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Nutrition: Know the Glycemic Load
Saturday, June 21, 2008
I have mentioned and even explained metabolic syndrome several times in this blog. And maybe by now, you must already have an idea of what this condition is all about. It is a common condition so that we all must be aware of its complications.

Metabolic syndrome is the end result from years of taking in foods high in refined carbohydrates such as breads, starches, and sweets. And all these result in high blood sugar levels which we all know is toxic to the body. This boils down to the fact that we need to control our blood sugar level and one way (there are lots of other ways) is to be more watchful of what we eat. How? We must know if the food we eat convert quickly to sugar. If it is, then this food has high glycemic index and needs to be avoided.

Glycemic index measures how rapidly glucose is absorbed from the intestines into the blood. The higher the value, the faster the rate of absorption of glucose. It is a fairly easy guide to follow, isn't it? All we have to do is to look for the glycemic index of the food before we eat them. And most diabetics use this guide to watch their sugar intake. But there is a more important parameter that can be used in place of glycemic index. It is best that we should also know the glycemic load of the food that we eat.

Glycemic load is the percentage of carbohydrate the food contains. Each unit of glycemic load is equivalent to the effect of 1 gram of pure glucose on blood sugar. This is important because there are some foods that have high glycemic index but have low glycemic load. Therefore, they are safe to eat as well if you are watching your blood sugar level. Let's take carrots for example which has a glycemic index of 92. A 100g serving has 5.2g of carbohydrate resulting in a very low glycemic load of only 4.3 (GL= (92 x 5.2)/100 = 4.3).

Knowing the glycemic load then gives us wider food choices. Most fruits and vegetables like apple, watermelon, orange, and cantaloupe, tomatoes, asparagus, broccoli, spinach, green beans and cabbage all have low glycemic load. Watermelon have high glycemic index but very low glycemic load (only 4 per serving).

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posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 11:35 AM   0 comments
About Me

Name: Amelyn R. Rafael,MD
Home: San Fabian, Pangasinan, Philippines
About Me: Family Physician, and Associate Professor (Clinical Anatomy and Medical Physiology)
See my complete profile
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