What is a low glycemic load diet? How may it help managing diabetes? What is the best way for planning and organizing foods in this kind of diabetic diet?
What is a diet of low glycemic load?
A low glycemic load diet concept has been created to scribe both the quantity-quality ( called as glycemic index) components of the carbohydrates in a diet or/and a meal.
How can it help managing diabetes?
As you may probably know, the amount of carbs you eat may affect your blood sugar levels and the insulin reactions. Meanwhile, a glycemic load of the food you eat can be calculated in this way:
Glycemic Load (of food) = (Carbohydrate Content x GI) : 100
For example, if you have 100 grams of Corn Tortilla with a glycemic index of 52, and its carbs content of 48 grams, the glycemic load would be 25, calculated as following:
(48 X 52) : 100 = 48 X 0.52 = 25.
Glycemic load unit is equal to the effect of increasing blood glucose by a 1 gram of pure sugar (glucose) or even white bread.
Meanwhile a dietary glycemic load represents the sum (total) of all the glycemic loads of all the foods you consume daily.
Now, if you eat high glycemic carbs, that is those you make your blood sugar reach a high peak very quickly, this will lead to less burning of your body fats and lower levels of energy.
The high glycemic index foods will increase your blood sugar levels very quickly, and stimulate your pancreas to produce and secrete more insulin, in order to regulate your blood sugar levels. At the same time, insulin stores the excessive blood sugar in your body fatty tissue. As a consequence you will gain more fat.
Meanwhile, if there is an excessive production of insulin (extreme levels), this will make the sugar clear out your bloodstream, and your body will crave glucose and you will face hypoglycemia (or get lethargic). As the closed cycle continues, you will face overheating.
I've been telling all the above story for you to understand why the carbohydrates should be calculated on basis of their glycemic load. And also I want to stress out the importance of a low glycemic load diet for better diabetic eating plan.
How to plan my own diet with low glycemic loads foods?
The basic is to organize your food portions on basis of their carbs content and their glycemic index (GI). So, if you love to eat certain high GI foods, but you are worried about your blood sugar levels, just go for small quantities. Because their effect is equal to larger amounts of low glycemic load foods.
So, white rice has a GI of high ratings. If you eat 50 grams of white rice (at only one meal), it would give a particular curve of blood sugar levels. Meanwhile, if you eat only 25 grams of white rice, you would obtain the same curve, but with half the height.
The peak height is considered the most important parameter for a good diabetes management. So, if you multiply the amount of carbs in one food serving with the GI, will give you an idea on the impact of the current food portion on your blood glucose level.
In conclusion, if you switch to a low glycemic load diet, you will have a gradual and long-lasting energy release. This might be ideal not only for you as a diabetic, but also for other sports people, like athletes.
Your pancreas is not overstimulated, and insulin is not over-produced, and you will feel better, can lose excessive weight, and can burn your body fat more precisely.
Written by Dr.Albana Greca Sejdini, Md, MMedSc
Medically reviewed by Dr.Ruden Cakoni, MD, Endocrinologist