What’s all the Hype about Glycemic Index?

What is Glycemic Index (GI)?

Glycemic Index is a number assigned to every food item. It tells you how fast your body converts the carbohydrates in that food item into glucose. Two foods with the same amount of carbohydrates can have different GI numbers.

The smaller the number, the less impact the food has on your blood sugar rise.

  • 55 or less = Low (good)
  • 56–69 = Medium
  • 70 or higher = High (bad)

Let’s first understand the ranges of Glycemic Index in detail –

  • Low GI food —  Low GI food ranges below 55 and contains the quality of carbohydrates that gets converted to glucose slowly and gets absorbed in blood slowly. That means blood sugar will not spike all of a sudden.
  • Moderate GI food —  Moderate GI food falls in range of 55–70 and contains carbohydrates that gets converted to glucose and gets absorbed in blood moderately, that means neither too fast and nor too slow.
  • High GI food —  High GI food are above 90 and contains carbohydrates that quickly gets converted and absorbed in the blood. That means blood sugar will spike all of sudden!

To reverse your diabetes, trim your waistline and manage other lifestyle disorders, you need to be very selective with what you choose to eat. This totally depends upon the range of GI in your food. But it’s important to understand that this GI is based on 100gms of food, so a more accurate estimate is “Glycemic Load” (GL) which directly relates to the actual serving size of your food. Let’s understand how.

What is Glycemic Load (GL)?

Glycemic load (GL) = (Glycemic Index (GI) X Grams of Carbohydrate in 1 serving of that food) / 100

So basically, GL accounts for how much the carbohydrate present in “1 serving” of the food raises blood glucose levels.

Low GL food — Ranges between 1–10

Moderate GL food — Ranges between 11–19

High GL food — Ranges above 20

Don’t get confused, let me explain this with the help of an example –

Knowing the concept of Glycemic Index & Glycemic Load will make it easy for you to choose healthy options.

The GI of carrot is 71, i.e. high GI and means that carbohydrates in carrot will get instantly converted into sugar. However, this GI is based on a serving size of 100 gm of food. Now, the GL of carrot is only 4 (low, because the actual serving size of carrots will be much lower than 100 gm and the amount of carbohydrates in this serving is also low). Therefore, if you are having food with high Glycemic Index but with low Glycemic Load then don’t panic, your sugar is not going to shoot up!

GI and GL of common food products

Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load of different food products.

Choose wisely, and share the goodness of knowledge with your friends and family 🙂

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