Currently, diabetes is one of the most common and most severe ailments in the entire world, and currently the number of people suffering with diabetes is growing on a near daily basis. What is perhaps most frustrating about this, is that in most cases I.E type-2 diabetes, the condition itself could quite easily be avoided by simply making some healthy changes to our diets. The foods and drinks that we consume can influence our health in a variety of ways, which is where Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load will both come into the equation. Despite sounding similar, the two are very different, and knowing the differences between the two is absolutely essential. Here’s a look at the main differences between the two.


What is a Glycemic Load?

Put simply, the glycemic load of a food or drink is a measurement designed to identify the overall amounts of carbohydrates found in each individual item. The load basically gives you a ranking so that you can categorize each item and identify whether it is high in carbs, medium, or low. Items with a glycemic load of less than 10 are low glycemic load items and are deemed as having very little effect and impact on our blood sugar levels. Items between 10 and 20 are deemed as moderate, whereas items that are 20 or higher are deemed as high, and are therefore known to be the most significant in regards to spikes in blood sugar levels.


What is a Glycemic Index

The glycemic index of a food or drink however, is very different to the glycemic load. You see, the glycemic index is designed to provide an indication for exactly how rapidly carbohydrates will be digested by the body, before releasing glucose sugar into the bloodstream. In basic terms, the glycemic index will determine how quickly foods will be digested before being broken down and converted into blood glucose. Foods and beverages with a high glycemic index will increase blood glucose levels much more than foods with low/moderate glycemic indexes.


Why is it important to know the difference between the two?

Basically, a glycemic index will not be able to determine how much of each food or drink item was made up of carbohydrates, so in terms of how carbohydrate-rich foods and drinks will affect blood sugar levels, generally the glycemic load is much more reliable. Basically, it will determine the overall quality of the carbohydrates, as well as the quantities as well, I.E it will determine the difference between complex carbohydrates and simple carbohydrates. Here’s a quick look at how to determine the glycemic load of a certain food item.


Here's how to work it out:

Glycemic index = 80

Grams per serving = 32

Glycemic Load = (80 x 32) / 100 = 25.6

Ideally, your diet should consist primarily of low/moderate GL foods, whereas high GL foods should be kept to a minimum I.E once per week as a cheat meal etc.

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