Glycemic Index vs Glycemic Load

The Glycemic Index is a list of foods – they are put in order by the glucose in them on a scale of 0 (being none) to 100.  On some scales 100 is sugar – other scales 100 is white bread.  For most ‘low glycemic index’ food plans, the goal is to stay with foods that are 50-55 or less on the glycemic index.

With my tendency toward and family history of diabetes, I have been aware and mildly following the glycemic index from time to time for years.  I am attaching the list that I made years ago and have had hanging on my fridge.  I typed it into word from a book (that’s how long ago it was that I got it).

Glycemic Index half sheet

It hasn’t caught on much in the US yet—but recently I found that products in Australia now have their glycemic index # on them—so I would expect it to become more popular in the US over the coming months/years.

Glycemic Load is what is talked about most often in THM—it is how the food(s) that you eat affect your blood sugar—and this can change not just by what foods something is eaten with but also the time of day, your stress level, other foods you’ve eaten that day (timing is key here—one reason why THM suggests at least 2 ½-3 hrs between food), and how much of the particular item.

This is something that I know has changed for me as I’ve been on plan for over a year and a half now—I am much more aware now of how my blood sugar is affected by what I eat.  I used to get shaky or ‘hangry’ if I hadn’t eaten in a while – and honestly, most of my meals were more carb based and sometimes didn’t have even a little bit of protein in them.  Now I make sure that all meals/snacks have protein in them—even when I’m off plan – I make sure that I am eating protein and that helps me, it seems, to reduce the impact that foods have on my blood sugar.  I don’t get shaky anymore—it’s GREAT!

One thing that I know some folks do is they test their blood sugar after trying new foods to know how different foods affect them. If you decide to do this–I found it best to look at the cost of the test strips rather than the cost of the machine–most machines will be not too expensive but the test strips can be pretty pricey.

I remember reading that there were some who could eat oatmeal in the morning but that it affected them if they had it later.  I haven’t noticed this yet with me and any foods—but it is definitely something that I am going to be more aware of the closer I get to goal–test the affects of different foods that are ‘crossovers’ to see which ones my body is OK for me to add and which I should continue to not choose as often.

I think too that as my metabolism is more healthy than it used to be that an occasional off plan treat/choice will have less of an impact on my blood sugar (making sure I have protein with it)—similar to how it is for ‘skinny people’.

Good sources for more info:

Glycemic Index – U of Sydney

Am Diabetic Assn – Glycemic Index and Diabetes

Glycemic Index and Load

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