Some experts feel that the glycemic load is just as important or more important than the glycemic index. It's the reason that the South Beach diet allows carrots now after originally banning them. Lentils have a low glycemic index while carrots have a high one but the exact opposite is true in relationship to glycemic load.
Glycemic Index Versus Glycemic Load
The glycemic index tells you how quickly a carbohydrate-containing food turns into sugar, but it doesn’t tell you how much carbohydrate is in a serving of a food. To assess the full impact of a food on blood sugar levels you should have an idea of both. This is where glycemic load comes in.
Glycemic load is a relatively new term that considers both the glycemic index and the amount of carbohydrate in a food. The carbohydrate in carrots, for example, has a high GI. But carrots are pretty low in carbohydrate compared to other foods like potatoes, bread, and sweets, so carrots glycemic load is relatively low. The bottom line is that if a food has a high GI but very little carbohydrate, it will not have much impact on blood sugar and insulin levels. On the other hand, if a food has both a high GI and a high carbohydrate content, it should be limited. The following table illustrates this principle.
Food Glycemic Index Carbohydrates (g) Glycemic Load
1 medium carrot 71 8 6
1 cup watermelon 72 11 8
1 cup mashed potatoes 83 31 26
1 cup brown rice 55 44 24
1 cup pasta 41 39 16
1 cup lentils 29 39 11
12-ounce soda 68 37 25
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