Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Glycemic Index vs Load? What is Low Glycemic?

The glycemic index (GI) is a ranking of carbohydrates foods (on a scale from 0 to 100) based on their effect on blood glucose levels after ingestion; low-GI foods are foods with a lesser glycemic effect meaning that they don’t raise blood sugar levels as high following consumption; high-GI foods are those with a greater glycemic effect (1). Foods with a high GI are those whose sugar is rapidly digested and absorbed resulting in marked fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Because low-GI foods produce more gradual rises in blood sugar and insulin levels they are perceived to be healthier for routine consumption. (2,3)

One issue that arose with the GI originally was that it did not account for proper portions. As a result, researchers refined the GI to develop the Glycemic Load which is a ranking system for carbohydrate content in food portions based on their glycemic index. A food's glycemic load is determined by multiplying its glycemic index by the amount of carbohydrate it contains. Glycemic load combines both the quality and quantity of carbohydrate in one ‘number’. It’s the best way to predict blood glucose values of different types and amounts of food.

There are several factors that affect how quickly sugar will enter the bloodstream:

1) the food form
2) the presence and quantity of fiber
3) the presence of added sugar or sweetener, and
4) the presence of fat.

In the case of organic fruit juice, the presence of fiber and healthy fat, as is in the acai berry, will help to reduce the glycemic index of the juice compared to a fruit that doesn’t contain either of these, such as most apple or orange juices.

Written by Ashley Koff RD,

Learn why Sambazon's Original Juice is low glycemic here.

1. DeBruyne, L. K., Pinna, K., Whitney, E. (2008). Nutrition and Diet Therapy: Principles and Practice (7th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.
2. Brown, Judith E. Nutrition Through the Life Cycle. Third Edition. New York: Thomson 2008.

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