Sunday, October 18, 2009

What is Your Daily Glycemic Load?

I've written before here about the glycemic index, that measure of how fast a food causes your blood sugar to rise. High glycemic foods, like simple sugars, cause our blood sugars to rise quickly resulting in a pouring out of insulin, a rapid fall in our blood sugar, and we become hungry again soon. Protein in our diet blunts this glycemic index effect, as does eating more complex carbohydrates such as in vegetables.

An new concept has emerged that complements the glycemic index, called the glycemic load. The glycemic load reflects how much total carbohydrate is released in your body from various foods. While carbohydrates, sugars and starches, are a core part of our nutrition, we know that eating a lot of them results in more hunger and we end up eating more calories and gaining weight. Low carbohydrate diet plans have shown some advantage over low fat diet plans for losing weight, although both work if the total calories eaten are reduced.

Dr. Mabel Blades has written a simple book that can be used as a guide to the glycemic load of common foods. I have used it to reduce my glycemic load, for example how much Cheerios I put into my morning cereal. I have increased the ratio of protein from yogurt to the amount of grains, keeping enough grains to give me the desired amount of fiber. I have also cut down on how much bread I eat, one of the first dietary interventions of low carbohydrate diet plans like the South Beach Diet. If you would like to order this simple handbook, you can find it from any online book source:

The Glycemic Load Counter. Mabel Blades. Ulysses Press, Berkeley, CA 2008. My doctor actually gave me a copy as part of my physical exam and health assessment. I'm five pounds lighter after just a couple of weeks.

1 comment:

Anne said...

I don't need a book on glycemic load. I use a glucometer to tell me what foods spike my blood sugar to dangerous levels. I found this helpful website

I was not diagnosed with diabetes. My doctors reassured me that because my fasting blood sugar was "normal" I could ignore my after meal and GTT blood sugars of 180-200.

Armed with my trusty glucometer I started eliminating foods that caused my blood sugar to rise too high. Good bye to grains, sugar and high carb veges. Now I can keep my blood sugar below 120 all the time with diet.

Eliminating gluten from my life greatly improved my peripheral neuropathy symptoms. Now that I am keeping my blood sugar low with a low carb diet, I am beginning to feel temperature in my feet again.