What is Glycemic Index ?
You will often be heard about Glycemic index (or GI). This is a number that measures how food will raise your blood sugar level. GI goes on a scale from 0, does not impact your blood sugar level to 100, GI of glucose.
The higher the GI, the more it will raise your blood sugar level. Complex carbohydrates have a lower GI which means they are released slowly and steadily in your body.
The chart below shows you what is happening in your body when you eat simple carbohydrates (high GI food).
- Your blood sugar level spike very quickly
- It provides high energy for a small period then crash quickly
- Your blood sugar level crash which trigger hunger, sweet cravings, and mood swing
On the opposite when you eat complex carbohydrates (low GI food):
- release a steady amount of energy
- make you feel energised and happy during a long time, no mood swings or cravings
What is Glycemic Load ?
GL is a ranking system for food rich in carbohydrates and it measures the amount of carbohydrates in a serving of food – compared to GI who is not based on standard serving sizes. If a food has a high GI it means it has readily available carbohydrate for quick absorption – simple sugar. However, the same food can have a low GL because there may not actually be much total carbohydrate in the given serving size of this food. That is why GL is the best indicator to know how carbohydrate food will affect blood sugar. Lower GL will lower the risk of blood sugar spike. When your blood sugar spike it release insulin to bring down your blood sugar and that is also at this time that you starts starving for food because your sugar level drop too quickly.
Glycemix Load Calculation
GL = (GI x carbohydrate)/100
Foods are usually split in three categories.
- GL<10 = low impact on your blood sugar
- 10<GL<20 = medium impact on blood sugar,
- GL> 20 = blood sugar spikes
The best example is when you look at the GI of watermelon. The GI of watermelon is 72 based on 5 cups of watermelon. However the GL of watermelon is low which means that watermelon does not contain much carbs because it is actually mostly water. The low GL means that watermelon will not have much impact on your blood sugar.
Glycemic index vs glycemic load what to choose ?
Glycemic index vs glycemic load what is the best to look at? Nutritionist and scientists believe that both are relevant indicator to help you control your blood sugar level. It is also more difficult to access GL data so following a low GI diet to control your blood sugar level might be easier. Keep in minds that either you consume high GL or high GI food your blood sugar levels spike, you have got a short term feeling of fullness and then blood sugars drop down which causes you to crave food again and push you to eat extra calories.
In other words, if you want to lose weight or stabilize your blood sugar level choosing food with a lower GI tends to be higher in fiber and nutrients which means they maintain a better energy level through the day. Low GL foods can also help people loss weight because it contains more fiber, release energy slower and you feel fuller for longer.