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Old 08-26-2009, 07:34 PM   #1
Clark Hays
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Question Confusion with glycemic load

I'm a little confused with the concept of glycemic load. I've been reading The Zone and from what I understand a banana has a fairly low glycemic index but a high glycemic load, I guess because of the amount of carbs per serving size.

I was pretty happy this week in finding what I thought was a good zone portioned snack in the Clif Builder Bar, which has 20g of protein, 30g of carbs, and 8g of fat, and is also 33% organic. The company states it has a glycemic index in the low 30's which is good, but the serving size for one bar is only 68g. So wouldn't 30g of carbs to 68g total make for a high glycemic load? So I guess in some cases, the glycemic index can be a little misleading? Or am I mistaken?
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Old 08-26-2009, 07:48 PM   #2
John Harris
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Re: Confusion with glycemic load

I think you are not necessarily mistaken.

Check to see if the carbs are in the form of sugars (and how much). If they are in the form of something with higher fiber content then you'll still have a lower glycemic load.
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Old 08-26-2009, 09:33 PM   #3
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: Confusion with glycemic load

I am not a nutritionist, but I think the glycemic index is the rate at which the sugars are absorbed. Roughly speaking, high fiber = low GI. The glycemic load, on the other hand, is the amount of sugar that exists. Roughly speaking, tastes sweet = high glycemic load. Hence bananas, with lots of sugar but also lots of fiber, have a low GI and a high glycemic load.

GI matters for things like insulin management. Glycemic load defines the number of carb-based calories.

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Old 08-26-2009, 09:55 PM   #4
Jeff Evans
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Re: Confusion with glycemic load

GL is basically GI that also takes into account serving size. Check out most of these (w/fs) for further elaboration.
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Old 08-27-2009, 02:19 AM   #5
Nick Wilson
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Re: Confusion with glycemic load

The glycemic index shows how quickly a set amount (50g) of the carbs found in a given food are absorbed into the body. A high GI means that whatever carbs are in that food are absorbed quickly; a low GI means that whatever carbs are in that food are absorbed slowly.

Glycemic load uses this and also accounts for the amount of carbs contained in that food, which gives you a better idea of the impact that food will have on your system. For example, carrots and bananas have very similar glycemic indices (47 and 51). However, 100g of carrots only contains something like 6g carbs, whereas 100g of banana has something like 21g. So the glycemic load of a banana is roughly 3.5 times as high as a carrot. Likewise, some other food that also had 21g carbs per 100g (same as banana) but had a glycemic index of 100 (twice that of a banana) would have a glycemic load twice as high as a banana.

So GL is a measure of both the amount of carbs and also how quickly they're absorbed by the body.

Hope that helps.
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Old 08-27-2009, 04:58 AM   #6
Colin McNulty
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Re: Confusion with glycemic load

Hi Clark,

What Nick said, that's as perfect an answer as you're going to get. Regarding your bar:

> 20g of protein, 30g of carbs, and 8g of fat,

That's a pretty good 3 block zoned bar. If they say it's low GI, that's fine, the amount of carbs (30g) is just over 3 blocks of carbs, but roughly in balance with the protein and fat, which are both a smidgen under 3 blocks. So just to confirm, the proportion of carbs to the overall portion sized (68g) is irrelevant when determining GL.
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Old 08-27-2009, 07:57 AM   #7
Brandon Petersen
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Re: Confusion with glycemic load

Nick's answer was right on (from what i've read and learned)...

one thing i always heard was Bananas were high VERY high on the GI....this don't seem to be the case though. . . 51..that's high? One mistake i was making in the past dried fruit..Realizing how high those are now, i've cut them out.

Also, loading the fat with these fruits can slow the absorption rate, which would in tale affect the GL, maybe not the direct GI of the specific food, but the overall GL ....am i off on that?
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Old 08-27-2009, 08:16 AM   #8
Brandon Petersen
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Re: Confusion with glycemic load

i just read the link above...

i think i am now more confused than prior to reading this thread. LOL
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Old 08-27-2009, 09:27 AM   #9
Clark Hays
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Re: Confusion with glycemic load

Thanks so much guys! I feel so informed!

As for the bar, just to gain a better grasp on GL, out of the 30g of carbs, there are 20g of sugar, 6g of "Other Carb", and 4g of fiber (2g of which are insoluble). So would that be too much sugar to make for a low GL? Sorry if I'm not comprehending it correctly.
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