While both the glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL) help to reduce ups and downs in your blood sugar, the GI is very misleading. The GI tells you how a certain food will affect your blood sugar levels—i.e. is it fast-releasing or slow-releasing? But that’s all the GI tells you—the quality of the food— not the quantity. In other words, it tells you how the particular carbohydrate found in the food will affect your blood sugar, but not how much of that food you’d have to eat in order to produce the blood sugar spike.
According to the GI chart, chocolate and carrots have GIs of 49 and 47, respectively. So, according to the GI plan, you should feel equally good about eating chocolate and carrots, right?
The truth is, you’d have to eat two large carrots to create the same blood sugar spike as two small pieces of chocolate. Similarly, apple juice has a GI of 41, while strawberries rank in at 40.
Compare this to GL, which looks at the type of carbohydrate (the GI), as well as the amount found in the food, and combines these factors to create a real number you can count on. In fact, GL is quickly being touted as the most accurate way of determining how a specific food will impact your blood sugar, your weight, and your health.
You can determine the GL of a food by multiplying its GI number by the number of carbohydrate grams it contains to arrive at the GL.
For example, apple juice contains 14 grams of carbohydrates in ½ cup, and has a GI of 41 percent. So you need to multiple .41 by 14 to get a GL of 5.7. Compare that to strawberries. With a GI of 40 and just 5 grams carbohydrates for ½ a cup, its GL is 2.
Luckily, you don’t have to carry a calculator, GI list, and carbohydrate list with you at all times—nutritiondata.com has done the brunt of the work for you.
Simply log on to www.nutritiondata.com, click on Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load under Nutrition Topics, then click on Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load of Values for Common Foods, and you are well on your way to a leaner, healthier, more energetic you!