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Glycemic Index and the Glycemic Load

I was discussing about Glycemic Index (GI) the other day with a friend of mine. Though I knew about GI, I felt it necessary to read Todd Reinhard’s article based on this topic. His views have always mattered to me more. I read his article and was obliged to reprint it in the article section. Those interested can peruse the article TRAINING PERSPECTIVE: SOS—GI Wounded and Under Siege!! A very thought provoking article indeed.
I find it very unusual when I see that indifferent look in people when I tell them to eat or not eat certain foods. I know I am at fault, as I have assumed them to have some basic knowledge about different foods. I entirely agree with my mentor, Todd, when he says that going by the GI method has many flaws, but I disagree with him, as, perhaps, there is no safer alternative provided. Of course, there is the Glycemic Load (GL) which should be given more importance. Let us examine both these methods and look at the benefits, for we at least make some necessary changes the next time we pick up a food, for we have come to recognize the advantage/disadvantage of consuming these foods.
The purpose of knowing the GI then would to be to know the insulin response the particular food would deliver. Insulin is a natural hormone which controls the level of the glucose in the blood. Insulin allows cells to use glucose for energy. Insulin plays an important role in the health and wellbeing of a person. Excess insulin over a period of time can cause diabetes. Diabetes can lead to many other health maladies which can be fatal. Coming back to our discussion, let us define GI. GI describes the difference by ranking carbohydrates according to their effect on our blood glucose levels. A very precise definition is provided by Todd in his article. Importantly, my purpose of writing this blog entry to is to give a general view about the GI. Generally, foods that are ranked more than 70 in the GI is said to be high, and foods that are ranked below 50 in the GI is said to be low. Considering the above scenario, a more beneficial approach would be to consider the GL of the food. GL is a ranking system for carbohydrate content in food portions based on their GI and the portion size. For example, consuming 25 grams of rice would elicit a different insulin response when compared to consuming a higher portion of the same food. Moreover, as stated in the article by Todd, we not only consume carbohydrate in a given meal, but it is combination of fat, protein and many other nutrients. Fat, protein and fiber are very well known to reduce the GI of the food. The portion of the food then becomes important.
Now, as we know the importance of GI and the GL, we should know the carbohydrates which can be beneficial, as all carbohydrates are not made equal, for the way in which they influence the body is unique. Let’s see the possible benefits of consuming foods that have low GI before delving into the GI list. Low GI diets help lose and control weight, increases the body’s insulin sensitivity, stabilizes blood sugar helping in the control of Diabetes, reduces the risk of heart diseases, reduce blood cholesterol levels, and reduces hunger and keeps us fuller for longer periods.
Below is a list of various foods and their respective GI. But, be heedful in considering the complete picture, for just depending on the GI has its inherent defect.
glycemic index list
Beets 64
Carrot, raw 31
Carrot, cooked 47
Corn 55
Parsnip 97
Peas 52
Potato, baked 98
Potato, boiled 70
Pumpkin 75
Rutabaga 72
Sweet potato 61
Taro 55

Raw fruits glycemic index
Apples 39
Apricots 57
Bananas (ripe) 56
Cantaloupe 65
Cherries 22
Grapefruit 25
Grapes 46
Kiwi 54
Mango 55
Oranges 44
Orange juice 46
Papaya 58
Peach 43
Pear 38
Pineapple 64
Plum 39
Prune 33
Raisins 64
Strawberry 40
Watermelon 72

Legumes glycemic index
Beans 31
Black beans 30
Black-eyed peas 44
Garbanzos 33
Kidney beans 30
Lentils 29
Lima beans 35
Mung beans 38
Navy beans 38
Peas, dried 39
Pinto beans 39
Soy beans 18

Grains glycemic index list
Bagel 72
Barley 25
Bran Cereal 51
Bread, white 69
Bread, whole grain 72
Corn 52
Cornflakes 80
Croissant 67
Millet 71
Oat bran 50
Oatmeal 58
Pasta, linguine 45
Pasta spaghetti 41
Popcorn 55
Rice, white 70
Rice, brown 55
Rice, puffed 95
Shredded Wheat 69
Waffle 76
Wheat, bulgar 48
Wheat cereal 67

Miscellaneous list
Cookies, oatmeal 55
Cookies, shortbread 64
Cookies, vanilla 77
Corn chips 73
Ice cream 36
Macaroni & Cheese 64
Milk, whole 40
Milk, skim 32
Nuts (most are quite low)13
Sausages 28

Sugar glycemic index
Fructose 20
Honey 75
Table sugar 65
Glucose 100

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