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# Glycemic index and glycemic load

15.06.2014
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## Interesting facts

### Introduction and definitions

The glycemic index (GI) is a list of products sorted by the level of glucose in blood after their consumption. It is calculated by dividing the level of glucose in blood (received after leading a food test with 50 grams of carbohydrates) by the level of glucose obtained after consumption of the product. For example, the glycemic index of 70 means that after eating 50 grams of the product, glucose levels will increase up to 70 percent, just as after eating 50 grams of pure glucose. The glycemic index of food can't be established on the basis of its composition or index that belong to its carbohydrates composition. In order to calculate it,  you have to indicate particular product to a particular person. The product is given to a group of people and then every 15 minutes during two hours, their blood is taken and tested for sugar level.

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It gives an average value of the GI. It was found that the average value is repeatable, and research in different groups of volunteers gives similar results. The results obtained in groups of people with diabetes are comparable with those obtained from healthy people. The higher GI of the product is, the higher the level of sugar in blood is after eating this product. Eating carbohydrate with high GI leads to a rapid increase of sugar level in blood that cause a large burst of insulin. Level of Sugar decreases fast and similarly to a pendulum which swang too far to the one side and it has to go the opposite - the level of sugar doesn't  decline to the starting point  but even lower, to the state called hypoglycemia which poorly tolerated by body. Apart from different unpleasant sensations - hunger is a sign of hypoglycemia.The desire to satisfy this need is a reason for  uncontrollable snacking. Products with high GI are conductive to grow fat in two ways: they cause hunger, which leads to more frequent eating and they act anabolic by causing large increase of insulin level. Insulin regulates level of sugar in blood but also activates the process of assimilation, storage, known as anabolism, which in practice leads to  put on  weight . Insulin activates neo lipogenesis processes - fat formation - mainly from carbohydrates that are supplied. Also in this form they are  storaged. Moreover insulin facilitates the deposition of fat circulating in the blood to fat cells. It is  so called anabolic hormone. High levels of insulin is conductive to putting on weight . This high level is associated with the consumption of some group of  carbohydrates, which  increase  the temporary level of glucose in the blood serum rapidly and significantly;  in other words, they have so called high glycemic index (higher than or equal to 70). However eating product  with low glycemic index causes slow and relatively small increase of sugar in blood and therefore  - a small burst of insulin. Such products aren't supporter of putting on weight . It's good to know that the processing of food products (heat treatment, time of heat treatment) increases their glycemic index.

The glycemic index is not the only factor that determines how much food can raise  level of sugar in blood. When we  eat similar portions of two products with the same GI then glucose concentration in blood  will grow less after  eating food that contains less carbohydrates.  It sometimes happens that a typical  size of one of  two products with similar GI is smaller and after its consumption sugar concentration in  blood is lower. That's why, according to the concept of glycemic index  they introduced idea of glycemic load (GL).

The glycemic load (GL) is a way to evaluate the carbohydrate content in  food. It is based on two variable values: the glycemic index (GI) and the size of standard portion . Glycemic load is a relatively new way to estimate the influence of carbohydrates, which  takes into  account the IG, but gives better view than single GI. GI value shown only  how fast specific carbohydrate will change into sugar. However It doesn't indicate how much of this  carbohydrate can be found  in a portion of a particular product. Therefore it's necessary to know both the IG and GL, in order to understand the influence of food on level of sugar  in blood.

### Interpreting glycemic index and glycemic load values

Glycemic index - range of values

Low GI = 55 or less
Average GI = 56-69
High GI=70 or more

Glycemic load (GL) - range of values

Low GI = 10 or less
Average GI = 11-19
High GI= 20 or more

Total daily value of glycemic load - range of values

Low GI =  80 or less
Average GI = 81-119
High GI= 120 or more

Products with high GL may almost always have a high GI, products with medium or low GL can have from low to high GI.

Example of interpretation:

Watermelon has  high GI (72 - established on the basis of eating a whole watermelon), whereas the average portion of watermelon weighs 120 grams and contains 4 grams of carbohydrates, so its GL is only 4, which is a low value. It means that watermelon has a high GI but low GL, so eating one portion  won't have significant effect on level of sugar in  blood  and other consequences. Supposing the same - 120 gram portion of bananas with  low GI (52)  contains 24 grams of carbohydrates. Its GL is 12, which is three times more than in watermelon, despite a lower GI. Such  GL average level will influence on results of on  level of sugar in blood.

