The Glycemic Index vs. Glycemic Load: Explained


Glycemic Index vs. Glycemic Load [Part 2]

In our last post we learned a harmless bowl of Cornflakes rates 83 on the glycemic index (GI) scale. The easily digestible carbohydrates quickly turn to glucose after ingestion, causing your blood sugar to spike and plummet.

Knowing this, most of us would scan a list of high GI foods, and cut those sugar-crash villains out of our diet…

But not so fast.

You’ll be surprised to find carrots, pineapple, and watermelon have shockingly high GI scores. A 50 gram serving of carrots has a GI of 74 (you should aim for rates of 55 and below).

Whoa, that’s high, right?

But the GI score can be particularly misleading for some fruits and vegetables. Misinterpretations have lead to the infamous carrot shaming.

So before you go cleaning out your veggie drawer, consider the glycemic load.

glycemic index vs glycemic load factor 75

The GI only measures how quickly the glucose enters your bloodstream, not how much sugar the food actually contains. In addition, it’s always calculated using the same quantity of food.

Although carrots have a GI rate of 74, when do you consume 50 grams in one sitting? That’s equivalent to four cups of carrots!

Instead, the glycemic load (GL) considers portion size, quantity of carbohydrates, and the accompanying fats and fiber. Calculated on a scale of zero to 60; scores 10 and below are considered low GL foods.

Carrot’s GL score? Two.


Yep, once you consider serving size and fiber, carrots’ glucose content becomes innocuous.

Health columnist Laina Shulman explains, “Although the sugar in the carrots is absorbed into the bloodstream quickly [GI of 74], there is not a lot of sugar to begin with [GL of 2]. As you can imagine, the same amount of dense white pasta would have both a high glycemic index [78] and a high glycemic load [32].”

Instead of depriving yourself of summer cantaloupe and watermelon, take a quick sec to compare both the GI and GL scores. Although you might want to nix the Frosted Flakes, if you keep your carrot consumption under five pounds a day, your glycemic levels will be right on track.

Also fun: Sugar Stacks compares carrots to candy bars.
Sources: Infographiccarrots

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