Nutrition Training Tip: Glycemic index, glycemic load ? What’s the difference, and as a runner why do I need to care ?

Glycemic index, glycemic load.  What’s the difference, and as a runner why do I need to care ? 

Don’t be afraid of the sweet fruits !

“Carbohydrates that cause us to gain weight are typically carbohydrates with a high glycemic load. Although most of you have probably heard of the glycemic index (the ability of a food to acutely raise the blood sugar), many are unfamiliar with the glycemic load, which is simply

Glycemic load = the glycemic index of a food  multiplied by  the carbohydrate content in a given amount of the food

The glycemic load of a food is more closely related to the net insulin response over a 24-hr period than is the simple glycemic index. Consequently, it is the glycemic load that may predispose us to obesity and chronic disease.

Although watermelon has a high glycemic index (72) similar to white bread (70), it has a glycemic load (per 100 grams of watermelon) that is only 5.2 compared to a glycemic load in white bread of 34.7. The International Table of Glycemic Indices lists the glycemic index of 11 fruits. The glycemic loads (per 100 grams of food) of these 11 fruits are as follows: bananas 12.1, pineapple 8.2, grapes 7.7, kiwi fruit 7.4, apple 6.0, pear 5.4, watermelon 5.2, orange 5.1, cherries 3.7, peach 3.1, grapefruit 1.9. Consequently one would have to eat 6.7 times as much watermelon as white bread to achieve an equivalent glycemic load. Let’s say you ate 4 slices of white bread (or 100 grams, ~ 1/4 lb). In order to get an equivalent glycemic load, you would have to eat almost 1.5 lbs of watermelon or 4 lbs of grapefruit.

One of the body’s mechanisms used to determine when to stop eating is stomach volume or fullness. Most people would stop eating watermelon after about 3.0 lbs (435 kcal) or say even 6.0 lbs (870 kcal) because their stomach volumes simply could not physically take much more food. Hence, under normal eating conditions, it is difficult or impossible for most people to overeat on fruits alone.

However, this being said there are some important exceptions. Dried fruits are not only concentrated calorie sources, they also represent high glycemic loads and have a high potential to cause weight gain, particularly when eaten in unlimited quantities. In addition, high-fat foods such as nuts, seeds, or fatty meats, if consumed in excessive quantity along with fruits, can also promote weight gain.

When I say unlimited quantities, perhaps I should say, within normal eating limits, rather than complete gluttony. If you are unsure of “normal limits” and do not know if you are hungry, then eat a piece of lean turkey breast. If you are still hungry, eat more lean protein, particularly if weight loss is a major objective.”

Wish we could give credit and take credit for this one, but we cannot remember where we got some of the material. Would the real author please contact us !

regardless……..good stuff to know !

Shawn and Ivo

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