### List of glycemic index and glycemic load for common foods

Food description Glycemic index (GI) Standard serve size [g] Carbo-hydrates per serve Amount of carbo-hydrates in 1 [g] (GL) in one portion (GL) in 1 [g] or 1 [ml]
Dairy products
0% fat yoghurt

27

200

24

0.12

7

0.03

Natural yoghurt

36

200

9

0.05

3

0.02

Ice cream

61

50

13

0.26

8

0.16

Milk 3% fat

27

250

12

0.05

3

0.01

Milk with wheat bran (20g)

27

250

12

0.05

3

0.01

Condensed sweetened milk

61

50

27

0.54

17

0.33

Soy milk 1.5% fat

44

250

17

0.07

8

0.03

Soy milk 3% fat

44

250

17

0.07

8

0.03

Soy milk 3% fat

36

250

18

0.07

6

0.03

Curdled milk

32

250

13

0.05

4

0.02

Drink from soy milk

32

250

23

0.09

7

0.03

Bakery products
Baguette

95

30

15

0.5

15

0.49

87

30

17

0.57

15

0.49

47

30

21

0.7

10

0.32

47

30

18

0.6

9

0.29

70

30

14

0.47

10

0.32

46

30

20

0.67

9

0.31

34

30

20

0.67

7

0.22

49

30

16

0.53

8

0.26

58

30

14

0.47

8

0.28

Pumpernickel

46

30

11

0.37

5

0.17

Cereals and breakfast products
Buckwheat

54

150

30

0.2

16

0.11

Barley grain

25

150

42

0.28

11

0.07

Semolina

55

150

11

0.07

6

0.04

Corn

69

150

13

0.09

9

0.06

Couscous

65

150

35

0.23

23

0.15

Oat bran

55

10

5

0.5

3

0.28

Basmati rice

58

150

38

0.25

22

0.15

Cooked white rice

64

150

36

0.24

23

0.16

Chocapic flakes

84

30

25

0.83

21

0.71

Cornflakes

81

30

26

0.87

21

0.69

Wheat grain

41

1

34

68

14

0.28

Cooked long grain rice

56

150

41

0.27

23

0.15

Puffed rice

87

30

26

0.87

22

0.75

Natural brown rice

55

150

33

0.22

18

0.12

Rye grain

34

1

38

76

13

0.26

Pasta
Macaroni

47

180

48

0.27

23

0.13

Rice noodles

40

180

39

0.22

15

0.09

Ravioli with meat

39

180

38

0.21

15

0.08

Spaghetti with white flour

42

180

47

0.26

20

0.11

Spaghetti with white flour,  cooked 10-15 min

44

180

48

0.27

21

0.12

Spaghetti with white flour cooked 20 min

61

180

44

0.24

27

0.15

Spaghetti with white flour, cooked 5 min

38

180

48

0.27

18

0.10

Spaghetti with wholesome flour (whole wheat)

37

180

42

0.23

16

0.09

Sweets, snacks, sugars
Mars bar

65

60

40

0.67

26

0.43

Twix bar

44

60

39

0.65

17

0.28

Meringues

67

50

29

0.58

19

0.39

Biscuits

54

53

28

0.53

15

0.29

Yeast buns

92

25

9

0.36

8

0.33

Potato chips

54

50

21

0.42

11

0.23

Corn crisps

63

50

26

0.52

17

0.33

Digestives biscuits

59

25

16

0.64

10

0.39

57

25

15

0.6

8

0.33

Rice cakes

78

25

21

0.84

17

0.68

White chocolate

44

50

29

0.58

13

0.26

Milk chocolate

43

50

28

0.56

12

0.24

Strawberry jam

51

30

20

0.67

10

0.34

Glucose

99

10

10

1

10

0.99

Fructose

19

10

10

1

2

0.19

Lactose

46

10

10

1

5

0.46

M & M's

33

30

17

0.57

6

0.19

Honey

55

25

18

0.72

10

0.39

Pancakes

85

79

40

0.51

31

0.39

Nutella

33

20

12

0.6

4

0.19

Peanuts

14

50

6

0.12

1

0.02

Pasties

59

57

26

0.46

15

0.27

Doughnuts

69

50

19

0.38

13

0.26

Tart

76

47

23

0.49

17

0.37

Popcorn

72

20

11

0.55

8

0.39

Pretzels

83

30

20

0.67

16

0.54

Croissant

42

111

58

0.52

24

0.22

Sucrose (sugar)

