For example, the glycemic index of a carrot is 131. In comparison, a serving of mashed potatoes has a glycemic index of only 104. However, a half-cup serving of carrots has only about 4 grams of carbohydrate. The same quantity of mashed potatoes has more than 18 grams of carbohydrate. That's why the glycemic load for a serving of carrots is 11, while that of a serving of potatoes is 20.
Even though it has not yet been proven by a scientific study, what we know about the human body convinces me that it is prudent to generally eat foods with a low glycemic load. I think there are likely to be health benefits, and there's surely no harm.
On my website (AskDoctorK.com) there is a table that gives the glycemic index and glycemic load of common foods. (Also on the site is a Special Health Report, "Healthy Eating for Type 2 Diabetes," that you can order online or by calling 877-649-9457 toll-free.)
In general, to follow a low glycemic diet, choose less-processed whole grains over refined grains; eat a lot of non-starchy vegetables, beans and fruits; and eliminate sugar-sweetened drinks.
Dr.Komaroff is a physician and professor at Harvard Medical School. To send questions, go to AskDoctorK.com, or write: Ask Doctor K, 10 Shattuck St., Second Floor, Boston, MA 02115.
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