Thursday, April 17, 2014

Glycemic Load (GL)

In America, as in some other countries, the serving size provided in many restaurants is enormous. Yes, you pay for the increased size and you pay for it not just in money. You pay in calories. The Glycemic Load (GL) of a food is an estimate of how much of that specific food raises blood glucose based on serving size.  The charts I've noticed use either one cup or a single average-sized fruit or present the GI or GL in terms of half a cup or a single small-sized fruit. Dried fruits are something else, however. Dried fruit listings are more likely to be ¼ cup because of density. Remember, think about your meal as a whole. Some foods in that meal will have a higher GI and/or a higher Glycemic Load. What is the average for the meal? It is low, medium, or high? If you google Glycemic Index or Glycemic Load, you can often find a great deal of helpful information on the internet. Be sure to note serving size so you can compare using some type of standardization. Did the chart use one cup or half a cup as the standardized comparison. Avoid agonizing over a specific food. For example, I love medjool dates. Yes, they contain glucose but they’re also reputed to have five times more protein than most other fruit. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, one pitted date contains about 1.6 grams of fiber, which is 6% of the recommended daily intake. Because they are high in protein and fiber, dates can actually help curb hunger pangs.  Harvard Health Publications give dried dates, which are higher in sugar than fresh dates, a relatively low GI value of 42. When at home, I enjoy one or two medjools most days and usually have a couple of almonds at the same time to balance them out. And because my brain doesn’t feel deprived of something it loves, there is no push to overeat. Some of these tools can help you make healthy mindset decisions about what you put into your body. And Calories? More about that tomorrow.

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