68

10

10

1

7

0.68

Skittles

70

50

45

0.9

32

0.63

Layer cake

87

50

29

0.58

25

0.50

Wafers

76

35

13

0.37

10

0.28

Rice wafers

64

25

16

0.64

11

0.42

Vanilla wafers

77

25

18

0.72

14

0.55

Juices, soft drinks
Coca cola

58

250

26

0.1

15

0.06

Fanta

68

250

34

0.14

23

0.09

Unsweetened pineapple juice

46

250

34

0.14

16

0.06

Grapefruit juice without sugar

48

250

20

0.08

9

0.04

Unsweetened apple juice

40

250

30

0.12

13

0.05

Orange juice

52

250

23

0.09

12

0.05

Tomato juice without sugar

38

250

9

0.04

4

0.01

Tomato juice without sugar

38

250

9

0.04

4

0.01

Fresh carrot juice

43

250

23

0.09

10

0.04

Fruits
Pineapples

59

120

13

0.11

7

0.06

Watermelons

72

120

6

0.05

4

0.04

Bananas

52

120

24

0.2

12

0.10

Dried dates

103

60

40

0.67

42

0.69

Strawberry jam

51

30

20

0.67

10

0.34

Grapefruit

25

120

11

0.09

3

0.02

Pears

38

120

11

0.09

4

0.03

Apples

38

120

15

0.13

6

0.05

Dried apples

29

60

34

0.57

10

0.17

Kiwi

53

120

12

0.1

6

0.05

Mango

51

120

17

0.14

8

0.07

Apricots

57

120

9

0.08

5

0.04

Dried apricots

31

60

28

0.47

9

0.15

Papaya

59

120

17

0.14

10

0.09

Oranges

42

120

11

0.09

5

0.04

Raisins

64

60

44

0.73

28

0.47

Sultanas

56

60

45

0.75

25

0.42

Plums

39

120

12

0.1

5

0.04

Prunes

29

60

33

0.55

10

0.16

Strawberries

40

120

3

0.03

1

0.01

Grapes

46

120

18

0.15

8

0.07

Sour cherries

22

120

12

0.1

3

0.02

Vegetables
Sweet potato

61

150

28

0.19

17

0.11

Red beets

64

80

7

0.09

5

0.06

Pumpkin

75

80

4

0.05

3

0.04

French fries

75

150

29

0.19

22

0.15

Boiled potatoes

50

150

28

0.19

14

0.09

Potato dumplings

52

150

45

0.3

24

0.16

Cooked carrots

47

80

6

0.08

3

0.03

Young potatoes

57

150

21

0.14

12

0.08

Peeled potatoes, steamed

65

150

27

0.18

18

0.12

Parsnip

97

80

12

0.15

12

0.15

Baked potatoes

85

150

30

0.2

26

0.17

Mashed potato powder

85

150

20

0.13

17

0.11

Turnip

72

150

10

0.07

7

0.05

Sweet corn

54

80

17

0.21

9

0.12

Fresh carrot

16

80

8

0.1

1

0.02

Tapioca steamed

70

250

18

0.07

12

0.05

Tapioca boiled with milk

81

250

18

0.07

14

0.06

Pulses
Chickpeas cooked

28

150

30

0.2

8

0.06

Black beans

64

250

27

0.11

17

0.07

Black beans, cooked 45 min

20

150

25

0.17

5

0.03

Beans "black eye" cooked

42

150

30

0.2

13

0.09

Beans cooked

29

150

30

0.2

9

0.06

Mung beans cooked

42

150

17

0.11

7

0.05

Mung beans sprouted

25

150

17

0.11

4

0.03

Mung beans soaked, boiled 20 min

31

150

17

0.11

5

0.04

Kidney beans cooked

28

150

25

0.17

7

0.05

Kidney beans canned

52

150

17

0.11

9

0.06

Pinto beans cooked

39

150

26

0.17

10

0.07

Pinto beans canned

45

150

22

0.15

10

0.07

Romano beans

46

150

18

0.12

8

0.06

Peas cooked

22

150

9

0.06

2

0.0

Red lentils cooked

26

150

18

0.12

5

0.03

Lentils canned

44

250

21

0.08

9

0.04

Green lentils cooked

30

150

17

0.11

5

0.03

Soybeans cooked

18

150

6

0.04

1

0.01

Soybeans canned

14

150

6

0.04

1

0.01

Green peas

48

80

7

0.09

3

0.04

Green peas canned

66

250

41

0.16

27

0.11

### Interesting facts

Glycemic index and glycemic load of food products consumed in their natural form is significantly lower than in food that is cooked or processed  in other ways. Wholemeal cereals and bread from wholemeal flour contain a lot of fiber, vitamins and elements that have the ability to reduce high  level of glucose in blood. If we want glycemic index and glycemic load to be not so high we have to take into account the following aspects:

- dietary fiber delays carbohydrate metabolism by partial  blocking the glucose access to blood .Moreover It may  increase receptors that are sensitive to insulin in muscle, so that glucose can enter the cell much easier. If  receptors are less sensitive, the pancreas increases secretion of insulin to balance the  supply of glucose  into muscle cells,
- form of a product - whether it is ground or  processed in other way ; if there are whole grains or fiber,
- degree of preparation or being cooked - which allows you to check the starch content,
- presence of fructose and lactose (both have  low glycemic index),
- time of food consumption, which influence on the glucose secretion  into blood - the faster you eat, the faster it works,
- products rich in fat with low glycemic index may be classified wrong, because fat and protein delays emptying the stomach , and therefore  the pace of digestion in the small intestine. As a result their glycemic index may be relatively lower than in products that contain less fat.

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