Difference Between Glycaemic Index and Glycaemic Load

High blood glucose levels for a long period can lead to a group of metabolic diseases which is known as diabetes mellitus. Other common metabolic syndromes which are considered popular diabetes are glycaemic index and glycaemic load.

Both the concepts of diabetes are related to nutritional factors.

Glycaemic Index vs Glycaemic Load

The main difference between glycaemic index (GI) and glycaemic load (GL) is that glycaemic index shows how fast the food-containing carbohydrate can affect the level of blood glucose while glycaemic load shows how the content of carbohydrate in carbohydrate-rich food can be measured in each serving.

Glycameic Index vs Glycaemic Load

The glycaemic index is referred to the measure of the potential of blood glucose-raising of the carbohydrate-containing food that is compared to a reference food which is generally pure glucose.

The equation which is used to determine the value of GI is through the incremental area under the glucose curve (iAUC) by the test food is divided by the iAUC of glucose which is multiplied by 100.

On the other hand, the glycaemic load is obtained by multiplying the quality of the carbohydrate present in a given food by the amount of carbohydrate which is present in a serving of that food.

The equation which is used to determine the value of GL is by multiplying the glycaemic index by carbohydrate and dividing the product by 100.

Comparison Table Between Glycaemic Index and Glycaemic Load

Parameters of ComparisonGlycaemic IndexGlycaemic Load
Definition It is a ranking system in which carbohydrate-containing food are ranked based on their effect on blood glucose level It is a ranking system in which food that is rich in carbohydrates can measure the amount of carbohydrate in every serving
MeasurementsMeasures carbohydrate quality Measures carbohydrate quality or quantity of the food
FormulaGI = (iAUC test food / iAUC glucose) × 100 GL = GI × carbohydrate / 100
ExpressionThe value is expressed relative to glucose The value is expressed relative to carbohydrate
Implementation Glycaemic index helps in deciding the food choices Glycaemic load helps in determining the food proportions and sizes in a meal

What is Glycaemic Index?

A glycaemic index can rank different carbohydrate-containing food on a scale of 0 to 100, based on their effect on the blood glucose level.

Foods that are high in glycaemic index get digested quickly, and rapidly get absorbed in the bloodstream while the food which has a low glycaemic index usually takes time to break down.

Foods containing a low glycaemic index contain only carbs which are slowly digested and produce a very low rise or spike in the levels of blood glucose.

An example of low glycaemic index food is kidney beans. And high glycaemic index food contains carbs that are rapidly digested and can produce a steep, rapid and large rise in the level of blood glucose.

An example of high glycaemic index food is boiled potatoes.

People who consume high glycaemic index food may observe a sharp increase in the postprandial concentration of blood glucose that even is seen to decline rapidly.

Foods that have a low glycaemic index often produce results that lower the concentration of the blood glucose and are even seen declining gradually.

The context of the application of the glycaemic index is on the quantity of food and the carbohydrate contained in that food.

The drawback of a glycaemic index is that it cannot measure the insulin produced due to the rise in blood sugar. The limitation is seen in similar foods which have the same glycaemic index but have the potential of producing different amounts of insulin.

What is Glycaemic Load?

Glycaemic load is referred to as the ranking system which is used for carbohydrate-rich foods. The system effectively measures the number of carbohydrates in every serving of food.

The glycaemic load can measure both, The proportion of carbohydrates in a particular food, as well as the proportion of each gram, consumed that can raise the levels of blood sugar.

The ideal rank of the glycaemic load is 10. Food that ranks under 10 has little or no impact on the blood sugar while food with a glycaemic load range of 10 to 20, has a moderate effect on the blood sugar.

Foods with a glycaemic load above 20 have the potential to cause blood sugar spikes.

People are often reminded of making food choices and nutritional supplements which show a low glycaemic load to have control over diabetes.

The formula for calculating glycaemic load is by multiplying the glycaemic index by carbohydrate and dividing the product by 100. GL = GI × carbohydrate /100.

The working of the equation needs the values of the glycaemic index of the food. Glycaemic load plays an essential role in people suffering from diabetes.

Glycaemic load helps in determining the quantities of the food which helps maintain good levels of blood glucose in the body. The calculation of glycaemic load is very accurate and helps in determining the meal proportions.

Main Differences Between Glycaemic Index and Glycaemic Load

  1. Glycaemic Index is the way of deciding food choices while Glycaemic Load helps in working out the different portions and sizes of different foods while comparing with each other in their effect of blood glucose-raising.
  2. Glycaemic index does not measure the number of carbs in every serving of the food while glycemic load measures the number of carbs in every serving of food.
  3. Glycemic index is calculated through the incremental area under the glucose curve by the test food is divided by the iAUC of glucose which is multiplied by 100 while the glycaemic load is by multiplying the glycaemic index by carbohydrate and dividing the product by 100.
  4. Glycemic index does not denote the amount of carbohydrate in a portion of food while glycemic load denotes the amount of carbohydrate in a food.
  5. Glycemic index is a close approximate value and is not preferred much while Glycemic load is an accurate precise value and is highly preferred.

Conclusion

Every food choice that is made has to be conscious. Both the ranking system determines the rank of the food which helps people to make healthy food decisions.

Both the ranking systems have different ranges for different qualities of food. Food that has low GI will range within 55, moderate GI food will range within 56 to 69, and high GI food will range above 70.

While in the case of GL, the ideal rank of food is 10. Food that ranks under 10 has little or no impact on the blood sugar while food with a glycaemic load range of 10 to 20, has a moderate effect on the blood sugar.

Foods with a glycaemic load above 20 have the potential to cause blood sugar spikes.

References

  1. https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD006296.pub2/abstract
  2. https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD005105.pub2/abstract
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