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Posts Tagged ‘glycemic load’

Our friend Deming emailed with a link to an interview on CBS’s This Morning programme with Dr. David Ludwig from Boston’s Children’s Hospital where he discusses a new study on the effects of a low glycemic diet.

To quote from the CBS website:

The study, published on June 27 in The Journal of the American Medical Association, says that low-glycemic diets that compliment a person’s changing metabolism are the best at helping keep the pounds off.

It’s better to view the video before reading the text. Dr Ludvig is clear and concise.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-57461950-10391704/low-glycemic-index-diet-may-be-best-at-keeping-off-pounds/

The Glycemic Index a measure, on the scale of 1 to 100, ranking carbohydrates according to their effect on our blood glucose levels and thus their post-meal impact.

The Glycemic Load–a measure of the impact of the glucose in a single portion of food.


Speaking for myself, the GI and the GL have been good friends as guides to everyday eating. Though I now take a pill a day, I credit them ( and regular exercise) with allowing me to control the condition for six years without medication. 

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In 1981  (30 years ago) The AJCN

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

published a paper by Canadian Dr.  David Jenkins  (University of Toronto), which was to have a profound effect on the ability of people living with diabetes to make better choices of what they eat on day to day basis.

It established the Glycemic Index a measure, on the scale of 1 to 100, ranking carbohydrates according to their effect on our blood glucose levels and thus their post-meal impact on a malfunctioning system.

It was followed by the Glycemic Load which is a measure of the impact of the glucose in a single portion of food.

Dr Jenkins is interviewed in the latest newsletter of GI news.

Dr Alan Barclay charts in the same news letter the progress made in studies of GI and GL since 1981 .

GI started a world-wide glucose revolution, he states, as it clearly showed that carbs didn’t affect our blood glucose levels the way we thought they did–freeing people with diabetes from overly restrictive diets.

Despite controversial beginnings, the GI is now widely recognized as a reliable, physiologically based classification of foods according to their postprandial glycemic effect.

I have found the GI and the GL essential guides to everyday eating. Though I now take a pill a day, I credit them with allowing me to control the condition for six years without medication. 

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Glycemic Load–What is it? 

The Glycemic Index measures how carbohydrate rich foods affect blood sugar levels in the body.

It is an important tool for diabetics, whose ability to process glucose (sugar) is impaired.

The Glycemic Load (or density of carbohydrate )is a useful extension of the Glycemic Index.

The Glycemic Foundation explains:

The glycemic load (GL) of a specific food portion is an expression of how much impact (“oomph”)  the food will have in affecting blood glucose levels.

Here’s an example:

The G.I.of watermelon is high (G.I. = 72), but its glycemic load, the oomph factor, is relatively low  (G.L. = 7), because the quantity of carbohydrate in a serving of watermelon (150 g or a 5 mm thick slice) is minimal since it’s mainly water.

The G.I. of a potato is also high (GI=80), but unlike the watery melon, it has a high density of carbohydrates, a high Glycemic Load, so even a small portion will have a high impact  or  “oomph”.


The more carbohydrate density that there is in a food, the higher its G.L. or oomph factor.

The Glycemic Load of a food is the glycemic index of a portion or serving of that food.

The G.I. per serving of the watermelon is much lower than the potato.

Phew–it’s enough to give you indigestion!







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