One of the most important ways to compare foods is their Glycemic Load (GL) and Glycemic Index (GI) although there are many ways to compare foods in terms of fats, fibers, protein, minerals, carbohydrate, antioxidants etc. content.
What is the Glycemic Index?
Is a numerical value between 0 and 100 and basically, it describes how eating one food will raise blood sugar levels. For pure glucose, it is GI 100. Foods are considered to have low glycemic index when it has GI below 55 while those between 55 and 70 GI are considered to be medium and those above 70 GI are considered to have high and very high glycemic index. Although GI levels of food are important for many reasons, it still doesn’t take into account amounts of food because it is not the same if you have consumed 50g of glucose or 50g of carbohydrates like in blueberries, it is required to eat around 350g of blueberries in order to consume 50g of carbs.
What is Glycemic Load?
Glycemic Load corrects the problem by taking into account portion sizes. In calculating Glycemic Load (GL) would be dividing food’s Glycemic Index by 100 and multiply it by the grams of digestible carbohydrates, excluding fibers, in a served portion. Generally, it is considered low if the GL is below 10, while 11-19 GL is considered average and GL above 20 is considered high GL. For the example, a blueberry contains 14.5g of total carbohydrates including 2.4g of fibers per 100g of fruits, it means that it has 12.1g of digestible carbohydrates. From different studies showing different results, blueberries have between 40 and 53 GL since not all varieties have the same amounts of nutrients and water.
The Low Glycemic Food Index
Berries have low GI having 40 or less. Since berries digestible carbohydrates content is low (the total carbohydrates – the fibers = digestible carbohydrates), depending on the portions, their GL is almost always low. In any berries, GI is not yet verified and studies have to be done in order to acquire precise values but this value can have a certain offset which is normal since it depends on growing conditions, varieties, ripeness of the fruits and others. Fresh salads are so important for balanced nutrition and combining such salads with berries is in nutrition heaven because green and leafy vegetables have GI below 15 and the GL is also very low.
Be sure to include fresh fruits in your daily nutrition and stay away from sweetened and processed foods as much as possible even if you are on some kind of calorie restricted diet.