What Is Glycemic Load

While the concept of glycemic index is pretty straight forward, it is not always easy to apply to how people eat. One issue with glycemic index is that the amount of food used to determine its glycemic index is not typically the amount of food consumed. A good example is boiled carrots which will have a glycemic index of about 90. Since one cup serving of carrots only has about 4 grams of available carbohydrate, rarely would a person eat enough carrots to achieve the level used to determine its glycemic index, which would be about 12 times that amount. That's why researchers developed a second glycemic measure more appropriate for the "real world", called glycemic load.

A food's glycemic load is derived by taking the glycemic index and then multiplying it by the amount of digestible carbohydrate and then dividing by one hundred. For instance, carrots have a glycemic index of 90, which multiplied by 4 (grams of digestible carbohydrate) and divided by 100 gives you a glycemic load of roughly 4. See Table 4.4 for a listing of glycemic loads of common foods relative to glycemic index.

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