What is Glycemic Load?

Elements Meals Glycemic Load (GL) Completed. I promised to deliver the GL for each Elements Meal this week. Well, we have them for you. But first, a few words. If you read nutrition science and health research, you know that GL can be an exceptional help to regulating your blood sugar—thereby preventing many debilitating health issues, including cancer, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, chronic low inflammation and more.

Patrice Atencio, MEd, RD, CDE, a dietitian with the East Carolina University Physicians Endocrinology Program in Greenville, N.C. says "I have worked with some clients who want to have very good blood sugar control, and GL is a great approach for them."

Calculating GL can be a very difficult exercise involving science and math. With Elements Meals, your GL approach to healthy eating is so simple because we tell you exactly what it is! No searching, reading, or calculating. Just eat and enjoy! Here are the results:

Balsamic Chicken Pomodoro...……… 10
Maple Mustard Pork………………………..11
Broccoli Cinnamon Pork ……………....6
Sesame Garlic Chicken……………………..9
Coconut Mango Chicken………………8
Chipotle Turkey Scramble………………….6
Country Herb Chicken.………………..12

What is GL and how can knowing it help me?

GL Origins. The origins of GL date back to 1997 when the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a study entitled Dietary fiber, glycemic load, and risk of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus in women. (See JAMA 1997 Feb 12; 277(6):472-7.) That research concluded that "that diets with a high glycemic load and a low cereal fiber content increase risk of diabetes in women."

(To read an abstract of that study, click here.

Scientists developed GL to simultaneously describe two carbohydrate characteristics in a food, meal, or diet; first, the quality (GI) of a carbohydrate, and second, the quantity of the carbohydrate. "Glycemic load accounts for carbohydrates in food and how much each gram of it will raise your blood sugar level," says Krista Wennerstrom, RD, food and nutrition services director at Thorek Memorial Hospital in Chicago. It’s an indicator of a dietary insulin demand.

Calculating GL. The GL of a single food is calculated by multiplying the GI of that food by the amount of carbohydrate in grams (g) provided in a food serving, and then dividing the total by 100: GLFood = (GIFood x amount (g) of available carbohydrateFood per serving)/100

What is the GL ranking index. The following summarizes the GL index on a per meal basis:

High GL … ≥20
Moderate GL … 11-19
Low GL … ≤10

Your dietary GL is the sum of the GLs for all foods consumed in your diet. For good health, you should aim to keep your daily glycemic load under 100.

Compare Elements Meals to this breakfast and lunch:

Breakfast: 2 x 3 inch pancakes (GL 39), 3 tbsp maple syrup (GL 21), 1 cup raw banana (13), 1 cup milk (GL 4) = total GL 77.

Lunch: 1 medium baked potato (33), 2 tbsp whole butter (0), 1 medium chicken breast (0), 1 cup boiled carrots (2) = total GL 35.

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