugar or a dish set menu, the only way to know would be making measurements with a meter before and after eating . This is handled very well by diabetics, who based on measurements can intuit and know how they will affect a food or food.

What foods prevent high blood sugar?

If our diet is based on foods low index and glycemic load, obviously there will be many peaks of glucose, which is beneficial to health. And, what are those foods? Fruits, vegetables and protein foods help keep blood sugar does not rise sharply after a meal.

Also, nuts such as walnuts, almonds, pistachios or peanuts, to consume foods with high glycemic index cause blood sugar does not rise much. This, among other reasons, makes recommending in each main meal the intake of fruit, vegetables, vegetables and a protein source, in addition to regularly introducing nuts in the diet.

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